Sounders take first leg of CCL preliminary round

 Sounders logo

By Jose M. Romero

Qwest Field just didn't look quite the same with all those empty seats, but home was still good to Seattle Sounders FC Wednesday night in its first-ever CONCACAF Champions League match.

The Sounders, decked out in their third "electricity" kits, provided all the energy in their 1-0 preliminary knockout-round, first-leg win over Isidro Metapan of El Salvador. The preliminary round is aggregate-goal based, so the Sounders go to Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador for a 10 p.m., EST second leg next Tuesday with the upper hand in advancing to the CCL group stage.

Striker Fredy Montero was instant electricity, coming on as a sub for Nate Jaqua in the 60th minute and finding the net with his first shot, a long one-bouncer from perhaps 35 yards out that goalkeeper Misael Alfaro couldn't gather in. The ball bounced off his arms and over the goal line. 

"We wanted to hold them at zero at home and get as many goals as possible at home," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "We also wanted to make sure that we can play with a strong lineup when we go down to El Salvador because it's going to be a hostile environment. The refereeing certainly is going to be a little different than it is in the MLS and it's going to be a situation where we're going to need our veteran players down there to get the result that we need to advance."

The Sounders dominated offensive play before 17,228 fans, less than half of a typical regular-season home crowd. Starting in the 21st minute, the Sounders' attack came to life. Right wing Sanna Nyassi came flying in to deliver a cross that left winger Miguel Montano just missed, and Nyassi remained active with chances, his speed surprising the Metapan defenders. 

Seattle had plenty of space in the midfield in the first half to work the ball toward the goal. Metapan opted for hard tackling and aggressive play throughout the match, and really only had one great chance to score, coming in the 41st minute.  

In the 29th minute, the ball came to Montano, who centered to forward Roger Levesque, who laid the ball off to Mike Seamon. The rookie's shot, again in open space, was deflected away for a corner kick as Seattle kept up the pressure. 

Holding midfielder Pete Vagenas was injured away from the ball early in the match and was replaced by Osvaldo Alonso. Schmid got a chance for a long look at youngsters Seamon and Montano, and rarely-used defender Taylor Graham made the most of his opportunity to play. 

Nyassi missed a chance wide left late in the second half, and Seamon couldn't finish another in injury time of the second half, but the Sounders had enough to win back-to-back matches for the first time this season. 

Next up is a road game at San Jose Saturday, than the long trip to Central America. The Sounders will play in the capital and not the city of Metapan's Estadio Suarez (capacity 8,000) because, according to Metapan coach Edwin Portillo, CONCACAF did not approve of the use of the stadium for CCL matches. 

"We are from the municipality, not the capital," Portillo said after explaining how his team wasn't used to playing in front of such a big crowd. "It will take two hours (to get to San Salvador) and it's a weekday so people have to work.  I will not create false expectations. I expect 3,000 from the capital and a few more from the municipality."

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25 Responses to Sounders take first leg of CCL preliminary round

  1. Dlewis says:

    Is it my computer or is the logo huge.

  2. EA says:

    It’s new Soccer By Ives 3D(tm)!

  3. Marcus says:

    so…many…fonts…aaaaahhhhh!!!!!

  4. gsscasual says:

    who was the defender from metapan that was literally 240 lbs with a gut

  5. Petaluman says:

    Wow…supersized graphics and font musical chairs. Looks good. LOL

  6. t says:

    it was really fun to watch the sounders play very attacking soccer. it should have been 5-0 sounders.
    im nervous about them playing down there. i suspect we will have 2 ejections.

  7. ChiTownFire says:

    Yeah, that was a really fun game to watch. I would have felt more comfortable if the Sounders would have taken a 2-0 lead to Metapan, but, a win is a win.

  8. WeatherManNX01 says:

    Can someone please steal those kits and burn them? Those are just so ugly and unnecessary.

  9. american soccer fan says:

    u couldn’t find a better picture than that?! i mean, c’mon, i wanna see the electricity kits!

  10. Jordan says:

    Mr. Romero, it’s a good idea to put the scoreline in or close to the lede of your articles.

  11. Jordan says:

    My bad. It’s there. I must be getting old. sorry.

  12. k says:

    Funny how soccer is; they should have scored on 3 or 4 chances but didn’t and they shouldn’t have scored on Montero’s shot but did. The gods must be crazy.

  13. BSU SC says:

    A good result for the Sounders, but not a great one. The return leg in San Salvador is going to be very tough. I think the Metapan coach is not being truthful when he says only 3k will show up to the game. Down there, this is the next closest thing to a USA vs. El Salvador match. Anytime the Yanks are down there it’s a big f’n deal. I’d expect to see close to a sellout crowd.

  14. Zack Lewis says:

    It was a flop fest. However, I loved their aging balding left winger.

    Nyassi needs to learn to use the outside of his boot. He missed a very tasty chance.

  15. A Guest says:

    Alright, Sounders, go beat Meatpan!

  16. Joe Strummer says:

    Sounders just signed Alvaro Fernandez as DP! Just need his ITC. Good signing.

  17. Charles says:

    Finally, I was beginning to think that Ljungberg was going to screw that whole thing up like he did our corner kicks this year.

    New guys aside, the Sounders really have no finishers outside of Montero and maybe Zakuani. In case no one knew that already last night proved it again.

    IF you are not supporting soccer in the US yet, get with it. Between rookies and signings, MLS teams are improving by the minute.

  18. Josh D says:

    Funny how 17,000+ to Seattle, on a weekday, is nothing to gloat about when 17,000+ on a weekend would be a fantastic pull for quite a number of MLS teams…

    As much as I hate them, you have to envy their position….

  19. Ian says:

    I think N’Kufo was brought in for just that reason. Give him a chance.

  20. Aaron says:

    My thoughts exactly… funny.

  21. Shadowdub says:

    Attendance was much lower since this game was not included in the season ticket package.

  22. ryan says:

    some empty seats are never good to see, but you have to look at this in context…not only would 17K be good for an mls game on a weekend, it’s PHENOMENAL for a CCL game involving an MLS team at home in general on any day! most US teams can’t draw more than family and friends to these fixtures. and the seattle times said they only sold 13K by sunday, which means they had over 4K walk up and buy tix.

    pretty impressive. would have been better if they included this game as GAME “C” in our season tickets…still not sure what that’s going to be used for.

    GO SOUNDERS!

  23. jon says:

    Definitely. Nkufo is essentially a finisher and nothing else, so hopefully he gets into a groove and becomes a dominant (or at least effective) target striker.

  24. jon says:

    There was also apparently a feeling that this was just a friendly amongst the hoi polloi, which the “no time for friendlies” billboards didn’t totally dispel. Even some fans I work with who go to every regular season game didn’t really get what this one was all about.

  25. Fred Garvin says:

    What are you talking about?

    I am sure most fans in attendance knew well this was a worthy match… Most- if not all of my friends gave away their Celtic tickets .

    The Hoi Polloi… get serious