The Seattle Sounders’ hopes for an upset in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League were dashed in the span of five minutes on Wednesday night, as Club America scored a pair of quick goals at the end of the first half en route to a 3-1 win in the second leg of the teams’ quarterfinals series at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
The final scoreline Wednesday night gave Club America a 5-3 edge on aggregate after the teams’ 2-2 draw last week at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Club America–who won the SCCL last year and the automatic berth in the FIFA Club World Cup–will take on Santos Laguna in the semifinals later this month, while Seattle fell short of a dream upset in one of North America’s most historic venues.
The Sounders had serious hope to spring the upset after keeping Club America at bay over the first half hour. Seattle took a 1-0 edge and the lead in the series in the 41st minute, when Osvaldo Alonso’s cross from the right side deflected off Club America defender Pablo Aguilar and into the net for an own goal. Sounders striker Nelson Valdez – who started up top with Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris as the Sounders trotted out a first-choice lineup – challenged Aguilar on the cross, throwing the Club America defender off before he stumbled and knocked the ball into his own net.
But the lead didn’t last long. Club America forward Darwin Quintero flicked a header to the back post off a cross from Rubens Sambueza to erase the lead in the 42nd minute, and Oribe Peralta nodded home a wide-open header in the first minute of first-half stoppage time after another Sambueza cross to stake Club America to a 2-1 lead at the half.
Club America padded the lead to 3-1 and 5-3 on aggregate just five minutes into the second half. Andres Andrade finished off a wide-open right-footed shot from just inside the box after Paul Aguilar skipped a cross through the box in the 50th minute to put Club America on safe footing.
The Sounders threatened to cut into the lead in the 69th minute when Joevin Jones ripped a left-footed shot from outside the box, but goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez snuffed out the shot.
Club America put a series of scoring chances together in the first 30 minutes of the match, but Quintero’s shot from inside the box was deflected aside by Sounders defender Brad Evans in the 19th minute and goalkeeper Stefan Frei parried a shot off the left foot of Sambueza in the 29th minute to keep the scoreline level.
The Sounders took their lumps in this one too, with Dempsey cut above the left eye after he was stepped on during a challenge in the first half, and Evans buckled by a mid-air collision with Goltz in the 30th minute. Midfielder Erik Friberg also smacked into defender Chad Marshall in the 72nd minute and had to come off.
The Sounders were not alone in their SCCL suffering this week. Their loss came 24 hours after Liga MX teams also dumped D.C. United and the LA Galaxy from the tournament, with Real Salt Lake also losing against Tigres at Rio Tinto on Wednesday night.
Only two MLS teams have ever beaten a Liga MX team in the knockout round of the tournament since 2008: the Montreal Impact last year and the Sounders, who knocked off Tigres in the quarterfinals in 2013.
The Sounders will open the MLS regular season against Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on Sunday (4 p.m. PT; FS1/KIRO 97.3 FM/El Rey 1360 AM).
Seattle Sounders FC 1 – Club America 3
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Venue: Estadio Azteca (Mexico City, Mexico)
Referee: Valdin Legister
Assistants: Kedlee Powell, Garnet Page
Fourth Official: Kevin Morrison
Weather: Cloudy and 57 degrees
SEA – Pablo Aguilar (own goal) 41’
CA – Carlos Quintero (Rubens Sambueza) 42’
CA – Oribe Peralta (Rubens Sambueza) 45’ +1’
CA – Andres Andrade (Paul Aguilar) 50’
CA – Pablo Aguilar (caution) 66’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Erik Friberg (Darwin Jones 75’), Osvaldo Alonso, Andreas Ivanschitz (Cristian Roldan 70’); Jordan Morris (Aaron Kovar 70’), Nelson Valdez, Clint Dempsey
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Zach Scott, Oniel Fisher, Nathan Sturgis
Total shots: 3 (3 players tied at 1)
Shots on goal: 1 (J. Jones, 1)
Fouls: 7 (J. Jones/Valdez, 2)
Offside: 1 (Dempsey, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Ivanschitz, 3)
Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)
Club America – Hugo Gonzalez, Paul Aguilar, Paolo Goltz, Pablo Aguilar, Miguel Samudio; Rubens Sambueza (Dario Benedetto 83’), Osvaldo Martinez, Daniel Guerrero, Andres Andrade (Brian Lozano 64’); Oribe Peralta (Jesus Moreno 73’), Carlos Quintero
Substitutes not used: Moises Munoz, Osmar Mares, Erik Pimentel, Ventura Alvarado
Total shots: 18 (Sambueza/Quintero, 3)
Shots on goal: 8 (Quintero, 3)
Fouls: 12 (Andrade, 4)
Offside: 2 (Quintero, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Martinez/Sambueza, 2)
Saves: 1 (Gonzalez, 1)