The Seattle Sounders and Club America squared off in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match for the right to face Santos Laguna in the semifinal round. The two teams entered even on aggregate at 2-2 apiece.
The Sounders knew that a win at Estadio Azteca would send them through to the next round. Club America knew they needed to win outright or tie 0-0 or 1-1 to advance to the next round. In the end, Club America got the last laugh as they were able to prevail 3-1 (5-3) on aggregate after two quick goals at the end of the first half and an insurance goal early in the second half.
Sounders Get on the Board First
After a fairly even first 40 minutes or so, the Sounders struck first in the 41st minute on an own goal from Pablo Aguilar. Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso found himself near the penalty box on the right side of the field. He sent in a cross that was looking for Sounders forward Nelson Valdez. Valdez missed the header and the ball fell to the ground. Aguilar was falling to the ground and the ball took an awkward bounce and hit his backside and rolled past America’s goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead with four minutes to go in the first half.
Club America Strikes Back Immediately
It didn’t take long for America to strike back and even the score 1-1 and 3-3 on aggregate. In almost a carbon copy of the first leg, America was able to march right down the field and score when Darwin Quintero found himself on the end of a header sent in by Rubens Sambueza. It was a play that not even the best club in the world could have stopped.
It wouldn’t be the only goal that Club America would score in the first half. Just three minutes later, America was on the board again. Sambueza was the man making it happen again as he sent in another cross that this time found Oribe Peralta to give America 2-1 lead heading into halftime.
Second Half Belonged to Club America
Outside of a few moments here and there for the Sounders, Club America controlled the second half. The Sounders had an early chance in the second half after a few wonderful passes from Jordan Morris and Valdez. However, Valdez’s final pass was too far in front of an onrushing Clint Dempsey. That was the last good chance for the Sounders in the second half.
Club America all but put the game away in the 50th minute after Andres Andrade was able to beat Tyrone Mears and Sounders goalkeeper Stephan Frei to make it 3-1, 5-3 on aggregate. That was all that Club America would need to advance to the semifinals against Santos Laguna in two weeks.
The Sounders can now solely concentrate on MLS play as they welcome Sporting KC to open the 2016 MLS season on FOX Sports 1 at 7:00pm EST. The Sounders will remember their lost chances in this game, but must look past this disappointing result and move forward and bring the energy they showed the last week to MLS.