BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The Seattle Sounders advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League after a stunning 3-1 win over Tigres in the second leg of their series.
Tigres won the first leg 1-0 in Mexico and in the return leg, the Liga Mx leaders elected not to start many of their first team regulars. Tigres coach Ricardo Ferretti, however, gave American Jonathan Bornstein a rare start in left midfield.
The game began poorly for Seattle when Tigres took the lead in the 23rd minute. On the play, Bornstein fed Alberto Acosta on the left side who beat Seattle left back DeAndre Yedlin and moved into the box. His low cross found Elias Hernandez who slammed it past Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning for a 1-0 lead.
Tigres' goal gave them a 2-0 lead on aggregate and their away goal required Seattle to score at least three goals if they were to win the series.
Just before the halftime whistle, Seattle was given a lifeline when Tigres were reduced to 10 players when Manuel Viniegra was given his second yellow card when he frustratingly kicked the ball away after a foul had been called.
In the second half, Seattle began their remarkable comeback taking advantage of an undermanned Tigres team.
In the 53rd minute, the 19 year old Yedlin hit a hard driving shot from nearly 25 yards that took a deflection and beat Tigres keeper Jorge Diaz de Leon.
Only seven minutes later in the 60th, Djimi Traore hit one of the best goals in the history of Major League Soccer when his shot from 30 yards cleanly beat Leon to even the score on aggregate 2-2.
Needing one more goal because of Tigres' advantage in away goals, Seattle continued to press forward and eventually found their series winner through US international Eddie Johnson who took a pass from Steve Zakuani and got behind the Tigres defense on the left side. He then beat Leon with a near post shot from a tight angle send the Seattle crowd into delirium.
With the win, Seattle will face the winner of the series between the Houston Dynamo and Santos Laguna. Houston currently has a 1-0 lead after the first leg with the return leg being held on Wednesday in Mexico.
For Seattle, this is the furthest the club has ever advanced in this tournament.