The Sounders win it, 1-0. But this is, in effect, merely a one-goal lead halfway through a 180-minute game. However, the failure of Metapan to score makes it an encouraging result for the Sounders ... although one that Metapan seemed oddly happy to take.
And that's really how it seemed during the interviews after the game -- both coaches seeming pleased enough with the result.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t get more,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “But it’s most important not to give up a goal at home. We have the lead. It forces them when we go down there that they need to score a goal. They can’t sit back (again). Here, they could try and sit back a little bit. For us on the road, if we can score a goal, we force them to score three.”
“Sounders played better,” Metapan coach Edwin Portillo said through a translator. “We played looking for a tie but ended up losing. But at the same time, we know that last year we lost 0-1 (in our first game, but still advanced). Now we will do better on our own field.”
If total goals are even after the next match, the team with more road goals will advance. If road goals also are even, the teams will play on into added time. Then, if necessary, the series will be decided by penalty kicks.
Schmid implied he will go with a more conventional lineup in El Salvador, where the series will be settled.
Portillo predicted a crowd of 3,000-4,000 for that one, which will be played in San Salvador rather than Metapan. Given that, he seemed plenty impressed with tonight's crowd, even though it was the smallest ever to see the Sounders at Qwest ... smaller even that the 18,000-plus that showed up for the Sounders-Timbers preseason exhibition before the start of this regular season.
By the numbers:
SEA -- Fredy Montero (Osvaldo Alonso) 60
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
89th minute: Metapan keeper Misael Alfaro just came forward to take a free kick at the top of the Sounders' box. He knocked it into the box, then tried to bicycle-kick the rebound.
88th minute: Between "injuries" and general slow-motion listlessness, it has come to look like Metapan is content to take a one-goal deficit and zero road goals back to El Salvador and take their chances there. The crowd here is actually booing their delays.
84th minute: Nyassi repeatedly running free past the Metapan defense down the left side. Just missed wide left on a 1-on-1.
70th minute: Back-to-back backheels by Nyassi and Montero. Beautiful and fun, but it didn't build to anything.
68th minute: Ref is certainly handing out cards, but this game is getting rougher.
60th minute: On his first touch of the game -- seconds after subbing in -- Freddie Montero whistled in a shot from 35 yards, which Metapan goalkeeper Misael Alfaro deflected, but it still trickled into the box. Assist to Alonso. Sounders up, 1-0.
60th minute: Jaqua out, Montero in.
Attendance: 17,228. Smallest ever for Sounders at Qwest.
57th minute: Nyassi shanks high from the top of the box on a breakaway.
Zakuani in for Montano.
55th minute: No apparent Matapan philosophy change. Game still being played almost exclusively in their defensive half.
Second half: Has begun.
Injury update: Vagenas diagnosed with right quad strain.
Halftime: Sounders dominated, but there is no score. It feels like the kind of half that could they could come to regret when things get totaled up on Tuesday.
Sounders had seven shots, one on goal; Metapan no shots. Metapan looks like a team willing to try to win this thing at home without worrying about the road-goals tie-breaker.
There have been five yellow cards: Seattle's Vagenas, Riley and Alonso; Metapan's Alvarado and Prado.
Meanwhile, this in from Houston: Manchester United 5, MLS All-Stars 2.
25th minute: Most of the game is on the Metapan half, and Sounders getting the more serious chances so far.
18th minute: Metapan doesn't seem to be a play-through-contact type of team. They're going down like the place is laced with land mines. And the Sounders have picked up three yellows already: Vagenas, Riley and Alonso. And in this competition, they carry over and do not get wiped clean between preliminary and group stage.
14th minute: Alonso in for Vagenas.
10th minute: Pete Vagenas just went down after a corner kick. I wasn't watching him after the kick, but there didn't seem to be any Metapan player anywhere around. However, he stayed down in apparent pain, and it looks like Osvaldo Alonso is about to be sent in.
Kickoff: We're under way. Metapan in blue/blue ... at least the parts of the uniform that aren't advertising. Sounders in electricity yellow/yellow.
Lineups: For Seattle: GK Keller; D Riley, Marshall, Graham, Gonzalez; M Nyassi, Vagenas, Seamon, Montano; F Jaqua Levesque. Reserves: Boss, Montero, Parke, Wahl, Alonso, Zakuani, Estrada.
For Metapan: GK, Alfaro; D Alvardo, Prado, Aquino, Mendendez; M Jimenez, Mejia, Umana; F Suarez, Canales, Flores. Reserves: Gonzalez, Molina, Carrillo, Moran, Montes, Florez, Blanco.
Pregame: The lineups aren't out yet, but it looks like neither Blaise Nkufo nor Pat Noonan will be in uniform for the Sounders. ... Considering I just walked past each of them in the press box meal line.
And the uniforms they won't be in? Electricity yellow.