Al Ahly stands between Seattle Sounders and a game vs. Real Madrid — Does Seattle have a chance?

Al Ahly defeated Auckland City FC 3-0 in the opening game of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup on Wednesday in Morocco. With the way the bracket is designed, Al Ahly advance to the second round where they will face the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The winner of Saturday's game faces Real Madrid in the semifinal.

Al Ahly’s victory against the semi-professional club from Oceania was comfortable. This is the eighth time the Egyptian club have participated in the Club World Cup. They’ve advanced to the semifinals in the previous two tournaments.

The three goals came from Hussien El Shahat, Mohamed Sherif and Percy Tau.

Hussien El Shahat scored the game’s opening goal in first half stoppage time to give Al Ahly the lead. He became the fourth player in history to score at three different Club World Cups. He’s got some decent company in Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Mohamed Sherif grabbed the second in the 56th minute. The Egyptian international will be a serious threat for the Sounders on Saturday.

Percy Tau finished Auckland City off in the 86th minute after receiving a filthy backheel pass.

Do the Sounders — the first MLS team to ever qualify for the Club World Cup — have a chance of winning on Saturday?

Seattle Sounders vs Al Ahly Preview

According to Opta’s latest club power rankings that ranks nearly every club in the world, the Sounders are heavy underdogs.

Opta has Al Ahly as the 157th best club in the world while the Sounders sit at 415. On paper — or on Opta — Al Ahly is the superior team.

Another important factor is current form. The timing of the Club World Cup never does any favors for Concacaf. Seattle haven’t played a competitive game since Oct. 9. 

Meanwhile Al Ahly are in red-hot form. Through 15 league games they sit top of the Egyptian Premier League with 11 wins, four draws and a +21 goal difference. The defense has only conceded five goals all season.

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That is what the Seattle Sounders are up against.

Seattle qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the 2022 Concacaf Champions League all the way back in May 2022. What followed the triumph was the Sounders’ worst season in the 14 they've played in Major League Soccer.

The Sounders missed the playoffs for the first time in their history in what was an entirely forgettable season. 

Head coach Brian Schmetzer will have a preseason like none he’s experienced before in his many seasons with Seattle. Usually around this time MLS teams are playing behind closed doors friendlies and gearing up for the opener. 

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Now Schmetzer and his side are traveling over 5,000 miles to Morocco to face the 42-time Egyptian Premier League champions. If the Sounders can stun Al Ahly the reward is a competitive game against the reigning UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid.

Good luck Schmetzer and the Sounders. Prove me wrong and make MLS proud.

Prediction: Al Ahly wins 3-1

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