2010 Aug 19

Sounders FC score first but lose at CD Marathon to open CCL group round

CD Marathon  2 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras

17' SEA: Roger Levesque (Blaise Nkufo, Fredy Montero)

27' MAR: Orvin Paz (Randy Diamond)
45' MAR: Nicolas Cardozo (PK)

Marathon: Shane Orio; Carlos Yovani Palacios, Adolfo Machado, Erick Norales, Astor Henríquez; Mario Berríos, Hector Amarilla (Rony Flores 46'), Orvin Paz, Milton Palacios (Luis Santamaría 77'); Randy Diamond (Carlos Will Mejía 69'), Nicolas Cardozo. Substitutes Not Used: Orlin Vallecillo, Nahun Avila, Fernando Castillo, Mario Cesar Rodriguez.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, James Riley; Roger Levesque (David Estrada 87'), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Alvaro Fernandez (Mike Seamon 69'); Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 63'). Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC opened the CONCACAF Champions League group stage by scoring early, but then gave up two goals to fall 2-1 at CD Marathon in Honduras. Roger Levesque opened the scoring, but Orvin Paz soon equalized. A penalty kick by Nicolas Cardozo just before the break was the match winner.

Seattle weathered the Marathon storm for the first quarter hour. A free kick play gave the hosts a header in close in the second minute and it went right to goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Milton Palacios was dangerous on the right wing. He ran by Levesque to turn the corner and cross into the goal area and it took a great sliding block by Tyrone Marshall to clear the ball from in front of goal.

On a Seattle attack in the 12th minute Alvaro Fernandez was carelessly kicked in the knee in the corner of the penalty area and a penalty kick could have been awarded but wasn't.

Two minutes later Milton Pelacios took a corner kick, got the ball back, and shot just an inch over the top far corner. After Astor Henriquez and Fredy Montero traded long shots that missed, Seattle suddenly scored against the run of play.

17' SEA: Levesque (Nkufo, Montero). Fernandez tried a ball up the right side for Montero, but central defender Adolfo Machado easily got there first. However, with Montero pressuring his back Machado lost the ball at the end line. Montero quickly dropped a diagonal pass to the spot, where the marked Blaise Nkufo raked it with his cleats to an open Levesque. From 15 yards Levesque shot around the defender who was marking Nkufo and under the collapsing goalkeeper Shane Orio. 1-0 Seattle.

Four minutes later for the Sounders, Nathan Sturgis was served as he got around the corner on the left and in close, but he wasted the opportunity by shooting low into Orio at the near post.

For Marathon, the speedy Palacios again turned the corner and again sent a dangerous cross into the goal area. This time it went through and Jeff Parke did well with a sliding block of the resultant shot.

27' MAR: Paz (Diamond). A good couple of minutes of pressure by Marathon were rewarded when Mario Berríos found Randy Diamond open to enter the penalty area. Diamond sent a square pass to the middle for Paz. Osvaldo Alonso missed the tackle, and Paz slotted a shot inside the left post past Marshall and the diving Keller. 1-1.

Seattle soon regained the momentum with a good chance from 20 yards that was shot with inadequate velocity, then a few minutes later Alonso hammered a dropped pass just wide of goal. A ball sent into the penalty area fell loose for Levesque's quick shot, but Orio was there for the block save. Finally, a Nkufo free kick from 25 yards missed by a couple.

At 40' Marathon suddenly came close to a goal when Berríos' long cross was headed in an arc onto the bar by Cardozo. Keller got a hand on it and the rebound took a high bounce in the goal area in front of Hector Amarilla, who had to wait too long for it to come back down as Leo Gonzalez got there to clear it.

45' MAR: Cardozo (PK). A ball sent to Seattle's end seemed like it would be easily dealt with by Marshall, but he wasn't quick enough to the ball, which may have taken a bad bounce. Diamond was able to get around Marshall to poke a leg in and get a touch on the ball, which went to Keller. Marshall didn't see Diamond's leg poke in and when he tried to clear the ball he instead got Diamond in the back of the calf. Referee Juan Carlos Guerra was generous in awarding a penalty kick to Marathon, and he gave Marshall a yellow card. Cardozo hit the penalty kick hard up the middle and under the bar. 2-1 Marathon.

