Soccer  > General Soccer  > Marked for death in Group C
August 16, 2010, 09:16 PM
Pundits and prognosticators always like to identify a Group of Death. To most in this year's CONCACAF Champions League it's Group C.

After winning the Mexican Apertura title in December, beating Cruz Azul on aggregate, Monterrey advanced to the Champions League for the first time and will surely be one of the favorites in Group C.

Chilean Humberto Suazo helped lead the Rayados to their third major Mexican league crown and is back from a loan deal with Spain's Real Zaragoza. Monterrey, which is off to the second-best record in the Mexican Apertura with three victories and a draw, is also home to Mexican international Luis Perez, longtime former Mexican center back Duilo Davino and Jesus Arellano.

The Seattle Sounders might be struggling in its second season in Major League Soccer, but the squad is one of four American teams to advance to the Group Stage after an impressive 2-1 win on aggregate against Isidro Metapan from El Salvador in the Preliminary Stage.

Equal on aggregate 1-1 but trailing by a goal in the second leg in El Salvador, Seattle overcame torrential rain when Uruguayan Alvaro Fernandez struck for the winner in the 74th minute at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.

While former Swedish international Freddy Ljungberg has been traded to the Chicago Fire, the first "Designated Player" to be dealt in league history, the Sounders feature dangerous scoring threats in Colombians Fredy Montero and Miguel Montano, and a defense anchored by former United States international goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

Coached by Roy Myers, who was capped 45 times including the 1990 World Cup for Costa Rica, Deportivo Saprissa is Central America's most titled club, having won the Costa Rican league 29 times, five Central American club crowns and the old CONCACAF Champions Cup three times.

One of its most imposing features is Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, a 23,112-seat fortress known as La Cueva del Monstruo (the Monster's Cave) and has become a favorite for the Costa Rican national team.

One of CONCACAF's most successful teams, Saprissa features a roster almost exclusively of homegrown players, including Douglas Sequeira, Jose Mena, Josue Martinez and Fernando Paniagua, all of whom play for the Ticos.

And there is Marathon, the Honduran 2009 Apertura champion making its third consecutive CONCACAF Champions League appearance after reaching the quarterfinals the first two years. Marathon advanced to the knockout stage in the inaugural Champions League before being upset by the Puerto Rico Islanders, and last year it lost to Pumas UNAM.

Thanks to three goals by Claudio Labarinas, Marathon defeated Tauro FC of Panama 4-2 on aggregate in the Preliminary Round to advance to Group C. El Monstruo Verde (the Green Monster) also features forward Walter Martinez, who played for Honduras in the 2010 World Cup and defender Erick Norales, who converted the final penalty kick to earn Honduras' spot in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
August 18, 2010  11:15 AM ET

I also like group of death matches, where there are certain favorites, it becomes boring!


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