- Sounders are first MLS participant
- Want to represent U.S. well
- Could face Real Madrid in semi-final
WHAT HAPPENED? After becoming MLS' first entrant into the Club World Cup by winning the CONCACAF Champions League, Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz admitted that the squad felt the weight of wanting to impress people back home in the United States.
If the Sounders defeat Al Ahly, they would meet Real Madrid in the semi-final in a game that could elevate the stature of MLS. But Ruidiaz said he doesn't want to overlook the quarter-final.
WHAT THEY SAID: "We know that all of the United States will be supporting us," the 32-year-old told Extratime. "There’s a lot of pressure, clearly. But more than anything, there's motivation.
"We’re really excited, really anxious to play this [quarter-final] game. We have to win the first game. We don’t even know who we’re going to face. We’re focused on winning the first game. Then we’ll see."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: It will be a tough test of preparedness for the Sounders, who aren't in their domestic season yet. MLS starts again on February 25.
IN A PHOTO:Getty Images
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SOUNDERS? Their quarter-final match will take place on Saturday against Al Ahly, after the Egyptian club defeated Auckland City on Wednesday.