SEATTLE — A second-half goal by Herculez Gomez gave Santos Laguna a 1-0 win over Sounders FC on Tuesday at CenturyLink Field and a commanding position in their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series.
The result means the Sounders will have to make up a goal when the series resolves this Tuesday in Torreon, Mexico. Road goals serve as the first tiebreaker.
Seattle had to cobble together a lineup without forwards Eddie Johnson (toe), Obafemi Martins (leg) and David Estrada (eye) up front, and without goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (yellow card accumulation) in back.
Coach Sigi Schmid adapted by going with a 4-5-1 formation with Sammy Ochoa as the lone forward and Shalrie Joseph making his Sounders debut among the thicket of midfielders.
Santos brought along its stars but still started cautiously, seeming to follow the script that says a road draw is a satisfactory result.
However, they became more aggressive as the game progressed.
Santos broke through in the 54th minute, when Carlos Quintero hit a hard shot that Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann was able to block but not control. Gomez was first to the loose ball and scorched what proved to be the winner inside the far post.
The game was played before a crowd of 21,057.
The Sounders will return to training today and will begin their trip to Mexico on Sunday.
The winner of this series will go to the CCL final against the winner of the Los Angeles Galaxy-Monterrey series.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org