By Dylan Butler
The Seattle Sounders FC sit atop Group 4 in the CONCACAF Champions League and could begin to stake a claim for a quarterfinal berth with a win against Caledonia AIA Thursday night at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Seattle, which already defeated Caledonia 3-1 August 2 at CenturyLink Field, is coming off a six-goal outburst in a 6-2 win against Chivas USA on Saturday at The Home Depot Center.
Fredy Montero had his first three-goal game in Major League Soccer, while Mauro Rosales had three assists.
"[Rosales is] good at what he does, for sure," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid told reporters Monday. "He's done a good job of making the good decision, finding the guy who's open most at the moment and feeding him."
Caledonia followed an opening loss at Seattle with a 0-0 draw at home against Marathon on August 22, putting additional importance on Thursday's encounter with the American side.
"It's a question now that we've got to be more determined than worry," Caledonia manager Jamaal Shabazz said after the goalless draw. "With a little more belief, fitness and a lot more organization, I think we are still in with a chance."
There's still optimism for the Trinidadians, who will need maximum points from its final matches to have a chance at advancing into the knockout stage.
"We would be confident," defender Radanfah Abu Bakr told ttproleague.com. "We had a look at [Seattle] before and we certainly believe we can match them and battle them playing at home. We want to make amends for the first leg."
In Group 3, Houston Dynamo head to Tegucigalpa for a top-of-the-table clash with Olimpia in a battle of two teams with three points apiece.
Olimpia earned its points from a 3-0 win over CD FAS on August 2 in San Pedro Sula, while the Dynamo knocked off the Salvadoran club 3-1 in Estadio Cuscatlán on August 22.
Houston, which played Toronto to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, is reportedly close to signing English midfielder Giles Barnes to a contract. The 24-year-old previously played for Derby County, West Bromwich Albion and most recently Doncaster Rovers of the English Championship.
"We spent the afternoon with Giles and his agent and would categorize the discussions as being very positive," Houston president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. "We'll talk again later to see if we can finalize an agreement."
Olimpia, which has lost all six matches against American teams in the CONCACAF club championship and recognizes the importance of this match, is also coming off a domestic draw, tying Platense 1-1, on Sunday.
"The fight in this group, practically alone is between [Houston] and us, because FAS has lost two games," striker Roger Rojas told La Prensa. "We have to go out and win…but rest assured that we are facing a great opponent."
Herediano and Real Salt Lake are tied atop Group 2, although the Costa Rican club did beat the MLS squad 1-0 in both teams opening match in San Jose. Herediano heads to Panama City Thursday night to take on a Tauro team desperate to stay alive in the group.
Not making the trip to Panama is Odir Jacques, who resigned as Herediano coach Saturday to become the new coach at Cartagines. He has been replaced by assistant coach and former Costa Rican international striker Claudio Miguel Jara, the club announced on its website.
Herediano is unbeaten in its last four matches, beating Puntarenas 2-0 on Sunday in Jara's debut.