Seattle had plenty of good chances in the second half as Marathon concentrated on defending their lead. Fernandez won a corner kick and then head-flicked it wide. Montero's 25-yard free kick was bent nicely to the near post but Orio was expecting it and made the save. A long cross to the spot gave Levesque a good chance with a header but he sent it in the middle to Orio's feet where it was caught. Substitute Nate Jaqua's header in close from Montero's cross deflected off a defender and the leftovers were cleaned up by Orio. Nathan Sturgis took a 25-yard free kick and just missed the top near corner. At 78' substitute Mike Seamon headed Sturgis' corner kick onto the bar and it stayed in play. At 80' Jaqua was served at the corner of the goal area and he turned nicely for an open shot but sent it over the bar when the top shelf was open.

The Sounders got still more chances in the final few minutes. At 89' a defensive turnover right in front of goal gave Montero a quick chance but he missed the goal by a few inches. Alonso had a chance in added time to volley a shot from 15 but he sent it over the bar.

The loss was Seattle's first after a string of nine lossless competitive matches. Seattle's next match will be at home on Aug 25, hosting Mexico's Monterrey in another CCL contest.

          MAR  SEA
Shots:     15   21
Saves:      6    4
Corners:    6    5
Fouls:     16   17
Offsides:   5    2

44' SEA: Marshall cautioned for kicking Diamond in back of calf
50' MAR: Berrios cautioned for elbowing Alonso
63' SEA: Gonzalez cautioned for a tactical foul

Referees: Juan Carlos Guerra (Guatemala); Hermenerito Leal, Ariel Mendez; Jose Molina


Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Head Coach Sigi Schmid

Opening Statement: "We gave up two goals. The penalty I thought was a harsh call but it is what it is. In the second half I thought we pretty much had control of the game, dominated more of it, had four or five good chances in the second half. But obviously didn't score, hit the post a couple of times. So we are disappointed that we didn't come out with a point."

On the goal: "Nkufo got a touch on the ball that Montero knocked across. It was a great goal. Roger had another chance to score and change the course of the game. We need to do a better job when we are up by one."

On moving forward from this match: "We will take a look at what we did well and what we didn't do well. Their side obviously did their job."

On the team's effort: "I think our effort in the game, we didn't do well in the outset with [Milton] Palacios on the one side and Diamond on the other side. I think we were disjointed offensively. The last 20 minutes, 25 minutes of the game I thought we had very good energy. In the beginning of the game we didn't have good energy and we didn't see an awful lot of the ball. If you want to see the ball a lot you need to play hard. We need to be better next time."

On team playing better from behind: "In the first half, even when we got the goal in the first 20 minutes, we weren't doing well. We weren't focused. But I thought in the second half we made some good adjustments and I thought were able to sustain some pressure. The surface slowed the ball down a little bit for us. Our forwards dropped off a little too much. That was definitely an issue for us."

Kasey Keller

On the game: "We score goals and we are fine. When we don't, people beat us. It's frustrating. You figure, three points is three points. You get three at home, you get a couple draws. It's just disappointing. We thought we had changed it already but our energy in the first 20 minutes was a bit more selective. We have got to get more pressure on them. We all learn from experiences. It's a long trip. It's hot, humid, we are on a very slow pitch and we just couldn't figure it out. We have got five more games left in this competition and there's nothing to fear playing these teams. We can line up with these teams quite comfortably."

On the penalty: "The ball came over the top and it took a bad bounce. I didn't expect it to bounce that way. I called for Tyrone to head it to me but it didn't get there. I don't know how it was a penalty. I haven't seen the tape but it didn't look like a penalty to me. It looked like two guys swing and kick each others' legs and next thing you know the ball is in my hands and he is signaling a foul. I don't know what he saw. It may have been good play by the striker but I don't know. That was frustrating...But we had multiple chances at the end of the game to get something out of this. Once again, usually you would put in nine of 10 of them but it was just one of those days when it just wasn't going to happen. And that was probably the most frustrating. We know we were better and we should have done better."

Roger Levesque

On his goal: "Montero came down the right side and got the ball across. Blaise dropped the ball off ... and I was able to get the ball in to the back post."