Tonight, the Sounders and a crowd of 22,513 at Qwest Field saw what that money buys as the Mexican first-division guests took an opportunistic 2-0 victory in CONCACAF Champions League.
Seattle’s payroll of about $2.5 million produced shots – 17 of them. Monterrey’s payroll of an estimated $10 million produced goals – more than enough to win.
“I don’t think we played that poorly,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought we created some chances. … Their forwards make more money than our forwards do. (Aldo) De Nigris makes a lot of money, and I think (Humberto) Suazo makes a lot of money and some of the other guys. Obviously, the finishing is something that we work on all the time in training. As I said, if our guys could clinically finish they probably wouldn’t be playing with our team maybe right now.”
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Seattle took 10 more shots than Monterrey and put twice as many on goal: 6-3.
“Soccer is like this,” Monterrey manager Victor Vucetich said. “Sometimes it’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality; sometimes it’s not about the possession, but it’s about effectiveness.”
The result drops the Sounders to 0-2 in Champions League, six points behind 2-0 Monterrey. In order to climb out of that hole and advance, Seattle will likely need points out of all four remaining matches – perhaps three wins and a draws.
"I couldn't care less, to be honest right now, with the Champions League,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “… Granted every time we step on the field I want to show somebody in CONCACAF that these last two games weren't our standard, that we can get that to turn around. At the same, let's keep going in the league. Let's get the league right, that's our next game we have to worry about.”
The Sounders will return to MLS action Saturday, when the Chicago Fire and former Sounder designated player Freddie Ljungberg visit.
Seattle returns to Champions League play Sept. 14, visiting Saprissa of Costa Rica.
MTR -- Neri Cardozo (Jesus Zavala) 41
MTR -- Aldo de Nigris (Neri Cardozo) 58
CF Monterrey -- Jonathan Orozco, Sergio Perez, Jose Maria Basanta, Hiriam Mier, Miguel Morales, Ricardo Osorio, Neri Cardozo (Sergio Santana 70), Jesus Zavala, Osvaldo Martinez (Luis Perez 81), Dario Carreno, Aldo de Nigris (Humberto Suazo 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Juan de Dios Ibarra, Severo Meza, Pierre Ibarra, Duilio Davino.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Aldo de Nigris 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 15 (Osvaldo Martinez 5); OFFSIDES: 8 (Aldo de Nigris 5); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Neri Cardozo 5); SAVES: 6 (Jonathan Orozco 6)
Seattle Sounders FC -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis (Mike Seamon 67), Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 73), Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 46).
Substitutes Not Used: David Estrada, Taylor Graham, Tyson Wahl, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Sanna Nyassi 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Nate Jaqua 2); FOULS: 15 (Sanna Nyassi 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Fredy Montero 3); CORNER KICKS: 12 (Nathan Sturgis 8); SAVES: 1 (Kasey Keller 1)
MTR -- Jesus Zavala (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
MTR -- Neri Cardozo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 36
SEA -- Nate Jaqua (caution; Reckless Tackle) 52
Referee: Joel Aguilar
Referee's Assistants: -William Torres; Juan Francisco Zumba
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
Time of Game: 1:50
Final: Monterrey wins, 2-0, as an apparent Nate Jaqua goal was waved off for offside in the final minute of regulation.
The visitors move to the top of CONCACAF Champions League Group C with six points in two games. Seattle has no points and likely will need three wins and a draw over its next four games to advance.
Their next group match comes Sept. 14 at Saprissa of Costa Rica.
I'll be back with notes and quotes.
Attendance: The crowd has been announced at 22,513. And although no official attendance records are kept for CONCACAF Champions league, federation officials have confirmed this as the second-largest U.S. crowd in tournament history. The top mark was 26,528, which turned out for D.C. United's 2007 match with Chivas de Guadalajara.
73rd minute: Sounders sub Levesque for Fernandez, meaning both Seattle DPs are on the bench.
67th minute: Seattle subs Seamon for Sturgis.
58th minute: Monterrey makes it, 2-0. Cardozo lobbed a pass into the box to Aldo de Nigris, who apparently beat an offside trap. In any case, he was alone, took his time to take aim on the goal, and blazed his shot past Keller.
47th minute: Sounders almost changed things instantly. Nyassi streaked down the right side, beat the keeper to the inside, but the ball bounced off the post.
Second half... has begun. One change for Sounders, and a significant one: Nate Jaqua for Nkufo.
Halftime: Monterrey leads, 1-0.
Seattle has taken five shots, but none on goal. The visitors have launched four, one on (and in) goal.
Yellows to Monterrey's Jesus Zavala and Neri Cardozo ... the pair involved in the goal, oddly enough.
41st minute: Monterrey moves ahead on a counter. Jesus Zavala sent a cross into the box and just before Kasey Keller could snatch it away, Neri Cardozo just managed to get his head to it and sent it into the open net.
Big trouble for Seattle, handing a one-goal lead to a team that seemed eager for a draw.
Fourth minute: Monterrey keeper Jonathan Orozco is on the turf being tended to, while a skeptical crowd boos. He is the third Monterrey player to be somehow stricken so far, and the game isn't four minutes old. This isn't the beautiful game. Monterrey seems eager to spend half the game in a defensive shell, the other half sprawled in agony under the training staff, and slink out of here with a point.
Kickoff: The game has begun, Sounders in electricity yellow/yellow, and Monterrey in white/white with a kind of cool "M" striping across the tops.
No national anthems, btw.
Pregame impression: There's still a half hour before kickoff, and therefore it's really still too early to tell much about the crowd. However, the early impression is that while this will be very much a home crowd for Seattle, there also are far more visiting jerseys among the fans than for a typical MLS match. (And cool jerseys they are, as I'm a sucker for thick vertical stripes.)
Speaking of the crowd, it looks like it will be notably larger than for Metapan. However, as in that game there is only lower-bowl seating and there are tarps above the walkway at the south end.
Lineups: For the Sounders: GK, Keller; D Riley, Ianni, Parke, Gonzalez; M Nyassi, Alonso, Sturgis, Fernandez; F Montero, Nkufo. Reserves: Boss, Estrada, Graham, Jaqua, Levesque, Seamon, Wahl.
For Monterrey: GK Orozco; D Peres, Basanta, Mier, Morles, Osorio; M Cardozo, Zavala, Martinez; F Carreno, de Nigris. Reserves: Ibarra, Meza, Ibarra, Davino, Perez, Santana, Suazo.
65 minutes to kickoff: Two things: First, If you get FSC, I highly recommend that you click on to Real Salt Lake's game at Cruz Azul ... where the game is being played in an absolute downpour and on a pitch dotted with puddles that are turning into absolute lakes ... some of them big enough to bring the ball to a dead halt.
And, second, speaking of pitches, Sounders fans will be happy to see that there is no trace of the two Seahawks games played here over the past two weekends. The field looks purely like a soccer pitch.
90 minutes before game time: It's a beautiful day at Qwest Field, as the Sounders prepare for an interesting and important CONCACAF Champions League match with Monterrey.
Kickoff is 7 p.m., and the game will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel and broadcast on 97.3-FM.
I'll keep this post open all evening for pregame, in-game and postgame news, and as always, your comments. Next up, most likely, will be the lineups.