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Narrow defeat at Tigres gives Sounders hope
March 7th, 2013 12:20AM

TAGS:  concacaf champions league, mexico, seattle sounders


CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The Seattle Sounders certainly did better than they did on their last trip to Mexico for the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals. Eliminated from last year's competition with a 6-1 loss at Santos, the Sounders fell, 1-0, to Tigres before a packed house at the Estadio Universitario in Monterrey. The result gives the MLS club every hope when it returns home Tuesday for the second leg.

"We're happy that we're in a position that we can win this thing in Seattle," said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. "Obviously, our history and the last two years with two-games series in the league, we go down 3-0. I thought it was important that once we took that goal we maintained our defensive integrity and made sure that we didn't take another goal. That was a mistake that we made in the past games. I feel good about where we are. We're still at the beginning of our season, so I don't think it was our best soccer. I think our best soccer is ahead of us, and being at home in front of our fans with a good chance to advance in this tournament is where we wanted to be."

Tigres held an 18-3 edge in shots, but Alan Pulido scored the game's only goal in the 74th minute. In the third minute, left back Leo Gonzalez cleared a shot off the line, and in the 66th minute, Alex Caskey blocked a header on frame with his head.

Schmid said staying with Tigres was all the more remarkable because it is the hottest team in Mexico, and the Sounders are just beginning their season and were without Steve Zakuani.

Former Liverpool defender Djimi Traore started at center back, making his Sounders debut. Osvaldo Alonso (suspended for the MLS opener) and Lamar Neagle both made their 2013 debuts.

Still, Schmid said the Sounders only have a chance if they improve their game.

"We need to do a better job possessing the ball,:" he said. "We need to create attacking movements of our own. We need to play with that confidence. We need to put more pressure on their midfield so that we can win the ball back a little bit sooner. Early in the game, we turned the ball over at times when we shouldn't have turned it over, so we need to make sure we avoid those."

-- U.S. international Jose Torres had a strong game for Tigres, showing why he has fit in so well since his winter move from Pachuca.

-- Defending champion Monterrey looks set to advance to the final four with a 3-1 win at Guatemala's Xelaju. The first leg of the quarterfinals conclude Thursday when Herediano of Costa Rica hosts the LA Galaxy (TV: FOX Soccer, 7 p.m. ET).

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