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Monterrey plays for draw, happily accepts victory in Seattle

SEATTLE – Monterrey arrived at Qwest Field on Wednesday looking very much like a team eager to earn a draw and head happily home with one point.

Instead, the visitors return to Mexico with the victors’ three points after taking advantage of a couple blunders for a 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders before a crowd of 22,513.

Through the early going Monterrey seemed to milk time with dubious injuries and played cautiously in the rare moments when they were upright.

They allowed Seattle lots of possession while seeming content to hope something might develop out of a Sounders mistake.

That’s what happened in the 41st minute as a not-very threatening Monterrey counter turned into a goal.

Jesus Zavala started it with a seemingly routine cross into the box. It turned threatening when Neri Cardozo managed to get his head to the ball just ahead of goalkeeper Kasey Keller’s reach and steered the ball into the open net.

The Sounders almost equalized in the 47th minute when Sanna Nyassi streaked down the left side and beat keeper Jonathan Orozco to the inside, but the ball hit the near post.

The next chance was Monterrey’s, and they took advantage. Cardozo lobbed a pass into the box to Aldo de Nigris, who beat an offside trap. Facing Keller one-on-one, he blazed his shot to the back of the net.

The result drops the Sounders to 0-2 in Champions League group play, six points behind 2-0 Monterrey. In order to climb out of that hole and advance, the Sounders will likely need points out of all four remaining matches – perhaps three wins and a draw.

Seattle returns to Champions League play on Sept. 14, visiting Saprissa of Costa Rica.

But first, resumption of MLS play looms Saturday when the Chicago Fire and former Sounders designated player Freddie Ljungberg arrive at Qwest Field.

Meanwhile, at least one more Mexican first division team is assured of playing at Qwest Field this season, as the Sounders confirmed Wednesday that 11-time champion Chivas de Guadalajara will visit for a friendly match Oct. 12.

Tickets will go on sale Sept. 13.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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