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Club America overwhelms Sounders to reach CCL semifinals


The Seattle Sounders proved to be no match for Rubens Sambueza and Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

The MLS club fell, 3-1, in the second leg of their series vs. America, bouncing out of the 2016 tournament after a 5-3 aggregate loss.

The Sounders entered Estadio Azteca level, 2-2, on aggregate, and so they needed a road win or high-scoring tie to earn the victory in the series. Three goals were scored in a wild end to the first half, but no one from the Sounders netted any.

Pablo Aguilar scored an own goal for America in the 41st minute, but Darwin Quintero answered immediately for the Liga MX side. He flicked a header past goalkeeper Stefan Frei almost a minute after the Sounders took the surprising lead.

Sambueza, who provided two assists on the road in the first leg, assisted Quintero’s goal. He then sent another good cross into the penalty box minutes later, and forward Oribe Peralta headed home the go-ahead goal.

Andres Andrade netted the third for America just after the break.

The Sounders, at times, forced their way into dangerous areas in the America final third, but only recorded three shots the entire game. They did not attempt a single shot in the first half.

The MLS club begins their regular season at home against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

Here are highlights of the Sounders’ loss to America:

What do you think of the Sounders’ performance? What are you expecting from the MLS side in 2016?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I absolutely hate that the CCL games are played when we are in pre-season. It angers me when I am watching the games that we are not comparing apples with apples. Makes me want to stop watching.

  2. It’s not the ass kicking, it’s the fact that Mexican teams seem to be able to turn it up at will and erase any MLS team off the field. The talent gap is just too wide.

    • This is evident. Start trying to explain why that might be – or worse, that it will ALWAYS be – and many Americans will slip into denial.

      It’s ok MLS is “growing.” HAHA, so are everyone else.

      • Clearly MLS teams are better than they were 10 or 15 years ago. Is that true of LigaMX teams? I honestly don’t know because I haven’t watched LigaMX enough but it can’t be the case that every league is getting better.

      • @slow – I would say that these LigaMX clubs are growing too. I have been watching for years, and there have always been exciting/good players but recently I feel like the money is really flowing around these teams (US TV $$). America and Tigres two of the highest spending teams with quality internationals in their prime

        MLS might have more big DP contracts but the top LigaMX clubs have deep, well paid squads 1-30+ with a lot of competition and young players

        LigaMX is a top 10 league in the world in terms of spending (and $ goes pretty far down there compared to the USA or Europe). They also have seemingly endless amounts of quality youth players comparable to Morris, Zardes or Birnbaum at each club each year.

        Until the USA really gets youth development right and we see national team level pro’s emerging all over the place I don’t this changing. Or they can double, maybe triple the salary cap and buy their way to winning this.

    • I’m sure the Mexican league has gotten better within the last few years. The way they reworked their player development system doesn’t only benefit their national team, it filters all the way to the domestic league. For every player they send to Europe they keep 10 that are not too far behind in quality.
      Contrary to what most MLS fans think, the way to improve your domestic league is not spending more money on foreign players, it’s to develop better players and Mexico has done plenty of that recently.

      • If they have so many great players why is their national team at around the same level as ours?

      • LOL
        There’s homerism and then there’s straight stupidity, at some point one crosses into the other. You’re that point.

    • Evans and Marshall were terrible in both games vs Club America. they are in their preseason/early season still and Peralta, Quintero, Sambuza might be a cut above most MLS opponents but if I was a Seattle fan I would be worried about their CB’s going into this season!

    • Making Kamara a DP freed up like 230K in salary cap (he was making like 565k last year which all went against the cap, with paying him DP money, only 325K goes against the cap) , which actually allows for Crew to improve there team, extend and increase contracts on young players who are due, etc.. You are just throwing stuff at the wall, but this one isn’t sticking. MLS cap mechanisms are confusing and league has a bunch of silly stuff like this, feel free to ask questions if you dont understand.

  3. Draw or lose by one at home, maybe eke out a win. Then usually get thrashed in Mexico, with the occasional plucky one-goal loss or draw. Rinse, repeat. It’s getting old MLS. 2011 RSL lucked out with the draw, facing Columbus and then Saprsissa before the final against Monterrey. And that was five years ago. Liga MX is just a vastly superior league, that white American fans underrate for some reason.

