One year ago today, Sounders FC made history.
A determined Seattle squad traveled to the edge of Mexico’s Sierra Madre and earned an unexpected 1-nil victory over reigning CONCACAF Champions League winners CF Monterrey, becoming just the second U.S. club to win a competitive match on Mexican soil. Major League Soccer teams had previously gone 1-21-3 with FC Dallas earning the first victory just six days earlier in Mexico City against UNAM Pumas,1-0.
Following the victory at Estadio Tecnological, midfielder Brad Evans, who played the full 90 minutes, referred to the win as “one that will go in the history for our club.”
And winning the match without regulars like Kasey Keller, Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales made the win even more impressive.
“You win when it's tough. You win when it's easy. You win when you're not supposed to,” noted Evans.
Just seven minutes from the halftime whistle, Alvaro Fernandez blasted a shot to the upper corner to put the visitors up, 1-0. The scoring sequence began when Servando Carrasco, playing in his first competitive match in his native Mexico since his youth, played a ball to Pat Noonan who slipped it to Fernandez in the box. Fernandez took one touch and finished to the upper-90.
“The build-up was good. It was one and two touch football, the way we like to play here,” said Carrasco. “That’s our philosophy here, play one and two touch football and play it quickly out of the back and then we can create chances.”
Sounders FC rode the first-half goal as the defense held strong for the final 52 minutes against some of the Mexican Primera Division’s top attackers in Humberto Suazo, Aldo De Nigris and Neri Cardozo. The Monterrey attack put Seattle under constant pressure, taking 17 shots and forcing keeper Terry Boss to make four saves.
“It was definitely a very memorable moment for the entire team,” said Carrasco, reflecting on the memorable night in Monterrey. “To go down there to a stadium where not a lot of teams have had success
The historical win last year may be the highlight of Seattle’s international success, but the club has made plenty of other appearances on the global stage.
Sounders FC has faced – and beaten – teams from seven countries throughout the region, including Metapan (El Salvador), Marathon (Honduras), San Francisco (Panama), Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Monterrey and Santos (Mexico), Herediano (Costa Rica) and Caledonia (Trinidad and Tobago).
Seattle’s record against teams from outside of the United States is 8-9-2. And, along with the impressive result in Monterrey, Sounders FC has earned three other results on foreign soil. The team beat Herediano, 2-1, in Alajuela, Costa Rica in September 2011. Seattle also earned draws against Comunicaciones in Guatemala City and Metapan in El Salvador.
“It gave us confidence and reassurance that we can go down to any stadium and compete with them and get a result,” said Carrasco. “We are looking forward to building off that in this year’s Champions League.”
In seven days the opportunity arises for Sounders FC to win in a new territory as the club visits Caledonia in the second round of the group stage at Ato Bolden Stadium in Couva, Trinidad. At more than 4,300 miles away, it will be the furthest from Seattle that the club has ever played.
2011-12 CCL Group Stage (round two)
Seattle Sounders FC 1 at CF Monterrey 0 – August 23, 2011
SEA – Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan) 38’
CFM – None
Seattle Sounders FC: Terry Boss; James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl; Roger Levesque (Amadou Sanyang 84'), Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76'); Nate Jaqua (Osvaldo Alonso 65'), Pat Noonan.
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Taylor Graham, Erik Friberg, Mike Fucito.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 4.
CF Monterrey: Jonathan Orozco; Severo Meza (Ricardo Osorio 83'), Darvin Chavez, Miguel Morales (Walter Ayovi 62'), Luis Perez; Aldo De Nigris, Jesus Zavala, Neri Cardozo, Hiram Mier; Jesus Corona (Dario Carreno 73'), Humberto Suazo.
Substitutes Not Used: Juan De Dios Ibarra, Oscar Garcia, Eduardo Guevara, Marcelo Cazaubon.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1.