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’ second-half rebound goal was all that separated the clubs at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino as Olimpia beat Seattle, 1-0.
“I’m proud of my team,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “We used a very young team without some (key players).”
At 1-1-1, Seattle remains at the top of Group F with four points, followed by Olimpia 1-1-0 (three points) and Vancouver 0-0-1 (one). But the Sounders’ inability to score also gave a potentially decisive tiebreaker — head-to-head 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 one week before when the Sounders rallied late for a 2-1 win.
On Wednesday, the teams played 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 same starting 11 he had used in the previous Olimpia match. Ten of those players are generally reserves during MLS games — the exception being forward Lamar Neagle of Federal Way.
There was, however, a notable change on the Seattle bench where Marco Pappa was 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 the pitch in the 70th minute.
The Sounders next turn into CCL spectators when Olimpia visits Vancouver on Sept. 16. Those teams will conclude group play Oct. 22 in Honduras.
Meanwhile, Seattle returns to MLS action at 2 p.m. Sunday, when the Portland Timbers visit.
Staff writer Don Ruiz contributed to this report.