2022 Club World Cup explained: Seattle Sounders breakdown
The Sounders become MLS’ first-ever representative at the Club World Cup on Saturday morning.
SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders are just days away from making history.
As the first-ever Major League Soccer (MLS) representative to compete at the Club World Cup, the Sounders have an opportunity to improve their competitive standing around the world.
Before the tournament starts on Saturday morning, let’s explain what the Club World Cup is, analyze the Sounders team and preview the other clubs battling for the trophy.
What is the Club World Cup?
The FIFA Club World Cup is similar to the more popular World Cup, but there are club football teams instead of national teams in the tournament.
The victorious clubs in each confederation’s major competitions qualify for the annual tournament, which crowns the best club in the world.
This year’s tournament will take place in Morocco from February 1st to 11th.
When do the Sounders play the Club World Cup?
The second round clash of the Sounders will take place on February 4 in Tangier, Morocco. Game starts at 9:00am PST.
Seattle meets Egpyts Al Ahly in the first round of the tournament.
Where can I watch the Sounders this weekend?
There are several watch parties across Seattle to catch the Saturday morning game.
The Sounders’ official watch party will be held at The Armory at Seattle Center.
The club is suggesting registering for the event, but fans will be admitted on a first come, first served basis starting at 8:00am PST.
Other places to watch the Sounders match include the Queen Anne Beer Hall, the Berlin Pub in Renton and Rough & Tumble in Ballard.
Which Sounders should I check out in-game?
The Sounders have one of the more balanced rosters in Major League Soccer (MLS), with several players leading the way.
- Nicolas Lodeiro, midfielder: Since coming to MLS in 2016, Lodeiro has been the creative linchpin for the Sounders attack. He has a combined 40 goals and 70 assists in his 158 MLS season games. When Lodeiro is at his best, the Sounders’ offense reaches its highest potential.
- João Paulo, midfielder: The Brazilian tore his cruciate ligament in the Sounders’ CCL win over Pumas and has not played since. However, he is back in training and could return at the Club World Cup which would bring more offensive firepower. Paulo was a 2021 MLS MVP finalist when he recorded three goals and eight assists as a tenacious defensive midfielder. Among his midfield peers, Paulo ranks in the 94th percentile for goals without penalties and 97th for attempted passes, according to fbref.com.
- Raúl Ruidíaz, Forward: Ruidíaz is a ruthless finisher at the forefront of the Sounders attack. The 5-foot-5 tall Peruvian forward has scored 59 league goals in 97 MLS games. After eight consecutive seasons with double-digit goals in the Mexican, Peruvian and MLS leagues, he ends his bad season record (nine goals) in 2022.
- Stefan Frei, goalkeeper: Seattle’s No. 1 goaltender spot has been undisputed since Frei’s arrival in 2014. The 2016 MLS Cup MVP has a penchant for making big saves at important moments.
- Cristian Roldan, midfielder: The 26-year-old has only played for the Sounders so far. Roldan has just signed another five-year contract extension to remain at the club as he seeks to link up with Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris in the forward line.
- Jordan Morris, Forward: Morris is still working his way back into shape after another serious knee injury ended his career. The recent knee injury cut his 2021 season down to just two games. The Mercer Islander native offers tremendous pace on the left side of the Sounders attack and has scored 42 goals in his MLS career. Morris, who has also only played for the Sounders, signed a five-year extension to remain at the club long-term during the off-season.
Tell me more about the Sounders’ opponent
Al Ahly advanced to the next round of the tournament after beating New Zealand’s Auckland City 3-0 on Wednesday.
The Egyptian club have qualified for the Club World Cup eight times in their history. Wydad won the hosting rights to the tournament, meaning Al Ahly was allowed to participate despite coming up short in the African Champions League final.
Al Ahly currently lead their respective leagues by six points. The club finished third at the 2006 Club World Cup, their best result in their history.
Who would the Sounders play next round if they win?
If Sounders beat Al Ahly, Seattle will face Real Madrid (Spain) in the semi-finals in Tangier, Morocco on February 8th. The game would kick off at 11am PST.
According to the FiveThirtyEight Soccer Power Index (SPI), Real Madrid is the seventh best club in the world.
If the Sounders win their first two games of the tournament, the club will play in the final of the Club World Cup on February 11.
Which other clubs have qualified for the Club World Cup?
Seven club sides from all over the world are represented at this year’s Club World Cup. Here are the seven club teams in the tournament and the countries they represent:
- Al Ahli (Egypt)
- Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
- Auckland city (New Zealand)
- flamengo (Brazil)
- real Madrid (Spain)
- Seattle Sounders (UNITED STATES)
- Wydad (Morocco)
How did the Sounders qualify for the Club World Cup?
Remember when the Sounders beat the Pumas 3-0 to lift the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) title in May 2022?
Winning the CCL title meant the Sounders were the best club in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The prestigious CCL trophy earned Sounders North America their only place in the forthcoming Club World Cup.
Is this a big deal for the Sounders?
Absolutely. For one, the Sounders will become the first team from the United States to ever compete in a Club World Cup.
The club made history last year by becoming the first MLS team ever to win the Concacaf Champions League in its current format
While the Club World Cup is not as prestigious as the UEFA Champions League, which crowns Europe’s best club side, the global tournament gives the Sounders a chance to improve their standing on the biggest stage.
What is the format of the Club World Cup tournament?
With just seven teams qualifying, the Club World Cup uses a simple system familiar to Americans. Win or go home.
Real Madrid (Spain) and Flamengo (Brazil) have already qualified for the semi-finals as they are the strongest teams in the tournament.
At the Club World Cup, the Sounders would play a maximum of three games.
Who were the last Club World Cup champions?
The last nine club world champions have all played in Europe. Real Madrid, the current European representatives, have won the trophy four times, which is the most ever.
The last non-European club to win the trophy was Corinthians (Brazil) in 2012.
- 2021: Chelsea (England)
- 2020: Bayern Munich (Germany)
- 2019: Liverpool (England)
- 2018: Real Madrid (Spain)
- 2017: Real Madrid (Spain)
- 2016: Real Madrid (Spain)
- 2015: Barcelona, Spain)
- 2014: Real Madrid (Spain)
- 2013: Bayern Munich (Germany)
- 2012: Corinthians (Brazil)
- 2010: Inter Milan (Italy)
- 2009: Barcelona, Spain)
- 2008: Manchester United (England)
- 2007: AC Milan (Italy)
- 2006: International (Italy)
- 2005: Sao Paulo, Brazil)
- 2000: Corinthians (Brazil)
https://www.king5.com/article/sports/soccer/sounders-fc/sounders-club-world-cup/281-b1cca36c-4cce-40f5-b39e-914f85ca1585 2022 Club World Cup explained: Seattle Sounders breakdown