Thursday, March 23

Cougars vs. Seattle Sounders: What channel, streaming, lineups, history, and road to Champions League final

For the fifth time in the competition’s history, an MLS side has reached the final of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Seattle Sounders hope to be the first ones to emerge victorious.

The Sounders look to be the first MLS team to ever win the CONCACAF Champions League trophy as they host Pumas UNAM.

If it’s going to happen, now is the time. The Sounders have proven one of the strongest and most resilient MLS teams to start the season, and Pumas is a surprise finalist given its 11th place finish in the Liga MX Apertura tournament and its current 12th place standing in the current Liga MX Clausura (Pumas qualified to the Champions League as runner-up of the 2020 Apertura.)

Still, given the competition’s history, there is no room for complacency. While the Sounders have put together a solid string of results both domestically and abroad, this isn’t a team that’s blowing out the opposition on any front, and it will take a strong performance across two legs to make history. This should be an exciting and entertaining two-leg matchup across a number of facets.

MORE: Cougars vs. Sounders best bets and expert picks

Cougars vs. Seattle head to head

This matchup will be the first-ever meeting between these two clubs, which have never before faced off.

Seattle has had mixed success against Mexican clubs, with seven wins, three draws, and nine losses all-time. The only club the Sounders have a winning record against is Tigres UANL, with two wins to just one loss. They have multiple wins against Santos Laguna, but also multiple losses.

Pumas, meanwhile, has also had mixed success against MLS clubs, with four wins, a draw, and four losses. The Mexican side has never won multiple games against any MLS side, just one win a piece against New England, Dallas, Houston, and NYCFC.

MORE: Full history of MLS vs. Liga MX in CONCACAF Champions League play

MLSvs. Liga MX in CONCACAF Champions League finals

Since the inception of the revamped CONCACAF Champions League in 2008-09, every single tournament has been won by a Liga MX club. As you’ve probably figured out, that means no MLS side has ever won the competition in its current format.

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Only four previous MLS teams have even made it to any of the 13 Champions League finals, and they were all defeated by a Mexican club at the final hurdle.

Year Finals Result (aggregate goals*) Final Format
2022 Seattle Sounders vs. Pumas UNAM two-leg
2020 tigers twoLAFC one* single match
2018 Chivas 3Toronto F.C. 3 (4-3 pens) two-leg
2015 America club 5Montreal Impact 3 two-leg
2011 Monterey 3Royal Salt Lake two two-leg

* = The 2020 Tigres-LAFC final was a single-match final after the remaining quarterfinals, semifinals and final were held in Orlando due to scheduling impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cougars vs. Seattle: How They Got Here

Obviously, given the competition’s history, Seattle has never won the CONCACAF Champions League. However, there will be a first either way, as Pumas UNAM has also never won the Champions League in its current format, although it has lifted the continental title three times previously, all in the 1980’s.

Seattle Sounders

Pumas UNAM

* = Pumas advanced via penalty shootout

MORE: Full overview of CONCACAF Champions League semifinal action

Cougars vs. Seattle team overviews

The Sounders lost their first two MLS league matches of the season — 1-0 losses to Nashville SC and Real Salt Lake — and they unexpectedly lost their last two (1-0 to Miami and 4-3 to San Jose). Those four setbacks have left them in 11th place in the Western Conference, five points outside the playoff zone and 12 points out of first place with a game in hand.

But the Sounders have been especially stout on the road, picking up results in multiple locations. The team has played seven road games so far between MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play, drawing four and losing two. While that doesn’t exactly inspire a parade, picking up draws in places like Honduras and Mexico, and on a cross-country trip at NYCFC is undoubtedly a positive.

Having Jordan Morris back to his best has been a huge boon for the club, and the link-up play between the Roldan brothers down the right flank has been impressive. Raul Ruidiaz looks finally healthy as well, a boost in the attack that had stalled with Will Bruin maintaining the starting spot. Nicolas Lodeiro’s return has pushed Albert Rusnak into a No. 8 role that he has surprisingly excelled in so far.

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But there are also defensive difficulties coming into this matchup. While the back line hasn’t exactly been leaky by any means, it also hasn’t kept a clean sheet once in seven MLS matches, and has also conceded in each of its last three continental games.

Neither first-choice center back appears in the top 20 of WhoScored’s defender rankings, with Xavier Arreaga coming in at 31 and Jackson Ragen ranked 37. Only three players average at least two tackles per game, and Ragen doesn’t do much other than clear the ball at an incredible rate. Finally, goalkeeper Stefan Frei is a club legend, but he hasn’t started the season terribly well either. There are defensive questions for manager Brian Schmetzer to answer.

Seattle Sounders projected lineup (4-2-3-1): Frei (GK) — Rowe, Arreaga, Ragen, A. Roldan — Rusnak, Joao Paulo — Morris, Lodeiro, C. Roldan — Ruidiaz.

Pumas is the epitome of an overachieving team. In the last seasons due to financial issues, the club’s management has not made any high-profile signings or notably boosted the squad. However, team boss, Andres Lillini, has made magic with him.

The Argentine has managed to mesh the university students homegrown talent with unheralded foreign signings. Lillini has brought out the best of journeymen players like Meritao, Diogo and Rogerio.

Pumas currently sits in the 12th spot of table with 19 points (5W-7L-4D), within the qualification zone for the league playoffs. The top 12 teams advance to the postseason. However, it has been clear that Lillini’s focus is the CONCACAF Champions League, as the team has a hunger for a title — they last claimed silverware in the 2011 Clausura season. Since losing the 2020 Mexican league Apertura final, this continental competition has been Pumas’ best bet to accomplish this goal.

The squad’s star player is undoubtedly Alan Mozo. While the right back can be a defensive liability at times, he is a piston down the flank. He can send dangerous crosses into the box, or shoot from distance.

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Collectively, the team’s strength is its balance. Against the New England Revolution in the second leg of the quarterfinals, they showed they can score as they rallied from a three-goal deficit in the aggregate. Their main striker, Juan Ignacio Dinenno, is the Champions League’s top goal scorer with seven goals.

Cougars can also defend very stoutly when needed. They shut down Cruz Azul’s potent offense in the second leg of the tournament semifinals to advance.

The team’s main weakness must be its depth. Outside of Rogerio and some youngsters, Lillini doesn’t have too much to choose from on his bench. In the first leg of the final against Seattle Sounders FC, Pumas will be without its defensive stalwart Arturo Ortiz, who was sent off in the last match against Cruz Azul. The question is, how much does Pumas have left?

Cougars projected lineup (4-4-2): Alfredo Talavera (GK) — Velarde, Freire, Galindo, Mozo — Corozo, Lopez, Meritao, Diogo — Dinenno, Alvarez.

What channel is Pumas vs Seattle?

1st Leg

  • Date: Wednesday, April 27
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV channels: FS1 (USA), TUDN (USA), OneSoccer (Canada)
  • streaming: fuboTV

Wednesday’s match between the Seattle Sounders and Pumas will be broadcast on FS1 (English) and Univision and TUDN (Spanish) in the USA. One Soccer will carry the match on TV and streaming in Canada.

It can also be streamed on fuboTV in both nations, and new users can take advantage of a free trial.

2nd Leg

  • Date: Wednesday, May 4
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV channels: FS1 (USA), TUDN (USA), OneSoccer (Canada)
  • streaming: fuboTV

The second leg in Seattle will also be broadcast on FS1 (English) and TUDN (Spanish) in the USA, as well as OneSoccer in Canada.

It can also be streamed on fuboTV in both nations, and new users can take advantage of a free trial.

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