After the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders took on Liga MX opposition and came out on top in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series.
He'll rue a couple of open looks he couldn't put on target, but Clint Dempsey
scored in the 78th minute to give the Sounders a 1-0 win over Guadalajara at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle was lucky to be even at the break, needing a big save from keeper Stefan Frei
to stop Alan Pulido
after Sounders center back Roman Torres
slipped, allowing Pulido to break
in all alone on goal.
But in the second half, the Sounders piled the pressure on Chivas. The instigator was an unlikely figure: 18-year-old winger Handwalla Bwana
, a Homegrown
signing out of the University of Washington who was making his first start.
Bwana, who was starting for injured Norwegian Magnus Wolff Eikrem
, was unlucky not to be awarded a
penalty early in the second half and troubled Chivas on their right side.
The goal came soon after Henry Wingo
, another Homegrown player out of UW, came on for Bwana. Wingo fired a
low ball back across the grain to Dempsey, who was all alone at the penalty spot to put away the winner.
Seattle managed to put only six of their 18 shots on goal, but the shutout could
become valuable if it can score next Wednesday at the Estadio Jalisco.
Of the three MLS teams left in the CCL, the Sounders are the most banged up, missing right back Kevin
, Victor Rodriguez
, Osvaldo Alonso
and Jordan Morris
, who is out for the year, in addition to Eikrem.
The Sounders are off this weekend in MLS -- like
Toronto FC -- so they'll be able to rest up for the return match. March 7 in Seattle
Seattle Sounders 1
. Goal: Dempsey 78. Seattle Sounders --
Frei; Francis, Marshall, Torres, McCrary; Roldan, Svensson; Bwana (Wingo 73), Dempsey (Shipp 90), Lodeiro; Bruin (Neagle 80).
Cota; Mayorga, Alanis, Salcido, Cisneros; Brizuela (Pizarro 56), Pineda, Perez (Macias 81), Lopez (Sandoval 67); Pulido, Godinez. Att.: