The Seattle Sounders will travel to Mexico City Wednesday night to face Pumas in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final before hosting the Mexican side in Seattle the following week. This is the fourth time a MLS team has made the final and the best chance the league will ever have to finally get over the hump in the region's biggest competition.
You couldn't have drawn a better CCL scenario this year for Major League Soccer. All the MLS teams in the field were strong, and the best of the bunch was the Seattle Sounders, who's the team that made the final.
On the Liga MX side, there was no Tigres, no Monterrey and no Club America. The one Mexican giant in the tournament, Cruz Azul, looked like clear favorites to win this tournament but were upset by struggling Pumas in the semi-finals.
Seattle are clear favorites in this game, which is something we almost never say in these games. Seattle has more resources, more talent and more pedigree on their roster. All the usual caveats in MLS vs. Liga MX battles can be thrown out the door; the MLS team is the undeniable favorite.
When Toronto FC fell to Chivas in the 2018 Champions League, it felt like we'd never get over the hump. That Toronto team was absolutely loaded, with Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and several other elite players all around the roster. They played an incredibly weak Chivas team in the final, but couldn't get over the hump and lost in heartbreaking fashion.
Seattle are in an even better position than TFC were all those years ago. If the Sounders, with a stacked roster, winning tradition and a packed out Lumen Field can't win this, MLS might never get past this.
It's no longer a material thing in this competition. The teams have comparable resources and comparable talent. It's all mental at this point, and somebody has to finally get through the CCL gauntlet.
I'm rooting for you Seattle, make this league proud.