Seattle Sounders FC entered last night’s second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League play-in series with Panamanian side San Francisco trailing 1-0.
No matter: they donned their killer, highlighter-yellow alternate kit (seriously, we like those things), and got a 41st-minute goal from Alvaro Fernandez to tie up the series, and then, after knocking on the door, repeatedly, for the remainder of regular time and into the extra session, they got a 98th-minute winner from Nate Jaqua.
See below for the one-way-traffic highlights:
The winning goal was sweet relief for Jaqua, who’d fluffed a golden chance earlier. While the game was pretty exciting, as the highlights illustrate, San Francisco was given to much diving and time-wasting, both of which marred the proceedings a bit. (On the positive side for SF, they got a fantastic performance from their keeper, Miguel Torres.)
Fortunately for Seattle and their fans, the Sounders were able to turn their 28-5 shot advantage into a win and a ticket into the CCL group stage.
Seattle’s victory, combined with Toronto FC’s win at Real Esteli (Nicaragua) on Tuesday, and FC Dallas’s 1-0 win over Alianza FC (El Salvador) last night, gave MLS a sweep of its CCL play-in series and put five teams from the league into the CCL group stage—an unprecedented achievement.
This week’s three winners join automatic qualifiers Colorado (2010 MLS Cup titlists) and Los Angeles (2010 Supporters’ Shield winners) in the 24-team group phase.
The next round begins on Aug. 16.
Here are the highlights from Dallas’s 1-0 win over Alianza last night at Pizza Hut Park, where the temperature was—wait for it, Mohamed bin Hammam—107 degrees at kickoff:
Yeah, it’s hot in Texas right now. But a landmark win for the Hoops, one coach Schellas Hyndman called “historic” and “a great moment for this organization.”
Clearly, MLS teams are taking the CCL more seriously every year (Seattle fielded a full-strength team vs San Francisco) and that can only be good for the league’s credibility in the region and the world.