Tigres 1 : 0 Sounders FC
Sounders fans can take a glass half full approach to tonight’s 1-0 loss in Mexico. Alan Pulido headed the only goal in the 74th minute but that was the sum total of their efforts and they will need to play better to resist Sounders second leg home advantage.
The more pessimistic will note that the first three hours of their season has elapsed without scoring a goal but those voices are likely to be fewer than those who see a chance of real progress in this tournament.
Djimi Traore made his Sounders debut in Mexico partnering Jhon Hurtado at centre half.
The traffic headed towards the Sounders goal from the very start. Leo Gonzalez cleared off the line in the third minute from Lucas Lobos with Gspurning stranded.
The Austrian then tipped over an effort by Garcia nine minutes later with Alberto Acosta once more the provider. Gspurning also held a Lobos drive just after the half hour. Garcia fired wide from inside the six yard box as Seattle rode their luck.
Fernandez then his a fresh air shot in the 43rd albeit from a tough angle but Seattle survived the first half with a combination of good defending and poor finishing. Tigres for all their 63% of the play and seven shots on goal were frustrated.
Gspurning foiled Garcia again in the 49th but the offside flag had been raised as the striker raced clean through. Seattle made it through to the hour mark without further threat.
Tigres perked up on the hour mark. Acosta skinned Scott but his cross cum shot was effective as neither.
Tigres kept going and Alex Caskey saved the Sounders by heading off the goalline in the 65th minute.
With a quarter of an hour left, Alan Pulido’s header finally gave Tigres the lead.
Gspurning parried Lucas Lobos shot but the substitute was on hand to head home. Hands were raised among the defenders for offside but replays showed Lobos had been played onside by Scott and Pulido had stayed onside throughout.
Neagle nearly pulled one back after fine work by Mario Martinez on the left but Enrique Palos got down in time.
Thereafter the Sounders controlled a strangely lethargic Tigres to give themselves a very realistic chance of progress when the two sides meet again in the second leg next Tuesday.
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott (DeAndre Yedlin 81), Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mario Martinez (Marc Burch 89), Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 68), Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Sammy Ochoa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 3 (3 players with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Johnson, Neagle 1); FOULS: 13 (Scott 4); OFFSIDE: 2 (Johnson, Rosales 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Martinez 1); SAVES: 4 (Gspurning 4).
Tigres UANL - Enrique Palos, Israel Jiminez, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Jorge Torres, Acosta (Danilo Veron 76), Jose Torres, Lucas Lobos, Carlos Salcido, Elias Hernandez (Alan Pulido 66), Luis Garcia.
Substitutes Not Used: Aaron Fernandez, Manuel Viniegra, Jose Rivas, Jesus Duenas, Damian Alvarez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (4 players with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Lobos 3); FOULS: 6 (6 players with 1); OFFSIDE: 5 (Acosta 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Torres 4); SAVES: 2 (Palos 2).