Sounders Insider

Sounders win 1-0, surge to top of group

Sounders FC defeated defending CONCACAF Champions League champion Monterrey, 1-0, tonight in Mexico.

The Sounders got a goal from Alvaro Fernandez in the 38th minute and held on through furious second-half pressure for a 1-0 win over CCL defending champion Monterrey.

“We think Monterrey is the best team in Mexico, even though they are not in first place right now," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "For us, we have played a lot of difficult games in a lot of warm weather in the last two weeks so for us it was difficult. We played a little more defensive than we normally play. Our defending was good because they are a dangerous team.”

It was the Mexican side’s first loss in 14 Champions League matches.

Seattle also becomes only the second Major League Soccer club to win on Mexican soil, joining FC Dallas, which won at Pumas last week.

Most importantly, Seattle moves to 2-0 and six points one-third of the way through group play. Last season, Monterrey reached 16 points to win the group, but No. 2 Saprissa got through to the quarterfinals with 10 points.

The Sounders next CCL match comes Sept. 14 at Herediano, which Monterrey beat 5-0 last week.

Before that, however, Seattle returns to MLS play Saturday against Columbus, and next Tuesday, when Dallas arrives for a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match.

I've added quotes in a couple of posts above. Here are the stats:

Scoring Summary:SEA - Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan) 38'

CF Monterrey - Jonathan Orozco; Severo Meza (Ricardo Osorio 83'), Darvin Chavez, Miguel Morales (Walter Ayovi 62'), Luis Perez; Aldo De Nigris, Jesus Zavala, Neri Cardozo, Hiram Mier; Jesus Corona (Dario Carreno 73'), Humberto Suazo.

Substitutes Not Used: Juan De Dios Ibarra, Oscar Garcia, Eduardo Guevara, Marcelo Cazaubon.

TOTAL SHOTS: 17; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1.

Seattle Sounders FC - Terry Boss; James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl; Roger Levesque (Amadou Sanyang 84'), Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76'); Nate Jaqua (Osvaldo Alonso 65'), Pat Noonan.

Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Taylor Graham, Erik Friberg, Mike Fucito.

TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDES: 6; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 4.

Misconduct Summary:SEA - Nate Jaqua (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48'

Referee:Elmar RodasReferee's Assistants: Cesar Ruano; Marco Diaz4th Official:Oscar Reyna

79th minute: Alonso seemed on verge of game-clincher, but touch to juke keeper too heavy and over end line.

Disappointing for Sounders, but the tide seems to be turning back a bit, as some play is shifting to the Monterrey defensive third.

76th minute: Leo Gonzalez in for Fernandez, who had a wonderful game.

67th minute: Boss misplays a backpass and falls, however Sounders defense hustles back and doesn't give Monterrey a clear shot. Another bullet dodged.

This has become the middle rounds of Ali-Foreman, with the Sounders absolutely on the ropes and absorbing relentless punishment. Still on their feet, though.

65th minute: Alonso in for Jaqua.

52nd minute: Same teams, different game, as Monterrey is swarming all over the Sounders' defensive end. This chances soon or the equalizer seems inevitable.

47th minute: Yellow to Jaqua.

Second half: ... has begun.

Halftime: Sounders up, 1-0.

Two shots on goal for each team. Two corners Monterrey, one for Seattle. No cards.

38th minute: GOAL Seattle. Alvaro Fernandez scores, finishing a Sounders counterattack after a good Monterrey chance. Fernandez fights off challege from behind and fires from about eight yards. Seattle, 1-0. Assist to Noonan, who made a nicely weighted pass to the top of the area.

Remember, of course, that Seattle had a 2-0 lead last season at Monterrey, and lost 3-2.

First 30 minutes: This oddball Sounders lineup is certainly holding its own so far.

First 12 minutes: Each team has had a fair chance. Mostly a feeling-out game so far.

Kickoff: The game has kicked off. Sounders in shale/shale; Monterrey in blue/white.

Lineup: Here's what the CCL Twitter account is reporting for the Sounders: Line-up: Boss; Evans, Wahl, Riley, Fernandez, Scott, Jaqua, Carrasco, Levesque, Noonan, Parke. Bench: Ford, Graham, Gonzalez, Alonso, Sanyang, Friberg, Fucito.

Meanwhile, a couple of personnel notes from the club:

If Servando Carrasco sees action at Monterrey it will be playing his first competitive match in his native Mexico since his early youth in Tijuana. Carrasco, who holds dual citizenship, went on to play his scholastic, club and collegiate soccer north of the border...Lamar Neagle will miss Tuesday's match due to receiving a red card an automatic one-game suspension versus Comunicaciones. Neagle recorded his first MLS assist on Saturday. His two goals and one assist have all been game-winners.

Pregame: Last week against Communicaciones, the Sounders were playing a weak team at home and therefore had much to lose but little to gain in CCL group play. Tonight, the situation might be reversed. Playing the defending champion on its home pitch, the presumption would be no points for Seattle ... with anything more just seeming like a little spare change in the pocket.

And it sounds like coach Sigi Schmid might be thinking something similar, if I'm interpreting this pregame quote correctly:

“For us it’s important that we balance off our work and our rest because we have two big games coming up when we come back: Columbus at home because we want to keep pushing the point total, and then we’ve got the Open Cup semifinal. Winning in Monterrey is going to be a tough task, no matter what squad we send out there, but we feel we’ve got a good mix of players, where we can send out some players with experience who maybe haven’t played as many minutes as the other guys.”

Sounders like we're going to see a roster of reserves -- hoping for the best, but understanding that if the Sounders are going to lose one game over the next eight days, better it be tonight than in a home league game Saturday or especially in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals a week from tonight.

I'll be back with the lineup, and then keep this post open all night for in-game and postgame reports and comments.

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