The Seattle Sounders will begin the most important tournament in their history when they take on Al Ahly in the Club World Cup. While the Club World Cup might be taken as a friendly competition by some, for the non-European teams who don’t get a chance to prove themselves against Europe’s best, this is quite an important tournament. It’s even more important for the Sounders who hold the distinction as the first Major League Soccer Club to compete in the tournament.
The Sounders will face Al Ahly, an Egyptian side that has already won one game in the competition, beating Auckland City FC on Thursday. Head coach Brian Schmetzer was careful to give respect to Al Ahly but it would also be fair for the Sounders to be thinking about a potential semifinal match against Real Madrid.
Seattle will have an injury boost with midfielder Joao Paulo available to start the match even though Obed Vargas will not be available for selection according to Schmetzer. Paulo is critical to how the Sounders play but after getting injured in the team’s run to winning Concacaf Champions League, he was finally able to get back to action for the first time since May of 2022 in the lead up to this match.
Paulo will be on a minutes restriction and the team was able to learn how to win games without him last season, but there’s no questioning that the team is better when he plays. The depth around him has also gotten stronger with Heber joining the squad from New York City FC and the team will need all of it in this competition.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
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How to watch and odds
- Date: Saturday, Feb. 4 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Grand Stade de Tanger — Tanger Morocco
- TV: FS2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: Seattle Sounders +185; Draw +205; Al Ahly +160 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Seattle Sounders: While the Sounders are in preseason preparation, they’ve been able to play a few good friendlies against Wolfsberg and Hammarby. They’ll be used to the challenge of playing a team in the middle of their season as it’s a similar struggle that they face in Concacaf Champions League but the teams at the Club World Cup are of a different caliber.
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Al Ahly: First in the Egyptian Premier League, Al Ahly are in good form with no losses in their 15 league matches so far this season. The defense especially has been stellar allowing only five goals so the Sounders will have to take their chances well. Auckland City may have had a red card in the opening match for the tournament but they were well beaten by then with Al Ahly scoring three goals.
With Al Ahly’s form, it’s hard to pick against them in this match. Seattle will keep it close but the Egyptian side’s unbeaten run will continue to face Real Madrid. Pick: Seattle 1, Al Ahly 2