  4. WOW! Selling Sounders’ best player for a lousy $2million!! And weeks later get destroy by MX!!! MLS lost value as a league both price of quality and ability to complete. At least, Chinese league is trying improve their quality and ability to complete.

    Mr. Garber and Mr. Beckham, don’t even bother bring MLS to Miami, Miami loves quality and winners, not garbage and losers.

    • Miami is the worst sports city in America (or at best tied with Atlanta), even on those rare occasions when they have winners. Look at all those Heat “fans” leaving the arena before Ray Allen’s famous shot in 2013.

  5. We have an inferior soccer culture. We will never compete with countries whose children grow up playing a street game. As long as they have clubs and we have franchises… we have to market our talent whereas they can simply prove it.

    • I am Uruguayan by birth, trust me, Uruguayan kids don’t play in streets but professional settings and parks.

      • So you are arguing that pick-up ball is not beneficial to a player’s development ? What are you arguing?

        Sorry but I can’t trust you when you say there is only organized soccer in ANY given country in South America. That is not true.

        You are telling me that Luis Suarez didn’t first learn the game as a kid playing pick-up with his friends? If he only ever played for clubs, I stand corrected.

        But I live in France and kids play A LOT of street, beach, and playground ball here, surely in addition to and complementing club, academy, and professional setups. It is just like any country where football is the predominant sport. In their free time it remains their activity of choice.

        It works the same for basketball, baseball, in the states.

      • Also, when I say “street” it simply means not organized club soccer. But of course you are right, that can be done anywhere, in a park, field, beach, whatever.

      • Biggest steps MLS has taken have been the academies (and sustaining them, etc., not going broke, is a silverlining to the conservative salary spending, that in contrast to what has come before in US pro soccer history, is unmatched). I am 32, the differences between the top players in KC when I was 18 and the top 18 year olds now is miles difference, heck, Erik Palmer-Brown is cutting his adult teeth at Porto right now, after being a professional in KC for 2 seasons.

      • This “street ball” excuse is silly. There’s this perception that, for example, kids in Brazil just become great players by playing on the street but that’s not the case if you look at how the Brazilian youth system is set up. It’s highly organized and structured from a very young age. Sure, maybe some of those kids also play pick-up games with their friends but I don’t think that’s the reason they produce so many good players.

        We need more and more kids playing the game and a development system that allows them to reach their full potential. We are building it but it takes time.

        Anyway, this is all a bit far afield from MLS v. LigaMX because teams in both leagues can always go out and sign foreign players. I think the biggest difference between teams in the two leagues is the amount of money spent on salary. If MLS teams had the ability and means to spend as much as LigaMX teams, I don’t see why those teams wouldn’t be comparable.

      • Not an excuse, just a symptom – one of them – why we as a culture don’t ooze soccer talent. That’s not silly. Rather, it is silly and a little naive to say that Mexican clubs are better ONLY because they can spend more. Their squad players are also better than ours. I am trying to argue, they have a richer soccer culture. I didn’t think that was very debatable. That, not foreign acquisitions, is the greatest influence behind their style of play, ability to trap the ball, to see the field, and their confidence vs. weaker teams.

      • Yeah, they have a richer soccer culture which is why they more people playing soccer and a more developed system for developing players. They don’t have better players because they are all kicking a ball around in the street. That was my point. The easiest way to grow the game here is to get more people playing it and improving our development system, not encouraging a bunch of kids to have a kickabout in the street.

        And I certainly think money has a lot to do with it when we are talking about club football as opposed to national teams. That’s why English club teams are better than Belgian clubs even though the Belgian national team is far better than England with about 1/5 the population. Belgium has a superior player development system but English teams can afford to buy better players than Belgian clubs.

    • I don’t think Scott or anyone is arguing that street-ball isn’t beneficial; Its where creativity, an excellent touch is developed; and its the place where kids just “try shit.” However, Scott is right that even at the earliest ages, these kids are playing within an organized structure. They take that creativity, and that sick move they just pulled at recess, and they then learn to apply it within a tactical framework and team concept.

    • “We” on the whole? Soccer is not even a minor part of the mainstream culture here.

      Eh… So.

