Late goal lifts Tigres over Sounders in CCL quarterfinals

AlanPulido (Getty)

By JASON MITCHELL

For more than 70 minutes Wednesday night it looked like the Seattle Sounders, despite being considerably outplayed by Tigres UANL for much of the match, were going to escape Mexico with a scoreless draw.

But after repeatedly playing with fire at Estadio Universitario, the Sounders were finally burned in the 73rd minute and eventually lost 1-0 in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made a diving save on a Lucas Lobos shot from point-blank range, but was helpless to stop a second attempt from late substitute Alan Pulido off the deflection.

Both Tigres players were behind a Seattle back line begging for an offside call that never came.

Seattle forward Lamar Neagle, a late substitute, managed a close-range flick in the 82nd minute, but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Enrique Palos to equalize.

The series now heads to the Pacific Northwest, with the second leg scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The winner of the series will face either Santos Laguna or the Houston Dynamo.

Thousands of miles from home, fielding a makeshift lineup, and just beginning their MLS season, the Sounders found themselves facing an in-form opponent currently leading Liga MX.

It showed.

From the game’s opening moments, Tigres pressed a discombobulated Seattle defense and peppered goalkeeper Michael Gspurning with shots from both near and far.

But with leading scorer Emanuel Villa sidelined with injury, the Monterrey side failed to capitalize on its many chances, often missing the frame and rarely giving Gspurning a true test.

In just the third minute, an Alberto Acosta cross found Lobos far post. Lobos got around Gspurning inside the six-yard box and seemed sure to score, but Leo Gonzalez managed to clear the line.

Just 10 minutes later, Acosta found Luis Garcia in the middle of the penalty area, but Gspurning managed to get a glove on the shot and send it over the crossbar.

In the 37th minute, Garcia got on the end of a deflected pass inside the six-yard box, but sent it just wide of the left post.

In the first half alone, Tigres racked up 7 shots and owned 63 percent of possession, while the Sounders managed neither a shot nor a corner kick.

Will Seattle have a chance to turn the tables in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field? Will Tigres regret not converting more of its many chances, especially since Seattle gets to rest this weekend while Tigres has a Liga MX match?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Featured, Mexican Soccer, MLS- Seattle Sounders, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Late goal lifts Tigres over Sounders in CCL quarterfinals

  1. Skippy says:

    Seattle has put itself in a decent position to advance. Frankly, they’re fortunate to be in this position. They’ll need to rest up and play some inspired soccer at home.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The one-sided nature of the match does raise some doubts about the ability to reverse, but 1-0 is the sort of lead that even the slightest dumb luck or an own goal can reverse.

  2. Edwin in LA says:

    I think Sigi needs to play Rosales at midfield in the 2nd leg….maybe next or in front of Alonso, and not play both Alonso AND Gaven. If Johansson can’t go and Yedlin is for sure not ready, which with him being a homegrown rookie I understand he’s not ready to start in such an elimination type of game with high stakes…..then play Gaven at Right Back….but Sigi has to play either Ochoa or Estrada up top with EJ…..is Estrada or Zakuani hurt? I hope not because they nee BOTH for sure Zakuani in the starting line up at Right Midfield and Estrada to either start at FWD next to EJ or back up forward along with whomever else….Neagle or what not….but either Ochoa or Estrada need to start as the 2nd forward….they both have done well in this competition….the game is at home…should have a nice crowd. Time to put your guns up.

    If Sigi does decide to play with 2 holding mids and plays Rosales outwide…..I still hope he either plays Estrada, Ochoa or even Zakuani up top with EJ But if that is the case, Seattle might benefit of Evans at RB and Sharlie at CM next to Alonso if indeed they with 2 holding mids….

  3. MASE NJRB says:

    This was like watching Barca vs anybody. PLAY TO WIN!! It was like pulling teeth watching Seattle try to hold the score at 0-0….MLS teams need some balls, its like we’re playing the EPL for gods sake!!

    • Kosh says:

      Perhaps they were playing to win – the series and not the game. There is strategy that comes into consideration in the home-and-away format and they were up against an in-form team – away. You go gang busters and you’re easily looking at another route like last year.

      There is another component to this game and the Sounders – but for Brad Evans keeping that dude on-side for the goal – did exactly what they though (and most agree with) was the best way to position themselves to advance. Now if they get dominated like that at home next week…then I’ll agree with your point.

      • lassidawg says:

        It was Zac Scott who held the player onside, and was consitantly getting torched be the Mexicans.
        Please don’t play Scott in CCL or MLS games.

        • a says:

          Please dont play scot, evans and caskey. No technical ability whatsoever. How these guys became pros is beyond me. It sucks because everytime we play the mx teams we get exposed to the limitations of the mls teams. But hey this is just like seattle nothing but hype. The Gs will stand up for MLS today. We’ll show you how its done.

          • lassidawg says:

            Yeo just like seattle has done nothing in 4 years. The only thing they haven’t done is faired well in the playoffs. They must be the worst of the newer teams.

        • Gnarls says:

          Zac Scott looks like crap every time I see him play.

        • pkT says:

          OFFSIDE pal.

      • Charles says:

        Kosh

      • Charles says:

        Kosh, pretty sure it was Zach Scott that kept them onside.

        • Rob Stone says:

          Zach Scott (even tho I like the guy) was continually caught being the last man and allowing tigres close access to the goal. Not particularly technically ept, he should only be used for MLS games where his slower pace and grabby ways are more accepted.

          • Kosh says:

            Sorry everyone. Agreed it was Scott. My bad on the mix up…under the weather but still try to watch and comment on the game. LOL

    • Charles says:

      What the heck game did you watch ?

