Seattle Sounders FC surrendered a goal in the second minute Tuesday at CenturyLink Field, and then lost a player to a straight red card in the 55th minute.
Neither of those sounds like part of the recipe for a 4-1 Seattle win, but that’s how it played out in the CONCACAF Champions League opener against Comunicaciones of Guatemala.
“Obviously we’re pleased with a victory, and in this tournament you’ve got to win home games,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “... I thought our team showed a lot of character coming back again from 1-0. And then being 1-1 and having a player ejected, and being a man down and being able to score two goals showed a little bit more.”
In the 55th minute, Lamar Neagle of Federal Way was given a straight red card for an awkward kick that nailed Comunicaciones midfielder Juan Marquez in the chest.
However, the Sounders managed two goals over their first 12 minutes of playing 10-against-11 – both by forward Mike Fucito.
In the 60th minute, Fucito received a pass from Fredy Montero at the top of the penalty box, one-touched around his defender and fired a left-footed shot into the far netting.
Seven minutes later, he took a long rolling pass from Alvaro Fernandez and scored left-footed from 16 yards.
Fucito also assisted Seattle’s opening goal and now has five goals and one assist over his past five CCL matches.
“I’m just trying to make the most of opportunities and doing what I can for the team when given the opportunity,” he said. “... I thought Fredy played a great ball, and so did (Fernandez), and I was able to get in and finish.”
In the 79th minute, Patrick Ianni seemed to commit an own goal before clearing the ball. However, no goal was awarded and Comunicaciones’ Edgard Martinez was sent off for abusive language in his complaint. The game ended with each club playing with 10 men.
The final score was set in the 87th minute on an own-goal by Comunicaciones’ Rigoberto Gomez.
“Four goals, it’s tough to explain,” Comunicaciones coach Ivan Sopegno said through a translator. “The first half was excellent, and we had a good handle on the match. But the reality of football is like this: The other team all of a sudden became precise and very fast.”
The Creams jumped ahead in the second minute, after Bryan Ordonez launched a cross into the box. Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss started after it, but got trapped in no-man’s land where he watched Jairo Arreola head it into the net.
“The first goal shook everyone up a little bit – maybe (Boss) as well,” Schmid said. “After that he settled in and played OK. We can’t play (goalkeeper Kasey Keller) every game. He needs some rest as well. I thought Terry played well.”
The Sounders drew even in the 35th minute as Brad Evans got on the end of a Fucito corner kick. Evans headed it – sort of – into the underside of the crossbar and it rebounded down just across the goal line.
“One hundred percent came off the shoulder,” Evans said. “Well, it came off my head, but then it hit my shoulder. I think if it would’ve come off my head, the guy would’ve saved it. Luckily it came off the shoulder and went over his head kind of.”
It was Evans first appearance since June 18, when he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Also returning to action was defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who had been out with a leg injury since July 10.
“I thought both of their returns were good,” Schmid said.
The Sounders shift back to MLS play at 6 p.m. Saturday at FC Dallas.
Their next Champions League match is 5 p.m. Tuesday at Monterrey.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer