The Seattle Sounders wound up having a quick trip to Morocco. (Photo courtesy of the Sounders)

The Seattle Sounders fell, 1-0, to Egyptian side Al Ahly SC in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday, eliminating the Major League Soccer team from the competition in Tangier, Morocco.

As the first American side to appear in the intercontinental club championship, Seattle bowed out after Al Ahly scored the game-winning goal in 88th minute, courtesy of Mohamad Afsha.

Al Ahly advanced to face reigning European champion Real Madrid on Wednesday in the Moroccan capital of Rabat. The winner will qualify for the final on Feb. 11.

Al Ahly scored the game-winning goal in the dying minutes of the second half. A rebounded shot off the crossbar was taken from outside the area by Al Ahly’s Afsha. That deflected off Seattle’s Alex Roldan and found its way into the back of the net for the lone goal of the match.

The match marked the first official contest of Seattle’s 2023 campaign, with the club competing in the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in team history. Sounders FC qualified for the intercontinental club championship by becoming the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, which the Rave Green accomplished with a 5-2 aggregate win over Liga MX side Pumas in last spring’s CCL final.

Earlier on Saturday in Rabat, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal defeated Moroccan side Wydad, 5-3, on penalties following a 1-1 draw, with the winner set to face Brazilian power Flamengo in the tournament’s other semifinal matchup on Feb. 7.

Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation in his first starting XI this eason. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei led a backline composed of Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Jackson Ragen and Nouhou, with Josh Atencio and Albert Rusnák anchoring central midfield. Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro and Jordan Morris led the attack, with Raúl Ruidíaz reprising his starting striker role.

Seattle midfielder João Paulo made his return from injury in the 68th minute, replacing Atencio in central midfield. The Brazilian suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on May 4 of last season in Seattle’s continental championship-clinching win over Liga MX’s Pumas.

Sounders FC looks toward opening its MLS regular-season campaign against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, Feb. 26 at home.