How did Morocco get to host, you may ask?
So how does FIFA decide? It is possible that Morocco was the second among the contenders to host the World Cup in 2026, which was awarded to the joint bid of Canada, Mexico and the USA (By the way, Seattle was chosen as one of the 16 host cities.) The host of the Club World Cup could Morocco’s consolation prize.
Now, because the best Moroccan team, Wydad Casablanca, as well won the CAF competition, Africa had to choose a runner-up, which turned out to be Al Ahly from Cairo.
Now about the race.
This is not the World Cup, where 32 teams were divided into eight groups this year. Instead, these seven teams are organized into a complex single bracket. In short, the bottom team needs four games to win the title, while the top two teams need to win two games. The Sounders are in the middle, which means they need to win three games to take home the Cup.
The host nation’s team (or, in this case, its substitute, since Wydad is also the African champion) plays against the smallest member of the continental organization, Oceania. This year it was “Auckland City FC” from New Zealand. (Although a semi-professional team, Auckland City participated in the Club World Cup for a 10th record. Such is the power of Oceania in world football.)
The Al Ahli vs Oakland match took place on February 1 and is important to you, dear reader, as the winner of Al Ahli will face the Sounders in their first match on Saturday, in Tangier at 9am Pacific. (See below for viewing party and telecast details.)
(The other two teams in our division, AFC champions Wydad and Asia’s top team, Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, play Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., before the Sounders play.)
If the Sounders win on Saturday, they will advance to the UEFA semifinals against Real Madrid, who even the casual soccer fan probably knows is historically one of the best clubs in the world and will likely be the Sounders’ toughest opponent.
Do we have a chance?
Of course we have opportunity. However, as Jeremiah Oshan of fan blog Sounder at Heart said, “I don’t know if Real Madrid will be playing all their stars at the start of the tournament, but their roster is worth about $1 billion in total. … They’re on their roster.” have only four players worth less than the Sounders’ most expensive player.” By the way, the Sounders’ 2023 payroll is just over $19 million.
Of course, as Oscar nominees always say, it’s an honor just to be invited. As former Sounders manager Garth Lagerway told Sounder at Heart after the Sounders won the CONCACAF Championship on May 4, 2022, to qualify for the tournament: “It’s like, you do it. It’s… it’s just amazing. is I wanted to be really cool and calm, ‘Ah, it’s not a big deal,’ but it’s a big deal.