Thursday, July 29, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders top Metapán 1-0 in first leg

It took Fredy Montero only a few seconds on the pitch before he saw an opening. The 22-year-old Columbian came on as a substitute for Nate Jaqua at the hour mark, took two touches on the ball then rifled a shot from forty yards out. Misael Alfaro, the Metapán keeper, mishandled the rebound, allowing the ball to trickle across the goal line.

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Montero said that he had been watching Alfaro from the sidelines earlier in the match and noticed that the goalkeeper would move forward when not under pressure, opening the possibility for a long-range shot.

From the start of the game, it was clear that Seattle had a physical advantage over visiting Metapán. The Sounders’ starting lineup was taller than just about every player on the opposing team and they exercised that asset for the entire first half, keeping Metapan from taking a single shot. By the end of the game, Seattle had outshot Metapan 15-2 (5-1 on goal).

To level the playing field, the players from El Salvador did their best to draw fouls and cards, a tactic that ended up working well. By the match’s end, Seattle had accumulated four yellow cards. Miguel Montaño did his best to reciprocate, forcing two of Metapán’s three yellow cards.

While Montaño drew fouls on the near sideline, Sanna Nyassi was wreaking havoc on Metapán’s defense across the field. On several occasions he was able to outpace or out dribble defenders, creating several dangerous scoring opportunities, including a shot in the 83rd minute that was just outside the far goalpost.

The focus for Seattle was to not give up a goal at home said Sounders’ Head Coach Sigi Schmid, who was glad to earn at least one goal in the match.

“We have a lead. It forces them when we go down there that they have to score a goal. They can't sit back. Here they can sit back. And for us on the road to score a goal, we force them to score three, so that's really important. We wanted to hold them at zero at home and get as many goals as possible as home.”

During the post-game press conference Sigi said that because the Sounders have so many games in the next week, he wanted to give his normal staters a chance to rest so that after Saturday’s match in San Jose, they will not be to worn out to face Metapán. Peter Vagenas is unlikely to play the second game after he left the match in the 8th minute with a strained right quad, the only injury of the game.

The second leg of the two-game series will be played Tuesday, August 3 at 7 p.m. PT in El Salvador, with the winner advancing to the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. Seattle’s next MLS game is scheduled for this Saturday at San Jose and starts at 7 p.m.

Unofficial box score:

Isidro Metapan -- Misael Alfaro, Jose Alvarado, Erick Prado, Ernesto Aquino, Moises Menendez (Mark Lester Blanco 69), Oscar Jimenez, Hector Mejia, Emerson Umana, Rodolfo Suarez (Andres Flores 80), Anel Canales, Josue Flores (Jorge Luis Moran 87).

Substitutes Not Used: Milton Molina, Carlos Carrillo, Elias Bladimir Montes, Jose Gonzalez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 2 (Emerson Umana 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Emerson Umana 1); FOULS: 20 (Rodolfo Suarez 5); OFFSIDES: 3 (Anel Canales 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Josue Flores 2); SAVES: 4 (Misael Alfaro 4)

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Peter Vagenas (Osvaldo Alonso 14), Mike Seamon, Miguel Montano (Steve Zakuani 57), Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero 60), Roger Levesque.

Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, David Estrada, Terry Boss.

TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Fredy Montero 2); FOULS: 17 (Leo Gonzalez 3, Roger Levesque 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Roger Levesque 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Osvaldo Alonso 4); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1)

Misconduct Summary:
SEA -- Peter Vagenas (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 8
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 17
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Reckless Tackle) 19
ISM -- Rodolfo Suarez (caution; Reckless Foul) 36
ISM -- Erick Prado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 42
ISM -- Emerson Umana (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64
SEA -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Reckless Foul) 67

Referee: Ricardo Arellano
Referee's Assistants: -Alejandro Ayala; Victor Calderon
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
Attendance: 17,228
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny-and-75-degrees

Reach Galen Helmgren at