      Seattle ( and I am the biggest Sounder’s fan ) didn’t have a prayer. They played correctly, sorry they didn’t entertain you, but there will be a big crowd in Seattle that are glad that they didn’t try to entertain you.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Generally I’d agree with you, I think part of the problem with MLS advancement in CCL is that I don’t think playing as cautious as we do for two legs, is a recipe for winning against teams with superior payrolls and players. At least one of the legs I think you have to say eff it and try and put some goals in, if just to get a victory margin. You have to score to advance.

      However, when you get shelled like these guys were, I think strategy is academic. I think they were overmatched. Damages limitation exercise.

    • beachbum says:

      when Sounders finally started playing longer balls for EJ to run on to they finally created opportunities. Rosales as the hold up guy, which is what they tried first and often, did not work at all. Gspurning saved lots of bacon for the green guys last night

      only giving up a disputed goal away to a team like that is an excellent result

  4. Cosmosfan says:

    They really needed an away goal more than they needed a draw. Now they pretty much have score 3 times at home if Tigres manages to score once. They have a decent chance to advance but they are going to have to play much better than they did last night and prove they can pressure Tigres in the attacking third and create goal scoring opportunities. Perhaps the turf monster can help them out in that regard.

    • shake says:

      It’s aggregate, there is no away goal rule here.

      • ... says:

        Yes there is. Per the CONCACAF website:

        In the event that the two teams are tied on aggregate goals scored at the end of Regulation time in the 2nd Leg of the Championship Stage, the following tiebreaker criteria shall be applied, in order, to determine the winning team.
        • Greater aggregate number of away goals scored in regulation time in the two matches (excluding any goals scored in overtime)
        • Greater number of goals scored in the overtime periods at the end of the second match
        • Kicks from the Penalty Spot procedure (as per FIFA Laws of the Game)

  5. ed - houston says:

    Not a bad result at all. Good luck next week. Away goals are at a premium at this stage.

  6. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I think Seattle played better than the article seems to suggest, particularly in the second half. Tigres was very good, very impressive. I’m not saying the result was unfair, but it was a well played game and I think Seattle has a good chance on the return leg.

    However, Seattle needs some finishing. EJ is working harder than I have ever seen him, but his decision making in the final stages of the attack is poor. He need to at least earned some corners where the height advantage could have made a real difference

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I think EJ is productive right now because he is fit and engaged. Which you are more or less saying by, “working hard.” But his technique and savvy have some limits and at his age I think he simply is what he is. He’s an athletic poacher with some skill, he’s never going to be a wise, good touch target guy like McBride or Ching. He’s instead the sort of HS target guy who half the time starts dribbling towards his own half. If you don’t want that you need to keep shopping.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I agree, But I can’t stop myself from thinking that a guy can learn to occassionally slot a ball over to the wide open Rosales or get some mustard on a shot. Can’t he be more like…Freddy Montero?

        Seattle is a good team. but if they don’t find a finisher, it is going to be a frustrating year for them

  7. Wess says:

    Is it just me or is Rosales overrated? He had a terrible game.

    • Corp Exec. says:

      The text went out at Tigers weeks ago that Mauro is the play maker.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      He has incredible vision and touch, and will drop passes that absolutely make your jaw drop. But he is a 139 years old and he needs to play behind two attackers.

      So, yeah, it is kinda of you. But he does have limitations

    • beachbum says:

      why play him as the target guy? he got hammered all game

  8. rene says:

    It’s not the result we had in mind, but we played better advantage and TIGERS visit, hopefully the Sounders can go more down and use the space to score 1 goal and force them to have to score 3. THIS IS TIGERS

  9. Travis says:

    The second half was inifinitely better than the first for Seattle, I mean they were still outmatched but Johnson was much more active and held the ball up a lot better. Gspurning should have a chat with that defense, I would be furious if I was him seeing as all of them gave up on the goal instead of playing to the whistely. That save popped up in the air, if one of them tries to recover they can at least contest the header. As it was 1-0 is a good result for the Sounders. Rosales really doesn’t fit in this matchup, he needs to see the ball and against Tigres we simply will not see it a lot. Would rather run more speed up top to help out Johnson, thought we looked more dangerous once Martinez went up there.

    • Travis says:

      also Scott has been a great servant to the club but he has been awful in both games so far this year, he needs to go back to being an absolute last resort defender due to injuries.

    • Rob Stone says:

      It’s hard to hold the ball, for anyone, when there are three players on you immediately after you receive it. However, that means that there are open teammates around you somewhere, even if you couldn’t see them onscreen cuz the camera was tight on the ball.

      When you are playing a technically more gifted team, like last night, you get exposed. I was surprised that the defensive shape was so compressed with the mids playing 10 yards from the defenders in a lot of cases.

      Sounders were lucky the GD was only one.

  10. Casey says:

    I think if MLS really wants to be the dominant force in the region, it’s going to need to figure out how to get the season started earlier (or a fall to spring schedule). It’s weird that the group stages and the knock-out stages are held across two different MLS seasons. MLS teams could be fielding entirely different squads, need time to gel, etc.

  11. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    Did you see Torres’ jersey? He has Gringo listed instead of Torres, pretty funny. Nice to see EJ and Torres’ exchange jersey’s at the end of the game.

  12. christoper says:

    I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about how cheap that goal was. They were totally offsides. Typical Mexican cheating. Sounders went into the best MX-Liga team’s house and played them to a draw on their own field except for one completely offsides goal. And lay off Zach Scott he is a great leader on team and there is no question that goal was cheap. Even the scoreboard operator waited almost a minute before putting it up because no one thought it was a clean goal. They were offsides twice the other two players were part of the play whether they received the final volley or not and they were completely offsides