By CALEB SONNELAND
It was the Mike Fucito show at CenturyLink Field Tuesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Harvard product notched a brace and an assist for Seattle in the club's first match in group play of the competition. Fucito got the nod for the start from head coach Sigi Schmid and repaid the boss's decision with two clinical goals while setting up another to give the Sounders a 4-1 win over Guatemalan foes Comunicaciones.
It was Fucito who took control shortly after Seattle was reduced to 10 men in the 61st minute when he was found with a low pass outside the area by Fredy Montero. Fucito took a deft first touch into the area before lashing a left-footed effort into the far post to give Seattle it's first lead of the game. Fucito has yet to score in the MLS this season, but netted twice in US Open Cup play earlier this season against the Kitsap Pumas.
The Seattle striker sealed the deal only six minutes later when he was played in behind defense by DP Alvaro Fernandez with a lovely cross-field ball. Fucito controlled the ball and set himself up on his favored left foot to whip around Comunicaciones keeper JJ Paredes and seemingly put the fixture beyond doubt.
However, in the 79th minute, the visitors looked to have clawed a goal back when Jairo Arreola whipped a cross into the box that Patrick Ianni seemed to have bundled across the goal line before a mad scuffle with Edgar Martinez saw the ball kept out, and no goal was awarded. Martinez took up his argument with the referee, but was awarded a his marching orders rather than a goal and was shown a red card.
Martinez's dismissal evened things up from a numerical standpoint, as Seattle had been previously reduced to 10 men when Lamar Neagle saw straight red early in the second half. Neagle went in hard on Jean Marquez which resulted in an ejection to leave the Sounders with the task of rescuing a result from the match.
Brad Evans leveled terms 15 minutes from half time when he rose highest to a Fucito cross to turn a powerful header off the underside of the crossbar and into the net for his first goal in all competitions since early May.
The visitors got a dream start in Seattle when Arreola found the net in just the second minute of play. With the assist coming from Brayan Ordonez, Comunicaciones looked to be in prime position to take something away from the Sounders in the first round of group play.
It went from a perfect start to a disaster of a conclusion as substitute Rigoberto Gomez prodded the ball into his own net to put a nail in the coffin of the Guatemalan side. Seattle DP Fernandez whipped a cross into the area intended for Evans, but Gomez intervened and attempted to clear the danger. Instead, the defender slotted the ball past a helpless Paredes for a 4-1 scoreline.
What did you think of the game? Think Neagle and Martinez deserved red? Was the ball across the goal line in the 79th minute?