2013 Mar 7

Sounders down a goal after away leg of CCL quarterfinal

Tigres UANL  1 - 0  Seattle Sounders FC

Estadio Universitario, Monterrey, Mexico

74' TIG: Alan Pulido

Tigres: Enrique Palos; Israel Jiminez, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres; Alberto Acosta (Danilo Veron 76'), Jose Torres, Lucas Lobos, Carlos Salcido; Elias Hernandez (Alan Pulido 66'), Luis Garcia.
Substitutes not used: Aaron Fernandez, Manuel Viniegra, Jose Rivas, Jesus Duenas, Damian Alvarez.

Seattle: Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott (DeAndre Yedlin 81'), Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mario Martinez (Marc Burch 89'); Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 68'), Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Sammy Ochoa.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC opened the knockout rounds of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League on the road at Tigres UANL in Monterrey, Mexico. Seattle fell behind in the quarterfinal series by a lone goal. Tigres substitute Alan Pulido put away a rebound to send his side to Seattle with the advantage.

The brightest spot for Seattle was the solid play of veteran center back Djimi Traore in his debut for the Sounders.

The Sounders were very lucky to get to the fourth minute without being down a goal. Tigres captain Lucas Lobos was served all alone at the back door and used a feint to get around collapsing goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. Lobos was still all alone, five feet from the goal line, as he looked at Leo Gonzalalez and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado trying to stretch themselves along the goal line. Lobos tried to put a shot between the two defenders and Gonzalez made the foot save.

For Seattle, Mario Martinez soon got close for two good crossing opportunities but failed to hit a target.

At 8' Carlos Salcido shot up the middle off a Sounders defender and the deflection bounced right to Gspurning. Alberto Acosta served a nice cross to Luis Garcia, open for a turn and shot from 8 yards, and Gspurning tipped it over the bar. Salcido had an open shot from the left end of the arc and fired it yards too high.

At 23' Seattle had a good chance with a 30-yard free kick up the middle and Martinez' service over the wall was just a bit too high for Eddie Johnson's leap.

A questionable foul call gave Tigres a free kick near the top corner of the penalty area. Lobos found Juninho near the spot and his shot was deflected in front of goal, where Garcia wasted the golden chance wide of the far post.

Near the one-hour mark Seattle's Johnson got by the last defender for the visitors' best chance yet, but hit the shot too weakly to beat goalkeeper Enrique Palos.

Tigres were getting a chance about every five minutes in the second half, and came close with a header from a corner kick that was headed clear nicely by the man at the near post, Alex Caskey.

74' TIG: Pulido. The lone goal was too easy, as all of Seattle's defenders stood flat-footed and watched Pulido easily head in a rebound after Gspurning collapsed to make the save on Lobos' initial shot from close in. The play started with Pulido in an offside position, but uninvolved initially as Lobos broke to the through ball after being held onside by Zach Scott. Since Lobos was closer to goal when he shot, Pulido was onside and wide open to calmly head in the popped-up rebound. Seattle's defenders all apparently were expecting an offside flag, but the video replay showed that the goal was a fair one. 1-0 Tigres.

Seattle had a couple of chances to tie it up late. From a throw-in play, Martinez battled several defenders on a run up the left side and crossed to Lamar Neagle, who was on the near-post run. Neagle redirected the ball on goal and Palos got down to make the save. In added time Johnson made a similar run up the left side but had nobody to cross to and tried a difficult shot, missing the top far corner by a yard.

The series will conclude on March 12 in Seattle.

          TIG   SEA
Shots:     18     3
Saves:      2     4
Corners:    7     1
Fouls:      6    13
Offside:    5     2


Referees: Jeffrey Solis (Costa Rica); Osvaldo Luna, Javier Rojas Sanchez; Ricardo Cerdas.

Attendance: 35,000

Post-Match Quotes

Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On the result: "We're happy that we're in a position that we can win this thing in Seattle. Obviously our history and the last two years with two games series in the league, we go down three-nothing. I thought it was important ... that once we took that goal we maintained our defensive integrity and made sure that we didn't take another goal. That was a mistake that we made in the past games. I feel good about where we are. We're still at the beginning of our season, so I don't think it was our best soccer. I think our best soccer is ahead of us, and being at home in front of our fans with a good chance to advance in this tournament is where we wanted to be."

