By: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – After four consecutive losses in Group C of the CONCACAF Champions League, the Seattle Sounders scraped together a meaningless 2-0 win over Honduras’ CD Marathon with a team made up mostly of reserves and in front of an anemic home crowd of 11,768.
With the Sounders’ most recent nemesis, Costa Rica champions CD Saprissa, pulling out a 2-2 draw Tuesday against group leaders Monterrey, they set up an advancement battle with Marathon while at the same time dashing Seattle’s remaining small hopes of moving into the knock out round.
Dull play from both sides littered the opening minutes of the match which looked more like a passing exercise rather than a game for points. Marathon was mostly stuck inside their own half, rarely maintaining possession and allowing eight corner kicks in the first forty five minutes.
Seattle generated a burst of excitement in the 17’ on a shot from Alvaro Fernandez that went just right but was punched away by CD Marathon keeper Orlin Vellencillo for good measure. But the real thing came shortly after in the 21’ on a goal from Seattle forward Mike Fucito who dodged Marathon’s Adolfo Machado, setting up a dream chance right in front of goal. Making it even sweeter was that this was only Fucito’s second start after sitting out four months with a knee injury.
The Sounders nearly gained a lucky goal early in the second half in the 52’ when Vellencillo made a sloppy clearance on a soft ball from Seattle’s Miguel Montano, bringing back memories of England’s foul up against the USA in the 2010 World Cup. Marthon’s best scoring chance came in the 63’ when forward Carlos Mejia sent a well directed ball just of the crossbar, narrowly missing the goal and seriously testing backup Seattle keeper Terry Boss for the first time of the match.[picappgallerysingle id=”9853385″]
Referee Paul Ward gave Seattle a free kick in the 67’ resulting in a second goal for the home side and Man of the Match Fucito. His textbook free kick sent the ball arcing over the wall and just out of reach of Vallencillo who didn’t even get a fingertip on it. Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid subbed Sanna Nyassi for Fucito shortly afterward in the 71’ after he strained his left ankle, ending the forward’s and fans’ hopes for a hat trick.
Marathon coach Nicolas Sauzo owned the loss saying, “In the Champions League the key is to win at home, away it is always very difficult. Now the game is very different for us. Our team was very imprecise in the beginning and the (Seattle) goal was almost like a psychological punch. It is very hard to come back from that.”
Schmid was obviously pleased with his team’s performance, who out shot the visitors three to one, but expressed his disappointment with their overall results in the Champions League blaming some of it on the uneven scheduling. “There are four MLS teams in the Champions League. You’ll notice that the two who played the first three games away are now out of it. Maybe the scheduling is something that can be adjusted in the future so it is a 2-2 situation.”
The Sounders finish their Group C games at home against Saprissa on October 19. Although it won’t make a difference for their own position, a win could possibly propel Marathon over the Costa Ricans and onto the next stage. Seattle’s next home game is in MLS competition against Toronto on October 2 where they will be looking to further solidify their play off standing.