Seattle Sounders FC (4-0-0, 12 points in CCL) concluded its undefeated run in the CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage with a 3-1 victory over CD Marathon (1-2-1, 4 points in CCL) Wednesday night on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Seattle finished the group stage as one of three perfect teams, and has clinched the No. 3 seed in next March’s quarterfinal round.
Sammy Ochoa scored in his fourth straight Champions League game and is now tied for second with four goals in this year’s tournament.
Sounders FC finished the group stage unbeaten for the first time in club history, and the four straight Champions League wins matches last season’s team record for most consecutive wins in the tournament. Seattle is one of three teams to finish this year’s group stage undefeated, along with Mexico’s Monterrey and Santos Laguna, who hold the advantage over Seattle on goal differential.
Ochoa opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute. Mike Seamon and Mario Martinez combined on the right flank, freeing Martinez into space. The Honduran international crossed the ball into the box to Ochoa, who fought around a defender and volleyed the ball inside the near post.
Ochoa leads Sounders FC with four goals in this year’s tournament, and he is the club’s third leading scorer with eight goals across all competitions.
The assist for Martinez gives him two assists in Champions League play. He also assisted Ochoa’s goal in the previous matchup at Marathon on September 19.
Just five minutes after Ochoa’s goal, Seattle doubled the lead when Steve Zakuani got behind the defense on a ball from Jeff Parke, juked a defender in the box, then beat the keeper with a high blast inside the near post.
The goal marked the second across all competitions this season for Zakuani.
Marathon got on the board in 37th minute when Mauricio Sabillon played up to Tulio Vega on the right side of the box for a one-time cross that found Michel Brown for an easy tap-in.
It was the first open-play goal allowed by Sounders FC in this year’s tournament after previously conceding four penalty kicks.
David Estrada added to the lead in the 76th minute. After Martinez’s pass into the box went off the leg of a Marathon defender, Estrada regained control and pounded it into the top of the net.
Sounders FC has scored three goals in each match of the 2012-13 Champions League Group Stage, and the team’s 12 goals broke the club record for scoring in the group stage, topping last year’s mark of 10 goals in six group stage matches.
Seattle goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann made his first appearance for Sounders FC since signing on September 14. The 40-year-old, who last appeared for the USL Sounders in 1996, made four saves, including a stop on a point-blank blast from Brown in the box in the 66th minute. It marked his first appearance in a competitive match since January 30, 2011 in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Sounders FC returns to action Sunday in Southern California for the MLS regular season finale against the LA Galaxy. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. at the Home Depot Center.
CONCACAF Champions League Standings
1. Monterrey 4-0-0 (12 points) +15 (15/0)
2. Santos 4-0-0 (12 points) +12 (13/1)
3. Seattle 4-0-0 (12 points) +7 (12/5)
4. Herediano 3-0-1 (10 points) +3 (4/1)
5. Tigres 2-0-2 (8 points) +9 (12/3)
6. Houston 2-0-2 (8 points) +6 (9/3)
7. LA Galaxy* 2-0-1 (7 points) +7 (9/2)
8. Xelaju* 2-0-1 (7 points) +2 (6/4)
*Two groups still have one game remaining, both to be played on Thursday, October 25. In Group 5, the LA Galaxy visit Metapan, with the Galaxy already clinching advancement to the quarterfinal round. In Group 8, Xelaju visits Guadalajara, with the group winner still to be decided.