The Seattle Sounders hosted the first leg of the two leg series against Club America at home on Tuesday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA. This was the Sounders first competitive game of the season while America are already seven games into their Liga MX season.
In his first game as a member of the Sounders, Jordan Morris earned his first career start against America. Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid came out with the much anticipated 4-3-3 formation that they used all preseason long.
Club America took the opening kickoff and attacked toward the south goal. The first opening minutes of the match was a little of both teams trying to feel each other out. The Sounders had the majority of the chances in the first ten to fifteen minutes of the match.
Jordan Morris Almost Scores in His First Appearance
It appeared that they may have gotten on the board in the 12th minute. The Sounders had earned a corner kick and it was taken by Andreas Ivanschitz. The ball was sent in between the six-yard box and 18-yard box and headed back towards goal. Morris was able to get his head on it and it looked to be going in, but somehow America’s goalkeeper, Hugo Gonzalez, got his hand on it before the entire ball crossed the line.
Club America had a few chances in the later portions of the first half as they started to slowly take over the game. After a bad turnover in the midfield by the Sounders in the 27th minute, America made a break for goal. Luckily for the Sounders, Chad Marshall and the crossbar were there to stop the attack. Marshall thwarted the initial attack, but the ball fell favorably to another Club America player. His shot had Sounders ‘keeper Stefan Frei beat, but not the cross bar. The Sounders were fortunate not to be down one goal in the first 30 minutes of the match.
Darwin Quintero Wreaking Havoc
Darwin Quintero for Club America consistently attacked the Sounders back line time after time. He was called offside a few times rightfully so and the Sounders actually caught a break as he was called offside late in the first half, even though replays showed him to be just behind Marshall and onside when the ball was played.
After a rather soft foul being called in favor of the Sounders, they had a free kick 28 yards from goal. Ivanschitz and Clint Dempsey both lined up to take the kick, but we all knew who was going to take it. That’s right, Dempsey and the Sounders faithful are glad he did. He was able to get the ball up and over the wall and beat Gonzalez to the far corner to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute.
Lead Does Not Last Long
After pestering the Sounders back line all first half, Quintero receive a perfectly placed pass from Club America Captain Rubens Sambueza. Quintero was able to stay in front of Evans and beat Frei near post to tie the score up 1-1 second before the half ended.
The Sounders dominated possession in the first half 58.9% to America’s 41.1%. They also completed 79.5% of their passes compared to America’s 77.7%. Both team had five shots in the first half, both also had two on target.
Club America took a lot of momentum into the locker room and the Sounders were hoping to take that momentum right back from them as they took the second half kickoff and attacked toward the South goal, right in front of the Emerald City Supporters section.
It didn’t take long for the Sounders to jump back out in front. After earning a corner in the 52nd minutes, Ivanschitz sent in a beautiful ball that Dempsey was able to get his head on and past the diving ‘keeper. America tried to come right back in score, but the Sounders were ready for them this time.
Club America Ties It Once Again
The Sounders clearly dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half, but slowly Club America began to turn the tide. Finally, in the 70th minute, Club America got back on the board. A lovely ball was sent in by Sambueza and he found Oribe Peralta all alone who was able to deflect the ball past Frei to tie it all up at 2-2. That second away goal could be a huge issue for the Sounders.
The final twenty minutes of the game mostly belonged to Club America with the Sounders sprinkling a few chances in here and there. In the end, Club America goes home essentially with a two goal lead even though it is tied 2-2.
The Sounders have a lot of work to do in Mexico City. They need to keep Club America off the board and hope to score one or two goals to advance to the semifinals. It won’t be easy, but if they put the hard work in, it can be done.