      It really doesn’t need to be. This country is enormous. Has huge resources. Many thriving, rich sub-cultures. Do know- there are more and more small pockets within the country that LOVE, embrace the game…. do play street soccer and… have a rich multi-generational soccer culture. Tiny countries do very well in the world game. Netherlands, Uruguay for example have minuscule populations in comparison to the U.S. Take the aggregate of all these pockets,which incidentally are growing….. scout them, recognize, encourage them, place academies within them. We can and should be just fine…. if “we the sub-culture” play it smart.

      • Soccer’s role in the mainstream culture is exponentially bigger than it was 20 years ago. It’ll be much bigger still 20 years from now. Growing the game is the way to improve our league and our national team. Not trying to keep it as a “sub culture”. Soccer is for everyone.

      • Point well taken. I agree. That said, my main point perhaps poorly expressed wasn’t regarding marketing/growing the game, or keeping it a subculture by any means… it was in response to the prevailing talk that inevitably appears in these discussions that no one plays street soccer. Not true. That because soccer isn’t currently mainstream, we can’t produce talent. Not true. I’m just making the point that w/ the size/resources we have in this country, by properly, intelligently cultivating talent even within the subculture, we can compete. There are a LOT of soccer fans in the U.S. that I think MLS and U.S. Soccer do a pretty poor job of tapping into. Until they can effectively do that… growing the game with non fans seems a reach. Cheers.

  6. No one panic. Don Garber has assured us we’ll be one of the world’s best leagues by 2022 with this Major League Parity approach.

    I’m an MLS supporter but the apathy for me and many others has begun to fester at an alarming rate.

      • I get the sarcastic point you’re trying to make but you either embrace the overall product and substance of a league or you don’t. Example, I enjoy watching matches within the Eredivisie, but I struggle to enjoy matches within Serie A.

        There’s no sarcasm that MLS is absolutely struggling to capture footing in TV ratings and there’s many different reasons you could point. In my experience reading SBI over the years, only those that are paying attention to New York and it’s suits bring actual merit to the discussion.

    • I am an MLS supporter, but frankly- I love it. Real world, harsh, accountability. You say you want to be a force in world soccer- step up. You simply can’t quibble, make excuses or market your way out of this MLS, you need to work hard at improving your league on multiple fronts. The schedule is an issue. Sucks for the players having to show up for the quarterfinals in preseason. Being that FIFA/CONCACAF likely isn’t going to go too far out of it’s way to help… t’s one that MLS for the most part will need to resolve. It’s not only an issue for CL, but for the National team as well. There is no perfect solution, but there are plenty of creative ideas to make it better. Do it. Now.

      Player salaries, depth. The gap between MLS and MX is real. 10 years is coming fast and these will need to improve at a much faster pace if they really intend to keep their “promise”/meet their goal.

      US pro leagues are rather used to being insular, having a literal/figurative monopoly on a sport…. well…. the likes of MLB’s self proclaimed “World Series” and the NBA’s practice of calling their title winners World Champions won’t fly in soccer. Too many alternatives, too much really good soccer available on TV… teams from other leagues coming to town to reveal the man behind the curtain. So…. get to work…. and when I say that, I don’t mean finding a way to spin this.

  7. Quit making excuses. Mexican teams are simply better and deeper. RSL about to lose as well. Same story, different year. MLS needs to win their region before the aspire to gain international respect.

    • Youre just another opportunist gloater my friend..

      The fact that you even mentioned ” international respect”

      Hints at fear and jealousy..

      • And your try-hard posts hint at insecurity. No shame in admitting Liga MX teams are better, because they are. MLS will get there, but it’s not there yet.

      • Crane, even the south American teams can’t handle MX sides. Mexican teams haven’t lost in this year’s libertadores competition except for puebla and that was a wild card game. There is very little talent in the mls so the excuse that it’s preseason is b.s.

      • Would be nice if you could actually make that qualification based on knowledge of a true quarterfinal loss..

        But it seems that the pussy contigent will always be the most vocal..

        Im assuming you’d prefer league expansion to Duluth Minn. Rather than say New York City?

        Makes sense right?

