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Seattle holds serve against Santos
by Ridge Mahoney, March 8th, 2012 1:23AM

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TAGS:  concacaf champions league, seattle sounders

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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] They gave up a goal to one of their former players but still the Seattle Sounders held serve at home by beating Santos Laguna of Mexico, 2-1, in the first leg of their quarterfinal at Century Link Field Wednesday.

Trailing 1-0 to a first-half David Estrada goal, Santos Laguna equalized when Herculez Gomez ran onto a diagonal ball clipped by Marc Crosas and rolled a shot inside the far post. Seattle struck right back less than two minutes later with a Brad Evans header from a superb Mauro Rosales free kick, and withstood some Santos pressure to preserve the advantage to the final whistle.

With crisp passing and intelligent movement, Seattle maintained possession for long stretches. Its workrate and pressure in all areas of the field helped subdue the attack of Santos, which had scored 16 goals in six group games.

In the first half, the Sounders carried much of the play before and after Estrada scored in the 12th minute. Fredy Montero drifted away from the back line and from midfield clipped a ball to the right side that Estrada headed past former Mexican international goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s toughest moment came in the 19th minute when Gomez smashed a shot from the right side that he deflected with a somewhat awkward lunge. Gspurning, in his first appearance before the home fans, easily handled a Crosas shot from distance later in the half and Santos put two other decent chances over the crossbar.

After falling behind for the second time, Santos pushed in search of another equalizer but generated only a few shots that either skipped wide or Gspurning covered with no trouble.

Eddie Johnson made his first appearance for an MLS team since 2007 when he replaced Alvaro Fernandez in the 78th minute. He got his head to a Rosales chip and headed it wide. Santos players appealed for a penalty kick in the final seconds when a cross struck the arm of Seattle right back Adam Johansson on the edge of the penalty area but referee Walter Quesada pointed for a corner kick instead.

The second leg is Wednesday at Estadio Corona in Torreon. The two-game series is decided by total goals. Seattle will advance with a tie; with its away goal, Santos holds the advantage if the aggregate score is even at the end of regulation of the second leg.

Quarterfinal, 1st leg
March 8 in Seattle
Seattle 2, Santos Laguna 1. Goals: D. Estrada 12, Evans 63; Gomez 61.
Santos Laguna – Sanchez, Mares, Galindo, Hoyos, J. Estrada, Crosas, Rodriguez (Salinas, 84), Ludueña (Ramirez, 74), Gomez (Ochoa, 84), Peralta, Suarez.
Seattle – Gspurning, Johansson, Hurtado, Parke, Gonzalez, Alonso, Evans, Fernandez (Johnson, 78), Rosales, Montero,  Estrada (Burch, 93).
Referee: W. Quesada.
Att.: 23,433.



24 comments
  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 9:39 a.m.
    "with its away goal, Santos holds the advantage if the aggregate score is even at the end of regulation of the second leg." -- this is wrong. If let's say Santos wins 3-2, Seattle will go through with an even aggregate score on the away goals rule.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 9:50 a.m.
    Have to give it to Seattle, they played some high pressure defense and gave Santos a hard time. Both teams brought their best teams. Even though I still think Santos will move to the next round Seattle proved to be dangerous and Santos will not take them litely. I couldn't help but notice more than 1/2 of Seattle's lineup was Hispanic, with a fee European. How many of those players are actually American? Anybody know?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 10:27 a.m.
    Yes I noticed too. Kind of makes you wonder why Gomez was never given a real chance on usmnt. Why is it racist to you that I ask this question. If you were a real "American" you would want more American players on our best American MLS teams. Wouldn't you?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
    Atrocious? Lol. You are not a true American. So you want the MLS to be at the highest standard even if it means having 70-80% of the starting lineup being foreign players?? Lol. So your pride lies in the American ownership of the MLS team and not its American players. There are way too few Americans going over seas to state this will help all or most Americans improve. Don't be dumb.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
    How many foreign players on this Seattle team you are so proud of, Super??

