T&T’s Neal & Massy Caledonia AIA, the reigning Caribbean Football Union Club champions will be hoping for a much improved showing and result when it host US Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders in a crucial Concacaf Champions League Group four match at the Ato Boldon Stadium, from 8 pm tonight. The visiting Sounders which has former Defence Force, San Juan Jabloteh and national Under-17 winger, 20-year Cordell Cato in its squad, currently leads the three-team group with three points from its 3-1 triumph over the T&T Pro League on August 2 at Century Link Field, Seattle, Washinngton. Caledonia, meanwhile, has one point from two matches, after it was held goalless by CD Marathon of Honduras on Wednesday at Couva and will be keen to pick up all three points tonight to stay in contention for the lone qualification spot from the group ahead of its remaining tie with Marathon on September 26.
Caledonia technical director, Jamaal Shabazz is expected to have the services of former club captain, Densill Theobald after his success with Indian club, Dempo FC. However, Keyon Edwards fellow midfielder Ataulla Guerra and nippy striker Akim Armstrong are all out. Edwards, who was used in a midfield role against CD Marathon, missed the match through suspension while Guerra and Armstrong are still recovering from long-term injuries. With regards to the return of Theobald, Shabazz said it was always a pleasure to work with the former Soca Warriors captain who was a role model and good example to the team and the youths of Morvant/Laventille. "His work ethic is second to none and he's already made a positive impact on the squad, especially with the younger players,” added Shabazz. "We cannot coach experience and he brings lots of experience and enthusiasm at a most critical time for us in this campaign, stated Shabazz.”
Shabazz will be hoping that Theobald combines well with St Vincent and The Grenadines’ midfielder Cornelius Stewart and the local trio of club captain Stephan David, Kareem Joseph and Abdallah Phillips, to provide the much needed service for strikers Kerlon Ferguson, Trevin Caesar and Jamal Gay. But while his team has only managed one goal from its two matches, Shabbaz said he did not feel pressured by the daunting task of facing the top MLS club. "Certainly we have to dig deep and pull out a performance that will give us the result we need. The guys are looking forward to the clash as we all know we need the points to get back in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot.” Seattle, which arrived in T&T on Tuesday, will also be brimming with confidence, having defeated Chivas USA 6-2, at the Home Depot Centre on Saturday in MLS action, led by a hat-trick from Fredy Montero who was also on target in the win against Caledonia.