2011 Aug 23

Sounders beat defending CCL champs Monterrey on their soil

Club de Futbol Monterrey  0 - 1  Seattle Sounders FC

Estadio Tecnologico, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico

38' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan, Servando Carrasco)

Monterrey: Jonathan Orozco; Severo Meza (Ricardo Osorio 83'), Darvin Chavez, Hector Morales (Walter Ayovi 62'), Luis Perez; Jesus Corona (Dario Carreño 73'), Jesus Zavala, Neri Cardozo, Hiram Mier; Aldo de Nigris, Humberto Suazo.
Substitutes not used: Juan de Dios Ibarra, Oscar Garcia, Eduardo Guevara, Marcelo Cazaubon.

Seattle: Terry Boss; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Tyson Wahl; Roger Levesque (Amadou Sanyang 84'), Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76'); Pat Noonan, Nate Jaqua (Osvaldo Alonso 65').
Substitutes not used: Josh Ford, Taylor Graham, Erik Friberg, Mike Fucito.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle were the surprise winners away against the defending CONCACAF Champions League champions, Club de Futbol Monterrey. A week previously FC Dallas had become the first MLS team to win a competitive match in Mexico in 25 attempts. Sounders FC followed it up with the second MLS win in Mexico. The Sounders defense made a first-half goal by Alvaro Fernandez stand up. Terry Boss had his best match ever in earning the shutout.

The Sounders used their depth, with defenders Jeff Parke and Zach Scott the only starters who had also started in the previous match at FC Dallas. Monterrey gave the full 90 minutes to their top two offensive threats as they returned from injury, Humberto Suzao and Aldo de Nigris.

The first half hour was slow and well balanced, with each side taking a header shot and a long-distance shot, nothing close to scoring. At 37' Suazo took Monterrey's third shot, bouncing a 3-yard free kick yards wide.

38' SEA: Fernandez (Noonan, Carrasco). The Seattle counterattack was a joy to watch, the ball going from Brad Evans to Pat Noonan at the left touch line, to Nate Jaqua for a drop to Evans, ahead to the center of the circle for Servando Carrasco, who passed accurately to Noonan, who earned the assist. Noonan fed a nice through ball into the penalty area for Fernandez, who split Darvin Chavez and Hector Morales and beat goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco with a shot into the ceiling at the top near corner. 1-0 Seattle.

Monterrey had two corner kicks at the end of the half, the first cleared over the bye line and the second shot right to Boss. Then there was a brief scary period when an obvious offside was correctly flagged by the assistant referee but ignored by center referee Elmar Rodas. Boss had to make a quality save, and the ball stayed in the penalty area giving Monterrey another chance until Jeff Parke slid in to clear it from danger.

Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich got his side fired up at halftime, as they took the match to the Sounders the entire second half. The Sounders bent, but defended well enough to shut out the hosts.

Neri Cardozo was involved in the chances in the first five minutes. First, his shot/cross landed on the roof. His next cross gave de Nigris a chance in front of goal, but Scott pressured and in the end it went easily to Boss. Cardozo tried another shot from the left and missed the top far corner by a yard.

Parke was the next hero, blocking two shots in succession near goal. Then Suazo was served by Cardozo for a header from near the spot and sent it well over the bar. Hiram Mier carried the ball up the middle and worked a give and go with Suazo, then fired a yard wide of the lower near corner.

Boss was the hero when de Nigris was put through on the left for a shot/cross, and Boss dove to swat it away. Tyson Wahl was the next hero, stretching to clear a dangerous cross at the hour mark. Then Roger Levesque, playing as the right midfielder, was defending at the penalty spot to clear a dangerous cross.

Seattle's first shot of the half came when Jaqua tried to bike a cross and hit it over the bar.

The other way, Suazo missed high with a long shot up the middle.

At 66' Boss badly botched a routine backpass when he kept it too long, allowing de Nigris to steal it and drop a pass from the end line to Suazo. Fortunately for Seattle, Suazo missed the goal badly from six yards and was left holding his head in dismay.

De Nigris beat Scott into the penalty area for a close cross, and James Riley took his turn as the hero, putting the cross out for a corner kick that got cleared.

Seattle's best chance in the second half came at 79' when substitute Osvaldo Alonso did well to bust through the middle with the ball, but his final touch was too strong and it went over the end line.

Boss then redeemed himself when he got out to take a dangerous through ball before de Nigris could reach it.

Seattle came back with a shot up the middle by Alonso that deflected off Noonan's leg and curled a foot wide of the post.

At 84' Seattle newcomer Amadou Sanyang saw his first minutes, entering for Levesque. After a few shakey turnovers, Sanyang settled down.

