Sounders advance in Champions League
Brad Evans scored the winning goal in the 78th minute as Sounders FC clinched a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with...
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SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Brad Evans scored the winning goal in the 78th minute as Sounders FC clinched a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with 3-2 group-stage win Wednesday at CD Marathon of Honduras.
Seattle, which also got goals from forwards Sammy Ochoa and Eddie Johnson, improved to 3-0 in CCL's Group 4, which ensured the MLS team a return trip to the knockout rounds of the competition.
"It's tremendous," said coach Sigi Schmid, whose team was the first to qualify for the quarterfinals. "It's a goal we set for ourselves — that we want to qualify tonight — and we were able to accomplish that."
Marathon fell to 0-1-1 and cannot catch the Sounders with two games to play. The third team in the group, Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago, has already been eliminated at 0-2-1.
Seattle has gone unbeaten in its past five road games in the CCL group stage (4-0-1) dating to last year. The team can now place its sole focus on the Supporters' Shield race in the MLS regular season and setting up for a playoff run.
Evans broke a 2-2 tie for with a header off a cross from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso on the right side, a combination between two second-half substitutes. Unlike the Sounders' previous two leads, this one stuck.
"For us, it's a good confidence-booster," Evans said. "This win under our belt will help us along the way in the long run."
Johnson had given Seattle a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute, finishing a pass from midfielder Andy Rose, for Johnson's 15th goal this season in all competitions — MLS, CCL and U.S. Open Cup.
Marathon responded in the 68th minute, however, on a penalty kick by Mario Berrios, his second of the game. The spot kick was awarded by referee Marlon Mejia after a controversial foul call on Sounders defender Patrick Ianni in the penalty box.
Ochoa gave the Sounders their first lead in the 11th minute when he headed in a cross from the left side by midfielder Mario Martinez — a goal also canceled out by a Berrios PK.
Ochoa has a team-high three goals in CCL this season, one in each group game. Martinez, a San Pedro Sula native, got his first assist for the Sounders in a return to his hometown.
The Sounders have conceded a penalty kick in all three of their CCL group games — four total.
"We were afraid they were going to call another," joked Schmid, whose team has given up 21 PKs in the international competition since 2010.
• Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann received his international clearance. As a result, he was added to the Sounders' active roster and is eligible to play.
|Seattle||1 2 — 3|
|CD Marathon||1 1 — 2|
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mario Martinez, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose (Brad Evans 69), Alex Caskey (Osvaldo Alonso 61), Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson (Fredy Montero 76).
CD Marathon — Jose Mendoza, Mauritius Sabillon, Luis Castro, Pastor Martinez (Quiarol Arzu 77), Mario Berrios, Junior Sandoval (Cristhian Altamirano 46), Mariano Acevedo, Reinieri Mayorquin, Julian Rapalo, Mitchell Brown, Randy Diamond (Rony Flores 69).