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
    Super, that's my point. The only reason these MLS teams are now competing with Mexican club teams is because of foreign players. So what makes you proud is the fact that an American club has the money and desire to hire foreign players and not develop or hire more "American" players. I don't think that transaltes into being a proud American. You have to agree that the main reason that soccer stadiums are selling more tickets is because of these very foreign players. The Mexican league clubs are 75-100% Mexican players on their teams. There is always controversy when there are more foreign players on these teams. This pushes clubs to develop homegrown talent. Thats what I call pride. Maybe the USA should do the same and show some true American spirit. English clubs have way too many foreign players and their national teams have done nothing for a while bow.

  1. Doug Martin
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.
    I remember Torreon and Santos V Montreal, Seattle will be in tough down south, hope the Seattle fans go and enjoy the hospitality in the new stadium, well worth the adventure.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
    If you weren't a racist you would see my comments are pro American. Countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico have rules of only few foreigners or none per team. This forces them to develop the best players in the world to play on the best teams in the world. That is pride to me. They are proud of their country, local teams, local players. It all goes together. Sounders, a group of foreigners, representing an americcan club, will not help establish true American pride to American players. Wake up dumby.

  1. les Bleus
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
    You both are crazy I don't think either of you know what a racist means, Luis I'm proud of all the sounders I don't care where their born they choose to live and play here in the US, and that is as American as it gets that's how this country was made. Wake up dumby!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 5:10 p.m.
    That's great Bleu. You are proud of them np matter what. Cool.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
    We should ask the first Americans and ask what it truly means to them. Any American Indians out there?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
    Those American rules are doing exactly that more than ever. To the point where kids can't go to school in some states or you get pulled over for the color of you're skin.

  1. Robert Schaefer
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 5:45 p.m.
    Ridiculous, pointless invective by both Super and Luis who are total strangers, but equally convinced that the other is *racist*. The truth is highly likely that neither of you are racist or anti-american. Look, here is the deal: MLS allows Eight international slots on the senior squad of 20 by league rules. Every single MLS team uses all eight slots, and if they don't they are crazy (or are simply lucky to have enough domestic player talent to compete). The inclusion of international players only makes MLS better, and the limit of eight slots per team assures that the league remains very much a showcase of American athletes, most notably home grown youth players. Thanks to Klinsman's strategy to focus on youth academy programs, in a decade or so, we will see the FMF teams down south facing very stiff and nearly equal competition with MLS. I project absolute parity with FMF by the MLS's 30th season.

  1. Tom Wilson
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
    An entertaining, financially viable league will incent our talented youth to choose soccer. If eight foreign born players is the price to pay, it's well worth it. I don't see Barcelona fans looking to send Messi back to Argentina.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
    I ain't mad brother. I can do this all day. Its great that I can't point out certain things to spark Hispanic pride in this country that is much needed at the time. You're remarks just give me fuel. Keep up the good work.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 10:05 a.m.
    Tom and Robert, I see your point but in this country we will end up sacrificing player development and national pride for more and more money. England is the perfect example. That's why everyone is pissed out there. Of course in 30+ years MLS will compete with Mexico. I hope they do so Mexico teams are pushed to raise the bar themselves as its been to easy for them to win these events and then end up losing to and Asian or African team. But the MLS will achieve this only with more and better paid foreign players and not with homegrown players. There is no concrete player development program at the moment or for the future. The Mls should be forced by Fifa to have at least a 2nd division like everywhere else where buying foregin players has proven not to be the only answer. Where there are 2nd and 3rd divisions teams are forced to invest evenly in scouting, player development, etc. Why does the USA think they can do things differently? MLS just fixed a rule permitting them to pay a young foreign player more than a domestic player. Why??

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
    Sure Super. What makes you think I am not already one?

