The Sounders FC has been down this road before.
They have seen matches where they out-possessed and outshot their opponents, but couldn’t find the back of the net or a positive result.
Wednesday night at Qwest Field, that was the case as they fell 2-0 to CF Monterrey in the second round of the group stage. Seattle outshot Monterrey 17-7, putting six shots on target, but Monterrey scored on two of their three chances and walked out with three points to maintain their perfect record in the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League.
“I don’t think we played that poorly. In the final third, they were a little more clinical than we were. They finished their chances well,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Overall, in terms of moving the ball up the field I think we did a good job. Certainly, we don’t have to hide from playing them.”
Seattle didn’t register a shot on goal, but did have their share of scoring chances in the first half. Osvaldo Alonso and Blaise Nkufo had shots from outside the box. Jeff Parke headed a corner kick. Leo Gonzalez blasted a shot from 30 yards out. All missed over the crossbar though and Monterrey took a 1-0 lead into the half on a goal that bounced off a deflection to Neri Cardozo, who cleverly headed the ball over an oncoming Kasey Keller in the 41st minute.
“It was a bit unfortunate because the deflection fell to a guy who was wide open,” Keller said. “I thought I could beat him to the ball and it was a great finish.”
Seattle struck first as the second half got under way. Nate Jaqua, who subbed on at the half, slid a ball to Sanna Nyassi racing up the right side of the box. Nyassi outsprinted his defender, but his attempt to sneak the ball to the near post past Jonathan Orozco caromed off the upright and was cleared by the defense.
Outside of a late goal by Jaqua that was controversially flagged offside by the assistant referee, that 47th minute chance was Seattle’s best opportunity to get on the scoreboard in a match they certainly got the better of for most of the 90 minutes.
Monterrey capitalized on Seattle’s missed opportunity and extended their lead in the 58th minute. Cardozo lobbed the ball over the Seattle defense, who was trying to trap Aldo de Negris offside. However, de Negris beat the offside trap and knocked a hard shot to the near post for a 2-0 lead.
“I thought we made a mistake by trying to trap. We should have stayed with him,” Schmid said. “We were a step behind on the first one and stepped up to trap when we shouldn’t have on the second one.”
According to Keller, de Nigris told him that he meant to hit it to Keller’s other side, but mis-hit the ball.
“When it’s one of those days, it’s one of those days,” Keller said. “What are you going to do?”
Over the final 30 minutes, Seattle managed six shots on goal, but Orozco was up to the task and turned away each of them to earn the shutout.
Jaqua headed a corner kick on target and Fredy Montero followed with the rebound in the 61st minutes. Jaqua shot from 28 yards out and Orozco read a deflection well in the 63rd minute. Alvaro Fernandez saw a similar fate on a ball from the left side in the 69th minute. Montero looked to catch Orozco off guard in the 76th minute, but the keeper dived to his left to punch away Montero’s shot from distance.
As the minutes wound down, the chances increased.
Roger Levesque headed a cross in the 83rd minute. Mike Seamon blasted a shot from 16 yards. Orozco stopped both.
Then in the 90th minute Jaqua appeared to score, knocking in a rebound of Montero’s shot off of a free kick from the left side. The free kick was deflected to Montero, who put the initial effort on target, but his shot was knocked down by Orozco, leaving the rebound for Jaqua to touch into the net. Jaqua and Montero turned to celebrate and a moment later, the referee’s assistant raised his flag, apparently signaling Montero offside.
“The ref saw that I was offside. I saw that the player from the other team actually had touched it with his head, but the ref saw what he saw,” Montero said.
In the end, the Sounders were left with a 2-0 defeat after a 2-1 road loss to CD Marathon one week earlier.
“You’re looking at two Champions League games where we easily could be walking away with six points, or at least four, as opposed to no points,” Keller said. “That’s the best team in our group and they’re going away on their plane thinking they got pretty lucky. Marathon thought the same thing. But we’re going to be better, our players are going to be better in the long term because of these games and this competition. Now we just hope we can get that luck that we’ve created for ourselves.”
Seattle’s next Champions League match comes September 14 in San Jose, Costa Rica, against Saprissa. However, they have three MLS matches and the US Open Cup semifinal in between. The MLS schedule resumes Saturday when the Sounders host the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field. Seattle will also host Chivas USA in the Open Cup next Wednesday at Starfire.
Sounders FC - None.
Monterrey - Neri Cardozo (Jesus Zavala) 41; Aldo de Nigris (Neri Cardozo) 58.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis (Mike Seamon 67), Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 73), Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 46).
Monterrey - Jonathan Orozco, Sergio Perez, Jose Maria Basanta, Hiriam Mier, Miguel Morales, Ricardo Osorio, Neri Cardozo (Sergio Santana 70), Jesus Zavala, Osvaldo Martinez (Luis Perez 81), Dario Carreno, Aldo de Nigris (Humberto Suazo 75).