2010 Aug 3

Sounders FC advance in CCL 2-1 on aggregate on Alvaro Fernandez' first goal

Isidro Metapan  1 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Estadio Cuscatlán, San Salvador, El Salvador

18' MET: Anel Canales (Rodolfo Suarez)
74' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (James Riley)

Metapan: Jose Gonzalez; Oscar Jimenez (Andres Flores 86'), Erick Prado, Ernesto Aquino, Jose Alvarado (Cesar Larios 78'); Hector Mejia, Emerson Umana (Mark Lester Blanco 72'), Rodolfo Suarez; Anel Canales, Josue Flores, Milton Molina. Substitutes not used: Misael Alfaro, Moises Menendez, Jorge Luis Moran, Carlos Carrillo.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Patrick Ianni, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Nate Jaqua 64'), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Sanna Nyassi (Alvaro Fernandez 64'); Roger Levesque (Michael Seamon 84'), Fredy Montero. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC played Isidro Metapan to a 1-1 draw in San Salvador, El Salvador, in the second leg of a CONCACAF Preliminary Round series. Added to a Sounders 1-0 win in the first leg, the Sounders advance to the group stage on aggregate goals 2-1.

Metapan evened up the series early with a goal by Anel Canales. Persistent pressure by the Sounders finally produced the series winner from substitute Alvaro Fernandez, who was playing in his second match for the Sounders.

The match was played in a heavy rain that turned the pitch muddy. By the end of the match, some jersey numbers were unreadable.

Metapan looked best out of the starting gate. They had the first free kick in the second minute, forced the first save a minute later, and had the first corner kick at 6'. Two minutes later Canales turned around Tyrone Marshall in the penalty area and shot low, but right to Kasey Keller in goal.

A quarter hour in Sanna Nyassi took Seattle's first shot but sent it 6 yards wide. Montero soon had a ball near goal, but the Metapan defense prevented him from getting a shot or good cross. Leo Gonzalez got to a through ball near goal, but goalkeeper Jose Gonzalez was there to block the attempted cross wide. Ending three good minutes for Seattle, Montero shot wide from distance.

18' MET: Canales (Suarez). On a Metapan attack, Rodolfo Suarez beat Marshall to cross from the bye line. The cross was chipped over Patrick Ianni to Canales, in a triangle between Sounders defenders, and Canales beat Keller with a header inside the far post. 1-0 Metapan, and the match was dead even on aggregate.

Nobody had a good chance for the next 20 minutes, then Montero skied a 40-yard free kick. He did better from Osvaldo's long diagonal cross, heading a bouncer on goal from 15 yards that was saved high by J Gonzalez.

To end the half, Canales skied a 40-yard Metapan free kick.

Seattle earned their first corner kick early in the second half, and it was headed wide by a defender.

At 53' a long, hard shot by Alonso was saved by J Gonzalez, but he gave up a rebound that Roger Levesque sent into the net. However, Levesque was flagged offside and the replay showed the assistant referee's decision to be correct. A minute later Nyassi's cross gave Montero a header from the spot, but it went right to J Gonzalez' feet where it was caught.

On the hour mark Suarez skied a 20-yard shot, Metapan's first shot of the half.

Montero biked a shot well over the bar, then at 64' Fernandez and Nate Jaqua came on for wingers Nyassi and Steve Zakuani. On Jaqua's first touch he headed a corner kick down to force a low save.

At 68' Seattle earned a 30-yard free kick, the closest of the match for either side, but Montero skied it again. Levesque earned a falling shot from the 18, but it rolled to J Gonzalez slowly.

At 72' Metapan substitute Mark Lester Blanco shot from wide left for an easy Keller save.

74' SEA: Fernandez (Riley). Seattle attacked strongly, and after the first approach was turned back Riley curled a cross to Fernandez 15 yards from goal. Fernandez was closely marked but managed to snap a fine header inside the near post. J Gonzalez got a touch on it but could only deflect it into the inside of the side netting. 1-1, and with the Sounders away goal Metapan would need to win by two to advance.