  1. StrikerBob Norman
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 10:47 a.m.
    I manage property and have two Mexican friends who I have hired to do repair work at my buildings. One is certainly legal, and the other is iffy, but one thing is certain. I bought 15 tickets and took their families to the Monterrey game last year, and to my surprise they were Sounder fans! They even had colors to wear, but had not yet been to a match. One son is born here and like his dad is built like Maradona. He never heard of him, but I said to him that I bet no one can take the ball from him and he just moves through opposing players like a bowling ball. He wants to watch old clips of Maradona now because that is his style, being short, broad and strong. The point is that America is a land of immigrants and as long as we continue to provide opportunity for those who want a better life, we will continue to change our national character. That has translated to soccer as immigrants from Africa, Mexico and South America bring to the fore "the beautiful game" to our national sports consciousness. Ranters like Luis and Super Man should be ignored, as their xenophobia has no place in the hearts of reasonable and true men. They are just mindless chatter that will fade in the reality of an ever changing American demographic that hopefully will always recognize that our human rights as brothers and sisters were endowed to us by our Creator. Sounders till I die!

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
    MLS parity with foreign leagues? Until the American players demonstrate comfort on the ball, efficacy, recognition of choice and simplicity of play, there is no comparison except for athleticism.

  1. Robert Schaefer
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.
    Luis, you are wrong with your suggestion that home grown talent will not pay off. Just you wait and see. It already has. Klinsman has the right strategy, which is to identify the top %1 potential talent and get them started in professional youth system instead of the dead-end pointless trap known as *high school soccer*. Recently, American (and FC Dallas) center back George John spent two months on loan with West Ham. He stated that at 24 he has been a professional for 3 years, whereas the English kids at 24 have been training professionally for 8 years, and that makes a big difference. So the new youth system, which identifies talented kids early on and provides them with professional quality training (instead of being coached by the biology teacher over at Jerk-off High School). American footie is going to reap big benefits within the next decade. Having about 8 International slots for MLS is just about perfect. One could argue for more or less, but it serves to improve the league AND to improve American players by exposing them to different styles of play, while drawing more paying fans into MLS stadiums. To Super Man, I do think it was take a bit longer to be level with the Mexican league simply because of salary levels. Once our youth system pans out, we will have affordable talent that can be sold to other leagues, which in turn will generate into more dollars into the sport, leading to higher MLS player salaries. Expect an adjustment at the next collective bargaining in four years! This is all good news for American football lovers. The Mexican Leagues are the ones who are *xenophobic.* Can you imagine if the LA Galaxy had a *Caucasians Only* policy for player signings?? That is more or less the Chivas "Mexicans only" policy for many years. Meanwhile, our American teams will have lots of beautiful, top quality Hispanic, Caucasian, African-American, and Asian kids all wearing the USMNT shirt. Our diversity will lead to a better MLS, who will crush the Mexican teams once the dollars catch up. I long to see that day, and the tide is just now beginning to turn! :-)

  1. Robert Schaefer
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
    *I w Nowozeniuk* When the new youth league training strategy begins to bear fruit and more player salaries break the seven figure barrier, I guarantee that you'll see plenty of "comfort on the ball." ;-)

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 1:29 p.m.
    Robert, you sound like a gentleman and I respect that. The system that Klins is trying to setup is ok. The problem is he is depending on the Academies to do the right thing. There is no realistic incentive for MLS teams to develop their own players. They can't profit from a player until they are 18. There is no number of talents they are accountable for per year. All they have is wins and rankings to justify their prices at the younger levels where it is extremely profitable. You have a bunch of "PreAcademy" teams at U13, U14 that everyone wants to be on and will pay whatever it takes, yet only less than 1/2 truly make the real. Academy. Its currently all about wins in these Academies at every age proving they are more worried about the money from youths than they are about development. They simply do not go together.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 1:37 p.m.
    The reason Chivas does this is because they would rather develop Mexican talent than spend money for foreigners like America is famous for. I see nothing wrong with that in a country where all other races are extremely low in numbers. USA is different situation. I don't mean to sound negative but I just have a problem with the hipocracy that this country has lived with many years. In a perfect world where all people would think like you people like me would not have to react like I do. I hope that day comes, more than you think.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 9, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.
    The problem is they don't get to sell them until they are 18. A player usually goes pro at 16-17. 14-15 is when a club ideally wants the player to implement their style of play or truly proffessional training. If a USA player has to wait until he is 18 to play pro it usually means that is all he will be good enough to accomplish, therefore no money it for the MLS academy he came out of or not really worth the risk or the investment.


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