On the play of the defense: "I thought we did alright defensively. We dodged a few bullets. I think they had three really good chances in the first half - the one ... very early and there were a couple more that came. Obvious we got fortunate in there because they missed some chances they might normally score, but that's part of the game, too. We had a couple of counters that I thought we could have done a little better with. Overall as a whole I thought the defense stayed organized and stayed disciplined which was important tonight."

On Tigres UANL: "This is a team that's only taken three goals all year. They've outscored almost everybody they've played. They haven't lost a game yet, they're 6-0-3. For us to play a team like that, where they're in a good rhythm, and for us to play them as early as we have in our season - still missing some players like Steve Zakuani tonght, Shalrie is still not there, we still don't have the situation resolved with our DP's. There's certain guys that we're missing. The fitness of guys is still coming along. To come in here in a very difficult environment with a great atmosphere and a very supportive Tigres crowd, to have the character to be able to do what we did tonight was very important."

On the atmosphere: "The crowd was fantastic. They're very supportive of their team - which they should be because they have a very, very good team here. It was just another element that we had to play against. You heard it right away the first time we touched the ball - loud boo. That's something guys have to get used to. It was good from Djimi Traore playing his first game out there. DeAndre Yedlin gets on the field with some good minutes for us. We had to shift Mario Martinez around to some different positions and he's got a little bit of a knock on his knee - we weren't sure how many minutes we were going to get out of him tonight. Considering all that I thought it was good."

On Djimi Traore making his Sounders FC debut: "I thought Djimi did well. I think he helped us in securing our defense, organized us well, cleared the ball when he needed to. He had good calm and composure back there and that helped us."

On what needs to happen in the second leg: "We need to play better soccer. We need to do a better job possessing the ball. We need to create attacking movements of our own. We need to play with that confidence. We need to put more pressure on their midfield so that we can win the ball back a little bit sooner. Early in the game we turned the ball over at times when we shouldn't have turned it over, so we need to make sure we avoid those."

Osvaldo Alonso

On the game: "We're disappointed that we lost, but one-zero is not bad. We have a chance to play in Seattle and win this thing. It's going to be a tough game, but we have a good chance to win it."

On the one-goal deficit: "We lost by one here, it's much better than three-zero. We come back home to play more confident now because it's one-zero. It's always tough to play down, but we have confidence to play in Seattle in front of our fans and we have the opportunity to beat this team."

On the style of play: "They're a team that likes to possess the ball. They create. We tried to hold the line back and play good defense to and tried to go forward when we got the ball. It was tough playing here in Mexico. They have a good team. Like you said before, we have more time. We play at home next week, so we hopefully win the series."

On making his 2012 debut: "I feel good. My body is okay. I walked away without injury, which is always good. I played 90 minutes and feel great, so I hope in the next game I'll give 100% again."

On what the team needs to do to advance: "We have to play like the last game against the Galaxy. From the first minute to the last minute we have to have high energy in this game."

Djimi Traore

On the result: "Away from home, to lose one-nil, we're still in the competition. I think we had a good game, we defended well. Now we need to think about the second leg and try to do everything to win that leg and go through."

On making his Sounders FC debut: "It's not easy because of course they're used to playing all together, but I try to find my place in that team and I try to work hard in every session in training treat my teammates well. I think in a few games I will be much better at understanding everybody and everybody will understand me."

On Tigres' chances early: "We knew it was a great team because they have played very well. We were aware ... We know that they're going to push forward at the beginning of the game, so we tried to stick together and to defend. Yes, we got a bit lucky in the first half. Apart from that I thought we defended very well and we did a great job."

On what the team needs to do in the second leg: "We know now that we play at home in front of our fans for the second time of the season. We lost the first game, so now of course we need to win this game and with the fans behind us and all the stadium, I think we'll have a great result. The most important thing is to keep a clean sheet at home and of course score a goal ... We need to be sure to defend very well and to do a good job."