By: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – The Sounders’ hopes of making it out of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League are officially circling the drain after their second loss in a week. This latest defeat came at the hands of Mexican side CF Monterrey who neatly handed the Sounders a 2-0 loss right on the heels of a disappointing 2-1 outcome away to CD Marathon.
The match got off to a slow start as players from both teams took every challenge as an opportunity to claim injury and waste time on the ground, but Referee Joel Aguilar closed down the play acting with a stern talking to. Monterrey really started to get in their stride around the 18’, making it clear they didn’t travel all that way for a draw. Momentum continued to build for the visiting side throughout the first half as they settled into a fluid passing pattern and got onto the end of the ball.[picappgallerysingle id=”9607659″]
In contrast, Seattle’s first half play was completely uninspired and lacked a good final touch. Suffering from an overall void in creativity they looked as if they didn’t realize there was a game on. The Sounders best chance of the half came in the 36’ off a Sunna Nyassi pass to Fredy Montero who was within thirty yards of goal. Montero was unable to get the ball under control however and sent a stuttering shot wide right.
Monterrey’s use of space and crisp play was rewarded in the 41’ when midfielder Neri Cardoza hit a beautifully arcing header right into the empty net, getting the best of Kasey Keller off the bounce from Jesus Zavala.
The Sounders made one change to start the second half, subbing Nate Jaqua for Blaise Nkufo. Sloppy passing continued to plague Seattle, easily giving the ball away and allowing Monterrey to control the flow of play. Short bursts of intensity periodically interrupted the Sounders otherwise troubled performance, like in the 47’ when Jaqua set up a brilliant opportunity in the box for Nyassi but unfortunately the shot went off the post.
Nyassi was without a doubt the hardest working player of the night, creating most of Seattle’s first half chances by breaking wide on the right. His effort continued after the break with the early goal attempt and later running down a Monterrey forward from midfield and winning the ball with a sliding tackle.
Seattle got lucky in the 55’ when Monterrey should have made it 2-0 on a header from Dario Carreno that went just wide. But the luck ran out in the 58’ when Mexican international Aldo de Nigris lofted a shot right over Keller’s head and left the Sounders defense looking. Leaving Nigris completely unmarked landed Seattle in two goal hole.
Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco was briefly tested in the 76’ on a low ball from Montero that was easily cleared. Montero failed to make an impact on the match, infrequently touching the ball and failing to make use of opportunities like a perfectly placed rebound from a Jaqua header in the 60’ that landed right at his feet in front of goal.
Sounders fans thought they had something to cheer about in the 89’ when Jaqua sent one into the back of the net but it was disallowed for offside. Monterrey played keep away with ball during the final four minutes of stoppage time, not willing to give up their clean sheet. So the Sounders go into their next Champions League game still looking for points and on the road at Costa Rican side Saprissa.