Sounders lose 2-1 in group finale but advance to CONCACAF quarterfinals | Soccer
The loss wasn't a huge bother, but yielding soft goals was. Sounders FC was forced to settle for second place in Group D of the CONCACAF...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The loss wasn't a huge bother, but yielding soft goals was.
Sounders FC was forced to settle for second place in Group D of the CONCACAF Champions League after gifting CF Monterrey of Mexico a 2-1 win in Tuesday's group-stage finale at CenturyLink Field.
Playing in front of 15,866 fans, Seattle (3-2-1 in CONCACAF play) had already clinched advancement into March's quarterfinals coming into the game but would have topped the group with a win or tie.
Monterrey, the defending CCL champion, finished first with a 4-2 record.
"We definitely gave them the game tonight," said Seattle defender Jeff Parke. "(We made) some mistakes that we shouldn't make."
Looking to get even after a 1-0 loss to the Sounders on Aug. 23, the visitors took the lead for good in the 61st minute by taking advantage of a Seattle turnover. The careless miscue set up an open shot for Rayados forward Humberto Suazo, and while his attempt was blocked, midfielder Cesar Delgado finished a second chance on the rebound past rookie goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.
"The second goal was a giveaway; we had the assist," said a frustrated coach Sigi Schmid. "You can't give up soft goals, because you aren't always going to be able to resurrect yourself and score goals and win."
Seattle, fielding a lineup mixed of starters and reserves, pressed immediately for the equalizer.
First, midfielder Roger Levesque saw his 62nd-minute header tipped over the crossbar on a spectacular diving save by goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. Then, two minutes later, forward Fredy Montero flashed some skill, but fired a contested shot wide.
Seattle defender Patrick Ianni had a quality chance in the 76th minute, but backup goalkeeper Juan de Dios Ibarra — who had to come on for the injured Orozco — stopped his point-blank header.
The frantic final minutes saw few clean looks on goal for the Sounders, wearing their electricity-yellow jerseys likely for the last time.
Monterrey opened the scoring in the third minute when forward Dario Carreno collected a pass from Suazo behind a disorganized Sounders FC defense and finished the open chance.
"Definitely not the way I want to start the game and my MLS career," said Meredith, who made his debut.
Seattle responded in the 42nd minute when Montero curled a free kick through a defensive wall to tie the score.
Montero, who wore the captain's armband in place of the resting Kasey Keller, has 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions (MLS, CCL and U.S. Open Cup). He has 18 goals and 10 assists overall this season.
The Sounders now turn their focus to the MLS playoffs, but not without caution.
Schmid said the players now know "we can concentrate on one thing, but I'm not happy with the goals we gave up, and they heard that from me as well."
• Sounders FC concludes its MLS regular season with a 7:30 p.m. road game Saturday at Chivas USA. Seattle has already clinched the Western Conference's No. 2 seed into the playoffs.
• Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was suspended Saturday due to yellow-card accumulation. Zach Scott will be suspended for the first leg of Seattle's CCL quarterfinal in March for the same reason.
• Jeff Parke started for Seattle in what was the defender's action since sustaining a concussion against Philadelphia on Oct. 8.
• CS Herediano of Costa Rica (1-4) hosts CSD Comunicaciones of Guatemala (2-2-1) in the final CCL Group D game at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Neither team can advance as Seattle owns the head-to-head tiebreaker against Comunicaciones.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
|Monterrey||1 1 — 2|
|Seattle||1 0 — 1|
Monterrey — Jonathan Orozco (Juan de Dios Ibarra, 73th), Severo Meza, Ricardo Osorio, Miguel Morales, Jose Basanta, Luis Perez, Cesar Delgado (Neri Cardozo, 80th), Sergio Perez, Dario Carreno, Sergio Santana, Humberto Suazo.
Seattle — Bryan Meredith, James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni, 67th), Tyson Wahl, David Estrada (Lamar Neagle, 79th), Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero, Sammy Ochoa (Mike Fucito, 74th).
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