The Seattle Sounders lost their first 2015 CONCACAF Champions League match Wednesday, and they lost control of their own destiny as well.
CD Olimpia’s Alberth Elis’ rebound goal in the second half was all that separated the sides at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
At 1-1-1, Seattle remains at the top of Group F with four points, followed by Olimpia 1-1-0 (3 points) and Vancouver 0-0-1 (1). But the Sounders’ inability to answer also gave the third tie-breaker – away goals – to the Lions. Therefore, Olimpia can clinch the group by getting at least four points from its two meetings with the Whitecaps, regardless of the results of the Sounders-Whitecaps match Sept. 23 at CenturyLink Field.
The Olimpia-Sounders rematch featured none of the bad blood that had bubbled over at the end of their meeting in Seattle the week before, when the Sounders came from behind for a 2-1 win.
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On Wednesday, the teams played calmly and evenly most of the way. The difference came in the 60th minute when Olimplia got past the Seattle defense. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins left his line to stop the first shot, but the ball bounced to Elis in front of the goal, where he shielded it with his body, turned and fired into the back of the net.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid went with the exact starting 11 he had used one week earlier in the Sounders’ 2-1 win over Olimpia in Seattle. Ten of those players are generally reserves during MLS games, with the exception being forward Lamar Neagle of Federal Way.
There was, however, a notable change on the Seattle bench, where Marco Pappa for back in uniform for the first time since his arrest last month for suspicion of driving under the influence. Pappa was cleared by Major League Soccer last week, and he returned to action in the 70th minute.
The Sounders will now turn into CCL spectators as they will watch Olimpia visit Vancouver on Sept. 16 before those teams conclude group play Oct. 22 in Honduras.
Meanwhile, Seattle returns to MLS action at 2 p.m. Sunday, when the Portland Timbers visit.