Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer emphasized the importance of the upcoming Leagues Cup semifinal match against Liga MX side Santos Laguna as they are the last Major League Soccer team left standing in the tournament.
“That is an important game for the club,” Schmetzer said.
“Santos Laguna is already here in Seattle. They flew after their game in Tijuana. They’re already here, they’re taking it very seriously. And we are taking this game very seriously. I know Adrian [Hanauer] and the owner of Santos are good friends. But believe me, we are going to be ready for Tuesday.
The second-year competition pitted eight teams against each other, including four from Major League Soccer and four from Liga MX. After a chaotic quarterfinal round eliminated Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City, New York City FC and Tigres UANL, the competition intensified.
Seattle Sounders now face Santos Laguna on Tuesday while Pumas UNAM battles Leon on Wednesday.
Schmetzer highlighted the pressure his players face as they balance the Leagues Cup with MLS, where they lead the Western Conference with 45 points in 23 matches.
“Every game matters to us and that’s just the message I reinforce because, look, MLS is weird,” Schmetzer said. “It’s hard, there are things we don’t control. And so for us to have a blip, for us to have a little bit of a dip in form at home, I don’t have the answers.
“But what I do know is that group of players in there is committed for every single game. And as long as they commit for every single game and every single competition – look, we have to be okay with the results sometimes. They’re not always going to go our way, that’s pro sports. But I was very proud of them to figure out a way how to close that game out because Minnesota put us under pressure in the second half.”
Should the Sounders defeat Santos Laguna, they would play the Leagues Cup final on Wednesday September 22 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.