        Then you can always feel secure in knowing that your little league will remain ” countercultural” or “alternative”

        You people are fucking sad

      • That’s fine. If an MLS fan is fixated on making preseason form true reason for these blow outs, the better for LigaMX. No mention of the fact that America could bring on Dario Benedetto as a third sub for Rubens Sambueza. Or that Ventura Alvarado, a USMNT member was an unused sub. Or even that Tigres didn’t even have to pull some of its own stars, like Sobis. Sounded had no one of real quality to go to. That is called depth. You can have all the games under your belt hat you want (in fact I imagine the excuse after too many games of tams being tired), but if MLS’s strategy is that its teams succeed by punching above their weight against teams with quality and depth, then I don’t see that being a real recipe for sustained success.

      • I think the scheduling hurts MLS teams in another way and that’s the lag time between qualification for the CCL and these knockout games. DCU and RSL qualified for this competition in 2014 and even the end of the season is now about 16-17 months ago. Does anyone think these teams are currently among the best in MLS? Last season’s results (especially for RSL) would suggest otherwise.

        Again, this is not the reason MLS teams are losing – they would probably lose anyway. But it is another disadvantage. And it’s one that will be eliminated for MLS teams if the CCL goes to a calendar year format.

  8. We gotta give credit where credit is due, the Mexican teams are just on another level. MLS is closing the gap but you can’t artificially raise the level of the league to match 100 years of history like Mexican league has. MLS teams make really stupid mistakes literally right after scoring it’s kinda embarrassing

    • Bulls$t

      MLS easily matches these teams in July-August..

      Guys need to get their legs under them..

      Teamates need to know tendencies..

      Coaches need to be able to make adjustments based on form and knowledge of where the teams strengths lay..

      How the f@ck will you know this after 5 scrimmages.. With several coming against amateur competition..

      • If you can’t see the technical and tactical difference between the 2 leagues its nkt just preseason, I guess you can say they only have a few games under there belt but the galaxy just played well last week only to get 4-0 away from home. So there rusty this week but not last week? I’m an MLS fan but it’s just reality. Until MLS gets there schedule changed or be able to get better squad depth it’s going to be the same story

      • There’s a big difference between “rusty” and guys being able to compete in a continental championship..

        The technical difference you speak of is simply guys being sharper.. Faster in terms of game shape.. And knowing where guys will be on the field instinctively..

        Santos Laguna is not Juventus

        Theyre a good side.. But theyre also a team the team that’s had the attrition.. Players have established what sort of season theyre going to have..

        In other words.. Theyre in midseason form..

        Yes.. We understand Montreal made an improbable run… RSL also..

        But this isnt 2011 as far as the technical acumen in MLS is concerned.. Theyre some good teams in this league..

        Its a joke to ask a team to compete on the road against in gorm teams in a continental quarterfinal

        After 5 scrimmages

      • “The technical difference you speak of is simply guys being sharper.”

        Disagree. Regardless of form, guys like Kemp, Wingert, Vincent, Marshall are just not good enough. No Liga MX team would take them.

      • Santos Laguna is a mid-table team in the Clausura, did nothing special in the Apetura. The star cast of LA Galaxy was dismantled and didn’t score a goal in two games. It’s not just scheduling. Push back the quarterfinals a month, and Liga MX will still have more games and mid-season form. MLS just doesn’t have the overall talent, system, and mentality for it.

    • The finishing and quality of service seemed to be the big difference. MLS has added a large amount of players with good technical ability, and there didn’t seem to be much separation in that aspect in these games. I think mid-season MLS starts to show flashes of this type of quality but Liga MX is still a cut above MLS best teams at their peak. MLS would be much more equipped and take advantage of the high pressure style of play that the Mexican teams show, as well.

      With more favorable scheduling, I think MLS is in a position to win a few match ups in CCL, but breaking even head-to-head is still a little bit off. Even if the schedule doesn’t change, you probably wont’ see 4 MX vs MLS match-ups in the quarterfinals for a while. Some MLS teams will likely play other MLS or Central American teams in the 1st rd and get a better chance to get their legs under them before playing the best. Another year, another tournament.

    • The timing of the games is a disadvantage but I don’t think MLS teams are winning many, if any, of these series even if the games are played a month or two later. The gap will close at some point but it’s still pretty significant right now.


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