GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA – Sounders FC used almost every available minute Tuesday before earning its passage through to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals next year.
The Sounders punched their ticket with a 2-2 draw at Comunicaciones. Both Seattle goals came from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso – the second coming in the 89th minute.
“I’m very happy,” Alonso said. “I’m very proud of myself. We get a result tonight. We get to advance to the next round, which is good for the team.”
The tying sequence came as Sammy Ochoa sent a ball to Fredy Montero in front of the goal. Montero went to the turf and knocked the ball back to Alonso, who fired into the back of the net.
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The result moves the Sounders to 3-1-1 and assures that they will be one of the two teams to go through to the knockout stage. Seattle will finish at the top of Group D with either a win or a draw when Monterrey (3-2) visits CenturyLink Field on Oct. 18.
“Our goal as a team was to tie,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Comunicaciones was playing a lot of long balls in behind, so we had to do a better job of making sure we ran and got to those long balls. Our team has very good character, so I was very confident that we could come and tie the game. I think we have the most come-from-behind wins and ties in our league. It’s in the character of this team.”
Seattle came from behind twice to get this result as rain pelted down at Estadio Cementos Progreso.
The home side jumped ahead in the seventh minute, when Transito Montepeque streaked behind the Seattle defense and lifted the ball over charging Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller. The ball kissed the underside of the crossbar and went in.
Alonso equalized in the 44th minute. That play began with a long throw into the box by Zach Scott. The throw bounced and then a weak clearance attempt went to Alonso, whose shot deflected off a defender but continued in.
The Creams pulled ahead again in the 63rd minute as Keller went out to grab a corner kick but misplayed the ball down to Rafael Morales, who knocked it into the open net.
“I thought we made a couple of mistakes that were uncharacteristic of us, especially with Kasey Keller making that kind of mistake,” Schmid said. “I think we bailed him out tonight. But we are very, very happy.”
Comunicaciones’ lead held until less than two minutes remained in regulation, when Alonso provided his final heroics.
“Even though he doesn’t score most of the goals, he’s our most valuable player,” defender Tyson Wahl said. “I think if you ask anyone else, they would say that. So even if he is not scoring goals, he is making a difference elsewhere. Tonight (Alonso) was finishing off some of his chances, so it’s good.”
Today, the Sounders will travel directly from Guatemala to Foxborough, Mass., where they will resume MLS play Saturday against the New England Revolution.
More quotes and information on the game are available at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.
Sounders FC at New England Revolution, 4:30 p.m., Channel 6/16, 97.3-FM