Sounders find the net, victory

3 goals in 22-minute span lift Seattle past Mexican squad, into CONCACAF semifinals

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comMarch 13, 2013 

Sounders FC scored three goals in a 22-minute span to roar past Tigres UANL and into the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal round.

The 3-1 victory Tuesday night at CenturyLink Field gave Seattle a 3-2 aggregate-goal win in the series. The result makes the Sounders the first Major League Soccer club to eliminate a Mexican club in the knockout rounds of Champions League.

Seattle went into the match needing to overcome the 1-0 advantage Tigres had taken in the series opener last week in Mexico.

The road became considerably steeper in the 23rd minute, when Tigres forward Elias Hernandez broke behind the Sounders defense and won his one-on-one battle with goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

That put the visitors ahead 1-0 on the night, 2-0 on aggregate, and because they now had a road goal, it meant Seattle would need at least three goals to advance.

That seemed a mountain to climb for a club that hadn’t scored in either of its first two competitions this season. But Tigres was a man down after midfielder Manuel Viniegra had been sent off just before halftime with his second yellow card.

Seattle’s scoreless streak reached 252 minutes before DeAndre Yedlin sent a 28-yard volley past Tigres goalkeeper Jorge Diaz de Leon in the 53rd minute.

Seattle’s second goal came eight minutes later from even greater distance as newly acquired defender Djimi Traore launched a ball that skimmed under the crossbar and into the net.

That pulled the Sounders even on aggregate, but they still needed another to overcome the Tigres’ advantage in the away-goal tie-breaker. That goal came in the 75th minute when Eddie Johnson took a pass from Steve Zakuani, made a run down the left side and fired at a tight angle into the far netting.

Seattle returns to MLS play at 5 p.m. Saturday when the Portland Timbers visit CenturyLink.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808

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