At 85' Cardozo got open at the 18 for a shot down low, and Boss got down to save it. Substitute Walter Ayovi's 25-yard free kick was hard on goal, but well caught overhead by Boss. Three minutes into added time a 22-yard Monterrey free kick was stopped by the wall. A minute later the final chance was a de Nigris header from a Suazo cross after a Monterrey free kick, and the shot went way over the bar.

The win puts the Sounders at the top of their group with two wins in as many matches. Their first ever win in Mexico came just days after their first ever win in Texas, both in 100 degree F heat.

In other action, or non-action, in the group, heavy rain postponed Comunicaciones - Herediano a day, only the third time a CCL match has been postponed due to weather.

          MON   SEA
Shots:     17     7
Saves:      1     6
Corners:    7     1
Fouls:      8    12
Offsides:   2     5

47' SEA: Jaqua cautioned for a late trip

Referees: Elmar Rodas (Guatemala); Cesar Ruano, Marco Diaz; Oscar Reyna

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach

General comments: "We think Monterrey is the best team in Mexico, even though they are not in first place right now. For us, we have played a lot of difficult games in a lot of warm weather in the last two weeks so for us it was difficult. We played a little more defensive than we normally play. Our defending was good because they are a dangerous team."

On Sounders FC defense: "It was very important for us today. Last time we played here Suazo destroyed us. We wanted to make sure we didn't give him too much space...We were happy with that defensively and we wanted to try some counterattacks. I thought we had a couple counterattacks, scored a goal on one."

On difference from last year: "The last time we were here we scored two goals but we needed three. It was important for us to play to zero tonight because we felt it would give us a better chance. I think the difference for us was that we have grown up a little bit as a team. We are more mature now. With the experience we had last year we know what to expect and we didn't make silly mistakes because we have grown up a little bit."

On what win means to Sounders FC: "It means an awful lot for us because last year after two games we had zero points. This year after two games we have six points. To come into Monterrey and win gives our team confidence as we go into games in the future. Obviously we left some very important players on our team at home because of the amount of games that we play. So to win with the team we had we are very, very pleased."

On being in first place of Group D: "Being in first place obviously will be a challenge for us as well. That's the next challenge as we grow as a team, being able to play as a favorite. Sometimes it's easier to play when you're not favored to win. But you also have to play well when you are the favorite team. That's what we have to learn next."

On Sounders FC goals for CCL: "Our goal going into the tournament this year was that we wanted to get into the next stage. We wanted to finish either first or second in the group and right now with six points we are much closer to our goals than we were last year at any point. We felt last year was a learning experience and we didn't show our best and we wanted to make up for that."

Brad Evans

On the win: "It's tremendous. It's a great win for us. It's one that will go in the history for our club. We are now the second team to win in Mexico so for us it's special. Our locker room is happy. That will be the best team we play all year, easily. Heads above everybody else we play so I'm just happy."

On the character of Sounders FC: "Bottom line that's what championship teams are made of. You win when it's tough. You win when it's easy. You win when you're not supposed to. It's momentum. It's the confidence we have in each other no matter who steps on the field. We said it last week when we played in Dallas. We had different guys on the field and now we have a different lineup and we get out with a win. Top to bottom just a great feeling."

On Monterrey: "Their spirits were never broken. They want to win no matter what. They don't want to disappoint these fans, that's the first and foremost thing. Maybe it opened up a little bit but we were so gassed we didn't get any chances to capitalize other than maybe one or two. For us if we can win in these situations that's great."

Pat Noonan

On the goal: "I believe it was Tyson who played me a ball kind of towards midfield. I was able to turn and found Nate checking in who did a good job of laying the ball off - it was great build-up - laid it off to Brad. He crossed to Servando and kind of played it through to me. I think Flaco made a good behind run and I was able to spot him between two defenders. His first touch was great. That enabled him to get that shot off and he finished it very well.

"I had a lot of time and space and up to that point we weren't getting a lot of time and space. It was a very good build-up for us. I just kind of saw Flaco making a through run and I thought maybe if I can squeeze this through we get a chance on goal. We hadn't had many chances on goal and it worked out for us. He finished it very well and it put us in a position to win the game, which we did."

Servando Carrasco

On the game: "It was a great experience. I think we stuck to our tactic very well. There were moments in the game where we absorbed pressure. We knew that was going to happen but we caught them in the break on the first half on a counterattack. Great play by Pat Noonan and a fantastic goal by Flaco."

On the goal: "It was either going to be [counterattack] or set pieces. We talked about it during the game and before the game and luckily we got a goal on the break."

On team defense: "I think as a team we had a great shape. Half of the battle is mental. The weather was very hot and they can run for days but I think we kept a good shape and that's what got us the victory."

Alvaro Fernandez

On importance of victory: "Last year we were very close to achieving the win but we couldn't make it. This year that we did it is very important for us and it's also very good for MLS and great for the team."

On the defense: "They were very good in all the lines, very solid. The defense had a very good game."