The Seattle Sounders defeated Liga MX’s Club León 3-0 at Lumen Field on Tuesday night in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals behind two goals from Fredy Montero and another from Jordan Morris. The Sounders were out-possessed 69-31, but outshot León 14-3.
Montero’s first-half brace sent the Sounders into halftime with a 2-0 lead. He opened the scoring in the 31st minute when he confidently buried a penalty after Cristian Roldan was fouled in the box. Montero doubled Seattle’s lead just eight minutes later when he made a near-post run and redirected a Roldan cross into the back of the net.
León’s best chance of the half came from Ángel Mena in the 36th minute when his left-footed effort from 12 yards out was saved by Stefan Frei.
The Sounders continued to pepper the León goal in the second half. Morris had an influential evening and nearly added a third goal in the 50th minute after his close-range shot was saved by Rodolfo Cota. Morris then picked out Albert Rusnák on a late-arriving run six minutes later, but Rusnák’s shot went over the crossbar.
Montero almost earned a hat trick in the 59th minute when his left-footed shot on the left side of the box rattled the side netting. Cota then denied Rusnák in the 68th minute when the ball fell to the Slovakian off a corner kick and his shot through traffic was parried away.
Morris then had another chance to make it 3-0 in the 83rd minute when his breakaway effort was saved by Cota. Xavier Arreaga could have made it 3-0 as well in the 84th minute on the ensuing corner kick as his attempt was cleared off the line.
Morris added a major insurance goal in the 90th minute when he stabbed home another Roldan cross.
Roldan was almost rewarded with a goal of his own in the third minute of stoppage time, but Cota denied a Roldan breakaway.
The return leg of this tie will take place at Estadio León next Thursday, March 17 (5:30 p.m. PT). The winner will play either Major League Soccer’s New York City FC or Guatemala’s Comunicaciones in the CCL semifinals. NYCFC defeated Comunicaciones 3-1 in the opening leg in West Hartford, Conn., earlier on Tuesday night.
Montero scored his 69th and 70th career Sounders goals, stepping up in huge fashion with Raúl Ruidíaz and Will Bruin still sidelined with injuries. Montero also scored his seventh and eighth CCL goals, extending his all-time club lead in this competition.
Massive clean sheet
Keeping León off the score sheet was a huge accomplishment and boost heading into the second leg next week. With away goals in effect as the primary tiebreaker, holding León to zero could go a long way in advancing to the CCL semifinals.
The Sounders will return to league play with a rivalry match against the LA Galaxy at Lumen Field on Saturday (12:30 p.m. PT; FOX, FOX Deportes, 1090 KJR AM | TICKETS) in between CCL legs. The Galaxy enter this weekend 2-0-0 through the opening two weeks of the season, earning back-to-back 1-0 wins over NYCFC and Charlotte FC.