Sounders beat Marathon 3-1 to clinch No. 3 seed in CONCACAF quarterfinals
Sammy Ochoa had his fourth goal in as many CCL games to lead Seattle, which will learn its quarterfinal opponent after Thursday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Sounders FC played another CONCACAF Champions League game Wednesday.
In other words, it was Sammy Ochoa Time.
The forward scored his fourth goal in as many CCL games as Seattle beat CD Marathon of Honduras, 3-1, to clinch the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals in front of 7,874 at CenturyLink Field.
Steve Zakuani and David Estrada also scored for the Sounders, who had already secured a berth to the knockout round and finished a perfect 4-0 in Group 4. Seattle will learn its quarterfinal opponent after Thursday's games.
"We're avoiding, for sure, the big two (Mexican clubs Monterrey and Santos Laguna) that have done very well the last couple years in this competition," said coach Sigi Schmid. "All we can control is our own destiny."
Marathon (1-2-1) finished second in the group and Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago, finished last in the three-team group at 0-3-1.
Ochoa opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when he knocked in a cross from Honduran midfielder Mario Martinez, whose hometown of San Pedro Sula is where Marathon is based. It marked Ochoa's eighth goal in all competitions — MLS, U.S. Open Cup, CCL — which ranks third on the team.
"The guy can't stop scoring," said Estrada.
The Sounders doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Zakuani received a pass from defender Jeff Parke, juked a defender, cut to his right and slammed a shot past goalkeeper Jose Mendoza.
Marathon pulled a goal back in the 37th minute when forward Mitchel Brown tapped a cross from Tulio Vega into an open net.
That was the first CCL goal allowed by Seattle in the tournament that wasn't a penalty kick. It also ensured the Sounders wouldn't record shutout in their last 10 games in the international competition.
The Honduran visitors had a chance to equalize in the 66th minute, but a dangerous shot by Brown was secured safely by goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, who made his first start for the Sounders since 1996 in the lower leagues.
Hahnemann's last competitive start of any kind was with English club Wolverhampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup on January 30, 2011.
"The training's been great," the goalkeeper said. "I've been getting sharper every day, but to actually get out there on the field — it was awesome."
Schmid said he doesn't think there's "a team in the league with two better goalkeepers than (Michael Gspurning) and Hahnemann. That makes you feel really good as a coach."
Estrada capped the scoring in the 76th minute in front of the second-smallest crowd in Sounders FC history for a game played at CenturyLink. The all-time low was 7,767 for a CCL game here Aug. 2 against Caledonia AIA.
It didn't feel that way.
"It was 67,000, I thought, today," Hahnemann said, smiling. "That's what it felt like. I don't know what you guys saw. It felt pretty good. It doesn't matter. You still have the ECS — I know there's not as many of them — they're cheering the whole game. We can all hear that. ... It was an awesome experience."
• Sounders FC plays its MLS regular-season finale next at the Los Angeles Galaxy at 6 p.m. Sunday.
• Seattle had conceded a penalty kick in its previous three CCL group games — four total.
• Key Sounders who the got the night off included forward Eddie Johnson, midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Mauro Rosales, defender Adam Johansson and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
• Marathon had only four subs available for the game.
• Sounders FC's yellow cards from the group stage will all be wiped clean for the quarterfinals.
• MLS playoff tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday and will be available on SoundersFC.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Dates for the conference semifinal against Real Salt Lake are still to be determined and Seattle's home game could be anywhere from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
Seattle 3, Marathon 1
Marathon — Jose Mendoza, Luis Castro, Quiarol Arzu, Mauricio Sabillon (Wilmer Fuentes, 79th), David Meza, Reinieri Mayorquin, Mariano Acevedo (Alexander Aguilar, 73rd), Mario Berrios, Cristhian Altamirano, Tulio Vega (Randy Diamond, 65th), Mitchel Brown.
Seattle — Marcus Hahnemann, Mike Seamon, Jeff Parke (Marc Burch, half), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott, Mario Martinez, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose (Alex Caskey, 67th), Steve Zakuani (Cordell Cato, 78th), David Estrada, Sammy Ochoa.