The Sounders survived some tense moments around 80' when Honduran referee Jose Pineda seemed to be viewing the match through Central American glasses. Mike Seamon came on for Levesque, who had been shown the yellow card.

The Sounders defense closed the match out well, yielding a chance only when Suarez won a cross that sailed a half yard over Canales' head.

For Seattle, Montero busted in during added time to fire a high shot on goal at the near post, and J Gonzalez blocked it wide.

In the group stage of the tournament, Seattle will play two matches each against Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and almost certainly Marathon (Honduras). Marathon had a 3-0 road win over Tauro (Panama) in their first leg.

          MET  SEA
Shots:     12    7
Saves:      4    7
Corners:    3    6
Fouls:     17   11
Offsides:   3    0

23' SEA: Nyassi cautioned for tripping Umana
27' MET: Aquino cautioned for chopping Montero down from behind
75' SEA: Levesque cautioned for a late foul on Suarez
81' SEA: Riley cautioned for wasting time before a Metapan corner kick
90' MET: Blanco cautioned for pulling Fernandez' jersey

Referees: Jose Pineda (Honduras); Rafael Beltran, Oscar Velasquez; Marlon Mejia


Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On Alvaro Fernandez: "He didn't score his first game, so he needed to score this game. But no, it's not just the goal. It's how he's fit in with the team. How he's part of the group already and how comfortable the group feels with him."

On the difference from the first leg: "For us a different game, and for sure when Metapan scored early that put us back on our heels a little. But after that I thought we kept possession better and I knew we'd get a chance to score. The field was heavy. It demanded a lot from our condition, but I was very happy with our team physically."

On Metapan: "The most difficult part tonight was certainly the first 20 minutes of the game, because they did a good job of keeping possession. They ended up scoring the goal. They're technically a good team. They spread the field very well. They play, more or less, a 3-5-2, which is different than a lot of teams play in the states, so it's a different system. They're a well-coached team. They're very disciplined in their style of play and they're a difficult team to beat."

On the second half: "It's all about the character of our team. I think our character is good. The team works hard for each other. If we make mistakes, we fight and try to get the ball back again. Our character right now is exemplified by Fredy Montero because of the effort he is putting in game after game. He is leading the way for us, but everyone is stepping up to the opportunities that get presented and nobody is letting anybody down."

On substitutions: "I thought our team played better in the second half than we did in the first. I thought it took us 20 minutes to get into the game. I was more concerned with our changes. When we brought on Alvaro, when we brought on Jaqua, I think that helped change the game for us because we were able to keep possession better and we had a physical presence up front."

Kasey Keller

On the win: "One of the most important things about it, irrespective of going and making sure we have six more games in this competition, is that we never should have lost to that team over two legs. I think what that shows is that we are finding ways to get results now, where maybe 10-12 games ago we were finding ways to lose games or draw games. Now we are finding ways to get the results we need. A great team spirit. We make a mistake, we give up a goal and we don't panic. We have decent chances and then Alvaro is able to come off the bench and score a great goal for us. Then we were pretty comfortable after that, I think. I'm very happy with the way team responded. Obviously we are disappointed with the way we played in the first half, but let's be honest, not the best conditions to play a game under. We have got a young team and these experiences we need to learn from. Hopefully we learned a bit today because if we played like that in Monterrey or in somewhere we could take a big number. So what we need to do is learn from that and figure out that we can be better."

On the goal allowed: "I think we fell asleep a little bit. We let them play the ball quickly and then the ball got chipped in, we got pulled out of the middle. The one guy who basically is going to head the ball in for them we didn't mark. We are disappointed. We will have to obviously look at it on tape and dissect it and try to learn from it and make sure that it doesn't happen again. But those kinds of things do happen and I'm just proud of the response and the panic stations didn't happen. Everybody settled down there after about 20 minutes and we started to play decent. And then the introduction of Nate and Alvaro made a big difference and we got the goal. And I didn't have a lot to do in the end and I was happy about that."

Fredy Montero

(On playing with Alvaro Fernandez: "I enjoy playing with him. It gives me more opportunities to score and he is the perfect guy to have on the team."