MLS gets another shot at winning the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in league history as the Seattle Sounders carry the flag for the first leg of the final in Mexico City against Pumas UNAM.
Liga MX has owned the competition since its name change in 2008, winning every edition of the competition. MLS clubs have reached the final five times since then, and all five teams have failed.
The Sounders, 11th in the Western Conference standings in the first seven games of the young season, now hit the road for the two-legged final against the Pumas, who sit 12th in the Liga MX standings. A first leg result would be gigantic for both teams, with each team looking to head to the Pacific Northwest next week with an early advantage.
Both teams beat a league rival in the semi-finals to reach that point, with the Pumas beating Cruz Azul and Seattle passing defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC. Both teams also come into this game after back-to-back league defeats, with the Pumas falling to Chivas Guadalajara (3-1) and San Luis (2-0) in a row, while Seattle lost games to Inter Miami ( 1-0) and San Jose Earthquakes (4-3) very differently.
This is the first match between the two teams in club history, and it is a continental final.
MORE: Full Bracket, Teams, Results & Highlights of the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League
How to watch Pumas UNAM vs. Seattle Sounders
- Date: Wednesday April 27
- Weather: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FS1 (USA), TUDN (USA), OneSoccer (Canada)
- Diffusion: fuboTV, Fox Sports Go (USA), OneSoccer (Canada)
Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League final between Pumas UNAM and Seattle Sounders from the Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Mexico City, Mexico can be found on FS1 in the US, with Spanish coverage on TUDN .
It can also be streamed on fuboTV, and new users can enjoy a free trial.
In Canada, the match can be found on OneSoccer, on TV and via streaming.
MORE: Liga MX vs. MLS in CONCACAF Champions League history
Expected lineups of Pumas UNAM vs. Seattle Sounders
There are a number of injury concerns for the Mexican club as the 2022-23 Clausura comes to an end. Striker Juan Dinenno has missed two games in a row with a muscle injury and could be out for the critical game as well, while the midfielder leonel lopez is also a question mark with an ankle problem. Both are regular starters for the club when healthy, and their losses have been felt on the pitch in the league.
Moreover, the defender Arturo Ortiz received a red card in the second leg of the semi-final and will not be available for this match. It’s a huge loss, as Ortiz has been deployed at centre-back for every minute of every Pumas game throughout the 2021-22 Mexican league season, except for one Apertura game. .
These missing players represent three of the top seven seven-minute leaders this season for the club, leaving big shoes to fill. Chez Ortiz, 24 years old Jose Galindo will probably intervene alongside Nicolas Freire at the heart of the defence.
Pumas projected the starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Talavera (GK) — Velarde, Freire, Galindo, Mozo — Garcia, Higor — Saucedo, Alvarez, Diogo — Rogerio.
The Sounders are much healthier than their opponents, with only a back-up goalie Andrew Thomas and 21-year-old midfielder Dylan Teves likely to miss.
Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiazand Nicholas Lodeiro are all fit now after battling injuries to start the season, and that has proven vital for the attack, as the Sounders have scored at least two goals in three of the last five league games and six of their 13 matches this season.
The problem for the Sounders is putting offense and defense together in the same game. Seattle has lost 1-0 three times this season, and also fell 4-3 and won 3-2. More recently, the club blew a 3-1 lead against San Jose to lose 4-3, with Morris and Lodeiro scoring in vain.
Sounders projected the starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Menjivar (GK) — D. Rodriguez, Maldonado, Figueroa, Quaye — E. Rodriguez, Mejia, Arriaga — Quioto, Moya, Elis.
Pumas UNAM vs Seattle Sounders betting picks and predictions
Odds via DraftKings (USA) and Sports Interaction (Canada)
With the Seattle Sounders this year, it’s been impossible to know if their games will turn into defensive struggles or wild shootouts. One thing is certain, however, they will almost certainly be close.
Each of Seattle’s first seven games of the MLS season has been decided by a goal, plus a draw. Add to that 1-1 draws on the road with Club Leon and NYCFC in the CONCACAF Champions League, and this team is in every game.
So while the over/under is to be avoided, a battle on the road with defensive-minded Pumas is sure to come to a close. A draw is great value in the 5/2 range, but hedging against an inconsistent but prolific Seattle team playing well on the road is a good play.
To take: Draw or Seattle Sounders (+105 on DraftKings)
Prediction: Pumas UNAM 1-1 Seattle Sounders
|-125 / -105||-123 / -127|
|-125 / +105||-106 / -130|