MONTERREY, Mexico - Through 47 matches played by US Major League Soccer teams in Mexico in CONCACAF Champions League and Superliga play, they had never won a match.
Through 70 minutes on Wednesday night, the Sounders FC looked like they would break that trend in Monterrey, Mexico.
Seattle were the beneficiaries of an own-goal and Mike Fucito added another just before halftime and the Sounders held a 2-0 lead well into the second half. History was in their grasp if they could hold on for the games final 20 minutes.
However, Monterrey subbed on Humberto Suazo and rattled off three goals in rapid succession to put an end to those thoughts and the Sounders left Estadio Tecnologico with a 3-2 defeat in front of a hostile crowd of 19,617.
“We are disappointed that we had a 2-0 and then we lost the plot there. When Suazo came on they took it from second gear to fourth gear,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We had a bad ten minutes today, but certainly we are still a young team in the second year of existence as a franchise. We learn every time we play together.”
Seattle went on the attack from the opening kick, putting pressure on the Monterrey defense with their speed up the wings and the holdup play of Nate Jaqua and Fucito.
In the 27th minute it paid off as Fucito collected the ball at the top of the box with a man on his back. He turned on his man and his shot defelected off of Hiram Ricardo Mier and past Jonathan Orozco for an own goal to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead.
“When you shoot, things happen,” Schmid said. “It was a good ball from Jaqua and we had to build on that.”
Monterrey looked to rebound in the 39th minute, but Terry Boss pawed away a header attempt by William Paredes for one of his five saves on the night.
Before halftime, Seattle would extend their lead with Fucito’s second goal in a Sounders FC uniform. In the 45th minute, Alvaro Fernandez and Jaqua connected on a ball, then Jaqua found Fucito on a run up the right side. He got into the box, then blasted a right-footed shot past Orozco for the 2-0 lead going into halftime.
“It felt good to finally get an opportunity coming off of my knee injury,” said Fucito, who was in his first start in a competitive match with the Sounders FC. “Nate and I talked before the game. He’s a big guy and he’s going to win stuff, so it was my job to run off him. It was a great combination. Nate played me a great ball through and I was able to beat the goalie there and poke it by him.”
Suazo subbed on in the 61st minute and within minutes had the game going Monterrey’s way.
In the 74th minute, he took a shot from close range, but Sounders FC goalkeeper Terry Boss blocked it for the save. However the rebound fell to Aldo de Nigris who headed it in to narrow Seattle’s lead to 2-1.
On the ensuing kickoff, Seattle lost possession and the ball slipped to Suazo on the right side where he rocketed a shot inside the far post to tie the game in the 75th minute.
Two minutes later, Mike Seamon attempted a pass back to his defense behind him, but the ball got free and Suazo chased it down into the box. Boss slid out to grab it, but made just enough contact to give Monterrey a penalty.
Luis Perez connected on the PK and turned a 2-0 Seattle lead into a 3-2 deficit.
“They did a good job of finding the pockets between the defense and the midfield. That is where (Suazo) he found a lot of space and created their chances,” defender Zach Scott said.
Monterrey held on for the final 13 minutes to finish the match and keep their unbeaten record in the group stage intact at 4-0-0. Seattle dropped to 0-4-0 with only an outside shot of still advancing out of the group.
The Sounders FC will host Marathon next Wednesday in their next Champions League match before the final group stage match against Saprissa next month.
First they return to MLS play to face the Chicago Fire Saturday night at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Kickoff is at 5 pm Pacific Time on KONG 6/16.
Sounders FC - Own goal (Hiram Ricardo Mier) 27; Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua, Alvaro Fernandez) 44.
Monterrey - Aldo de Nigris 74; Humberto Suazo 75; Luis Perez (PK) 77.
Sounders FC - Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Alvaro Fernandez, Michael Seamon (Nathan Sturgis 84), Miguel Montano (Sanna Nyassi 66), Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero 73), Mike Fucito.
Monterrey - Jonathan Orozco, Severo Meza, Julio Cesar Davino (Luis Perez 53); Hector Miguel Morales, Aldo de Nigris, Abraham Carreno, Walter Ayovi, William Paredes (Humberto Suazo 61), Hiram Ricardo Mier, Sergio Perez (Neri Cardozo 45), Jose Arellano.