Photos by Max Aquino and Casey Woodrum
Captions by Toby Dunkelberg
Club America traveled up to Seattle to meet the Seattle Sounders for the first leg of the 2016 CONCACAF Quarter Final. They were met by a stunning Club America contingent who made up around 10,000 of the 42, 836 in attendance.
This was the first competitive test for the Sounders new 4–3–3 formation, and their first game of the post-Obafemi era. There is no bigger club on the continent and no bigger test to mark the end of preseason.
Seattle came out strong, controlling the first 20 minutes and proving that their 4–0 win at LA in a torrential downpour wasn’t a fluke. Part of the Sounders possession advantage was Club America being content sitting and defending, confident in their speed advantage on the counter.
Jordan Morris wasted no time in his first professional start. In the 12th minute the vaunted homegrown had a point blank header in on goal that took a tremendous save from Hugo Gonzalez to keep it scoreless.
America’s counters began to bear fruit in the 27th minute when Rubens Sambuezza got in clear on the right side. His shot hit the underside of the crossbar but somehow managed to bounce out wide.
A very back and forth first half finished in a tremendous finale. In the 44th minute Clint Dempsey and Andreas Ivanshitz lined up for a free kick from just outside the box. The US national teamer stepped up and curved it perfectly around America’s wall to make it 1–0 Seattle.
Club America followed suit just minute later as Darwin Quintero’s persistent runs over the top finally ended with an onside look behind Seattle’s back line. Quintero eluded Evans and managed to cooly slot the ball by Frei to tie things up at 1–1.
A good spell of possession for Seattle to start out the second half culminated in a 52nd minute goal off a corner kick. Ivanschitz’s inswinger connected with Dempsey for a header that would be the forward’s second goal of the night.
Club America continues with their long balls and adds calm passing around Seattle’s box to ramp up the pressure. Numerous times all that stood between America and another goal was an offsides flag.
Club America’s tenacity was rewarded in the 70th minute when their intricate passing around the 18-yard box ended in a cross that Oribe Peralta connected with for the crucial second away goal.
The Sounders subbed on Kovar, Roldan, and Jones, trying to push for a third. Seattle’s youngsters inconsistency reared it’s head as sloppy turnovers stifled promising attacks and allowed Club America to keep their foot on the gas.
The chippy but controlled match started to get out of hand as time wound down. Both sides saw yellow cards for consistent fouls and arguing with the referee.
The game ended 2–2. It was a disappointing result for Seattle with the two away goal forming a formidable obstacle after an otherwise impressive performance. Club America seems poised to continue their CONCACAF Champions League dominance as they have the upper hand headed into the second leg which takes place at Mexico City on March 2nd.
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