The Seattle Sounders made history as the first club from Major League Soccer to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday in Tangier, Morocco.. The Sounders lost 1-0 in heartbreaking fashion to Egyptian giants Al Ahly by conceding in the 88th minute.
The Sounders should keep their heads held high as they pushed Al Ahly to the very end. The Egyptian side are Club World Cup regulars as this is the eighth time Al Ahly have qualified for the competition.
A trip to the tournament’s semifinal against the defending UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid was what Seattle and Al Ahly were playing for.
One of the biggest factors that went against Seattle is that the 2023 MLS season hasn’t even started. The Sounders are in preseason form while Al Ahly are in the middle of the Egyptian Premier League season, top of the table and playing some great football.
Al Ahly’s game-winner came from a deflected shot in the final minutes. Mohamed Afsha saw his shot whack the crossbar, but a failed clearance from Seattle’s defense gave him a second chance. A deflection off Alex Roldán proved too much for goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Afsha puts @AlAhly ahead 1-0!His right footed follow up shot from outside the box takes a fortunate deflection and finds the bottom right corner pic.twitter.com/eNw9l4Aduz
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 4, 2023
This was the only shot on target the Egyptian side had all game.
Seattle looked the better team for a majority of the game but were unable to capitalize on their chances. The final 20 minutes saw the Sounders simply run out of gas and start making more mistakes.
Saturday’s game was a bit of a chess match too as the first shot on target for either team didn’t come until the 50th minute which was a tame Seattle shot from distance. The final ball to unlock Al Ahly’s stout defense was what was missing.
Seattle outshot Al Ahly 12-9 and had two shots on target to their opponent’s one. Ultimately it wasn't enough for the 2022 Concacaf Champions League winners.
@AlAhly will advance to the FIFA Club World Cup semifinals thanks to Mohamed Afsha's heroics pic.twitter.com/gfnTCEfPWt— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 4, 2023
Al Ahly will face Real Madrid on Wednesday while the other semifinal between Brazilian powerhouse Flamengo and Al-Hilal is on Tuesday.