Strong showing by the Sounders
CONCACAF Champions League: Sounders FC 2 – Santos Laguna 1
The beautiful game returned to Seattle on Wednesday night. The Seattle Sounders faced Santos Laguna in the first leg of the Sounders first ever knockout stage match in the Champions League.
With the 2-1 win in their belts, the Sounders will now travel to Mexico next Wednesday to face Santos a goal up in this crucial quarter final matchup.
Knockout stages have not been very friendly to the Sounders in the past, having been beat in the MLS playoffs the last three years, which is played with the same home and home two leg format.
I was extremely happy to see the Sounders come out and out play an in form Santos team that is right in the middle of their season.
The Sounders just finished up pre-season a week ago, so fitness should have been an issue, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
New Super Cyan kits
After seeing add after add on the Sounders web site, it was nice to finally see the new uniforms in action. They didn’t blur my TV like the third jerseys from last year did.
Upping the pressure early
The Sounders came out relentless early in the match, and the tenacity paid off with a very early goal by David Estrada. It was also nice to see the full back Adam Johansson get up in the action and provide some crosses.
The Sounders passed the ball, and kept control for much of the first 45 minutes. It was nice to see them working as a team, with all eleven players getting touches, and contributing to the victory.
Osvaldo Alonso was his usual self, winning a lot of balls in the midfield. As always, Alonso did a lot of moving forward as well, and had an excellent chance on net late in the game.
It was a toss up between Alonso and Mauro Rosales as my choice for man of the match. Rosales was everywhere on the pitch tonight too. He provided many a cross, and was absolutely amazing with his ability to reek havoc on the defense when trying to clear their line.
For a good 10 minute stretch in the second half, the former USNT member Herculez Gomez manipulated the game. He got a couple calls on obvious flops, which turned the momentum toward Santos.
Around the 50 minute mark, the Sounders defense really started to lack discipline. They were bunching up, four guys going for the ball instead of handling their mark, and it resulted in a goal.
Not only in the second half, but near the end of the first half, there looked to be a lot of confusion in the defense. Not clearing balls correctly, lax defense all together really.
Thank god that the team bounced back and scored right away, because after the go ahead goal, the defense was back to playing as a unit.
I was really impressed for the most part of the team tonight. Besides the couple of lapses on defense, the team played well for pretty much the entire 90 minutes.
I think the important thing was that they worked as a team more than I have ever seen them play before. Maybe this will be the year after all, the team identity is meshing, and the Sounders will be a very tough team to beat this year.