Mexico respect is small consolation after Sounders' exit

Like in the first leg, the Seattle Sounders took the lead against defending champion (and full-strength) Club America late in the first half of the second leg in Azteca Stadium only to quickly blow the lead. Worse, they trailed by halftime and eventually dropped a 3-1 decision that sent them out of the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, 5-3 on aggregate.

In the first leg, a great free kick by Clint Dempsey put the Sounders ahead. On Wednesday, fortune struck as Osvaldo Alonso's cross deflected off America's Pablo Aguilar into the goal in the 41st minute.

But before the Sounders knew it, America was ahead, responding on a counter like it did in Seattle and equalizing on Darwin Quintero's header in the 42nd minute and taking the lead on header by Oribe Peralta on another cross by Sambueza.

A second Seattle goal would have tied the series, but America needed only five minutes into the second half to take extend the lead to 3-1 in the 50th minute, when Paul Aguilar set up Andres Andrade.

Three years ago, the Sounders became the first MLS team to eliminate a Liga MX club in the knockout phase of the Concacaf Champions League when it beat Tigres, fielding many reserves, 3-1, in the second leg. Club America went with its first team against the Sounders.

That new respect was a silver lining for Sounders coach Sigi Schmid after their exit.

“I think [the difference] is much smaller than it used to be,” he said. “If you go back two or three years, Liga MX teams would play half-reserve teams against us. They don’t play reserve teams against us anymore. They know if they play reserve teams against us, they’re probably not going to win.”

TRIVIA. All four series the Sounders have played in the CCL knockout stage have been against Mexican teams. They lost to Santos in 2012 and 2013 in addition to beating Tigres and losing to Club America.

March 2 in Mexico City

Club America 3 Seattle Sounders 1. Goal: Quintero 42, Peralta 45+1, Andrade 50; own goal 41.
Club America -- Gonzalez, Paul Aguilar, Goltz, Pablo Aguilar, Samudio; Sambueza (Benedetto 83), Martinez, Guerrero, Andrade (Lozano 64); Peralta (Moreno 73), Quintero.
Seattle Sounders --
Frei; Mears, Evans, Marshall, J.Jones; Friberg (D.Jones 75), Alonso, Ivanschitz (Roldan 70); Morris (Kovar 70), Valdez, Dempsey.
1 comment about "Mexico respect is small consolation after Sounders' exit".
  1. Ric Fonseca, March 3, 2016 at 2:05 p.m.

    Sorry to see my good friend Sigi's Sounders lose, however I must say that Sigi is a gracious winner and loser. I must further also say that he is perhaps one the last breed of US-trained coaches, (was born in Germany, but raised in the US) who has seen US soccer literally progress and grow from his freshman year at UCLA to the present, a feat that I dare say not many other coaches can match. The point being, is that his assessment of the game is right on the money, and if there is someone else out there that can take this perhaps painful loss in stride and be a gentleman about it, it is my good friend and amigo, Coach Sigi.

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