Sounders’ big week has 3 games in 3 competitions

Aug 1, 2012, 1:41 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2012, 8:53 am

What a way to kick off the month of August.

The Seattle Sounders play three matches in three different competitions over the next seven days. It begins with a Thursday night home game against Caledonia AIA from Trinidad.

Just five months after falling to Mexico’s Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals, Sounders FC returns to the CONCACAF Champions League for the third time, qualifying for the tournament every eligible year since joining MLS.

CONCACAF is a tournament to decide which professional team is best in the Caribbean, North, and Central America. Sounders FC is in group four, alongside Caribbean champion Caledonia AIA and CD Marathón of Honduras.

This year’s format means fewer games and less travel for coach Sigi Schmid’s Sounders.

“Playing four games instead of six games is nice because it takes some of the work load off, especially the MLS teams that are trying to finish up their schedule. That part of it is positive,” he said. “You also now have to be the group winner. Second place isn’t good enough.”

What does Schmid know about Caledonia?

“Nice name,” he joked. “Actually, we have some highlights from their matches and we’ve done some scouting down there. They are a physical team, and their one forward, [Jamal] Gay, is a horse who is big and strong and powerful.”

Seattle has one player on the roster who should be familiar with the CONCACAF opponent. Cordell Cato is the 20-year-old midfielder born in Carenage, Trinidad and Tobago. He represented his country at the CONCACAF U-20 championships in Guatemala.

The Sounders ride plenty of momentum into this stretch, having beaten the Rapids in Colorado last Saturday night. Eddie Johnson scored in the second minute and set up fellow All Star Osvaldo Alonso with the game-winner.

German midfielder Christian Tiffert has arrived and joined his new Sounders teammates for training sessions. The 30-year-old was captain for Germany’s Bundesliga club, FC Kaiserslautern. Seattle traded away designated player Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire to make room for Tiffert.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, Sounders FC host David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy for a nationally televised match on ESPN2. Next Wednesday, Aug. 8, the rave green travel to Kansas City to play for a fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup.

The CONCACAF Champions league match kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday with Thom Beuning and Taylor Graham calling the action on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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Sounders’ big week has 3 games in 3 competitions