The Seattle Sounders’ 2020 Concacaf Champions League venture came to an end at CenturyLink Field on Thursday, as Honduran side C.D. Olimpia prevailed on penalty kicks after the second leg of the Round of 16 series ended in a 4-4 draw on aggregate.
Cristian Roldan scored for Seattle in the first half after the Sounders conceded an early opener and João Paulo scored another in the second half, but a late leveler from the visitors sent the contest to a penalty kick shootout, which Olimpia won 4-2.
After a fourth-minute opener put Olimpia on top early, the Sounders struck back in the 21st minute off a pinpoint free kick from João Paulo that found the head of Roldan, who nodded it into the net to level the aggregate at 3-3 and put Seattle in the driver’s seat on the away goals tiebreaker.
João Paulo then took matters into his own hands with a vicious 64th-minute strike for his second goal in as many CCL games to give the Sounders the 4-3 aggregate lead.
Olimpia would find the leveler in the 86th minute, however, courtesy of a laser strike from distance that sent the match to penalties.
LATE CONCESSION BITES SOUNDERS
It’s definitely a tough pill for Seattle to go out like that, especially considering they were just four minutes from advancing until the shocking late leveler. That’s the game, though, one defensive lapse can make all the difference. The Sounders found that out the hard way on Thursday.
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE…
It’ll be of little consolation in the moment, but if there’s a positive for Seattle, it’s that João Paulo looks like a top-class player in MLS. Thursday’s goal was his second of the series and it was a great strike, too, as he put his two-way skills on full display through both legs. CCL may be over but expect the Brazilian to make a huge impact when league play gets underway.
SPEAKING OF LEAGUE PLAY
With CCL over, it’s back to MLS for the Sounders, who now have a whole season to tackle. It all starts on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, when the squad will take on Chicago Fire FC (12:00 p.m. PT; ESPN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS). Once the sting of this defeat wears off, there’s plenty to look forward to as Seattle look to defend their 2019 title.