The Sounders have been paired with Santos Laguna of Mexico as their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal opponent. The Sounders will host Santos at a time to be determined March 6-8 at CenturyLink Field. The aggregate-score series will resolve March 13-15 at Estadio Nuevo Corona in Torreon, Mexico.
Santos went 4-1-1 in winning Group B. Seattle went 3-1-2, finishing second behind Monterrey in Group D.
Santos currently has eight wins, six losses and three draws in the Mexican Apertura standings. The Sounders MLS season ended last week, as you may have heard.
Yesterday, I had asked coach Sigi Schmid if he had much of a rooting interest in how the draw went.
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“It’s all about the same," he said. "What we’re going to root for is that whoever we draw we’re going to beat.”
After the draw today, he said (through a club release): "We are looking forward to the quarterfinal matchup. At this stage of the competition it's never going to be an easy draw. Santos will be a difficult opponent but we're looking forward to the challenge and excited we're in this round."
The other quarterfinal matches are Pumas/Metapan, LA Galaxy/Toronto FC and Monterrey/Morelia.
Here is how the rest of the tournament will progress:
SemifinalsFirstLegMarch 27-29, 2012LA Galaxy-Toronto FC winner vs.Santos-Seattle Sounders winnerMonterrey-Morelia winner vs.Pumas-Isidro Metapan winner
Second LegApril 3-5,2012Santos-Seattle Sounders winner vs. LA Galaxy-Toronto FCwinnerPumas-Isidro Metapan winner vs. Monterrey-Morelia winner
FinalsFirst LegApril 17-19, 2012Monterrey-Morelia/Pumas-Metapan winner vs. LA Galaxy-TorontoFC/Santos-Seattle Sounders winner
Second LegApril24-26, 2012LA Galaxy-Toronto FC/Santos-Seattle Sounders winnervs. Monterrey-Morelia/Pumas-Metapan winner
Here's an overview on Santos from the CCL website:
Club: Santos LagunaFounded: 1983City: Torreon, CoahuilaStadium: Estadio CoronaManager: Benjamin GalindoQualification method: 2010 Mexican Apertura runner-upPrevious CONCACAF Champions League appearances: 2 (2008-09, 2010-11)Honors: Mexican Primera Division champion - 3 (1996 Inv, 2001 Ver, 2008 Cl); Interliga champion - 1 (2004); Copa Independenica - 1 (2007)Official website: http://www.clubsantoslaguna.com.mx/ Santos Laguna is competing in its third CONCACAF Champions League, and second straight after reaching the semifinals of the inaugural event in 2008 when it lost to Mexican rival and eventual champion Atlante of Cancun. Last year, Santos went into the knockout stage as Group B winner, but was defeated by Mexican rival Cruz Azul 5-1 in the semifinals. Santos plays at the $100 million Estadio Nuevo Corona, which seats 30,050. Mexican international goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez, who with 99 caps did not make El Tri's 2010 World Cup squad, will anchor the defense. In front of him will be defender George Ivan Estrada as well as a midfield including Argentine Daniel Ludena, fourth on the Santos all-time goal scoring list with 54. Santos, which lost to Monterrey in the Apertura final, is coached by Argentine Diego Cocca, who replaced Ruben Omar Romano. Romano was fired after allegedly making insulting gestures at fans following a league loss against Queretaro in February.