Sounders FC 3 : 1 Tigres (Sounders win 3-2 on aggregate)
by Ryan Sales
A moment of crass stupidity by Manuel Viniegra on the stroke of half time allowed Sounders a re-entry path back into a game which had been hitherto slipping away from them. Already on a yellow for an identical offence eight minutes previously, the Tigres midfielder mystifyingly kicked the ball away at a late stoppage, and the referee had no hesitation in showing the player his second card.
Elias Hernández had given Tigres a well deserved half time lead but second half goals from DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore and Eddie Johnson secured a semi final berth for the eleven men who had admirably held their discipline throughout.
Tigres dismissively brought only 16 players from Mexico, mostly youngsters having made nine changes from last week. The hosts made three, DeAndre Yedlin, Steve Zakuani and Sammy Ochoa entering for the Sounders. The lack of experience was to cost the Mexicans more than the lack of personnel.
The Sounders started strongly. Most notable after the first 20 minutes were the Sounders efforts to go forward. The creative thought was there, but the final touch and final pass weren’t there to finish the opportunities.
Sounders nearly made a mess of Tigres’ 23rd minute corner which fortunately for the home side passed over top. But the Sounders were not as lucky less than a minute later as Alberto Acosta fed the ball to in-stride Hernandez, who slotted a sure goal past Michael Gspurning.
Andy Rose, then had to come in for Brad Evans in the 27th minute who was holding his left knee.
Gspurning was again tested, making a key save on a shot to the right post. The ensuing corner nearly fell to Tigres’ strong attack up front. Gspurning recovered quickly saving the Sounders from falling further behind.
Eddie Johnson had his best chances come in the 34th minute, only to have his slotted effort fly past the near post. Alonso and Zakuani worked the ball back to Johnson in the 35th but again the chance was saved.
Then came the game changing moment in the 44th minute which saw Viniegra issued his second yellow and sent off, to spark Sounders second half revival.
After the interval, the Sounders attack, with a man advantage went into full overdrive.
The highly energetic Yedlin scored his first professional goal from a distance through a crowded pack of players.
As if one long distance goal from a defender was not enough, Djimi Traore took up the challenge with a screamer off the underside of the bar only seven minutes later.
Steve Zakuani and Eddie Johnson who had been denied all series long, were not going to be denied their sunshine with the complete shift in momentum.
Zakuani fed the American striker in the 79th minute. He bore in on the young keeper de Leon whose positioning was atrocious, allowing Johnson to slot in at leisure.
Tigres belatedly woke up but unfortunately for Viniegra, were unable to rescue the side from the consequences of his actions.
Sounders become the first Major League Soccer franchise to knock out a Mexican club since the current format of CONCACAF began. They will play the winners of the match between Santos Laguna and Houston in the semi final.
Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 54), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 27), Steve Zakuani (Marc Burch 83), Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson.
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Alex Caskey, Zach Scott, Lamar Neagle.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 13; SAVES: 4.
Tigres UANL – Jorge Dias de Leon, Abraham Stringel (Jouse Aguilar 87), Hugo Rodriguez, Alonso Zamora, Jose Rivas (Jorge Espericueta 45), Alberto Acosta (Taufic Guarch 61), Manuel Viniegra, Jesus Duenas, Jonathan Bornstein, Elias Hernandez, Alan Pulido.
Substitutes Not Used: Aaron Fernandez, Martin Reyes.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4.
SEA – Eddie Johnson (caution) 14′
TIG – Jorge Dias de Leon (caution) 35′
TIG – Manuel Viniegra (caution) 37′
TIG – Manuel Viniegra (ejection) 45′
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 47′
TIG – Elias Hernandez (caution) 81′
SEA – Steve Zakuani (caution) 82′
Referee: Elmer Bonilla
Referee’s Assistants: Douglas Bermudez, Hector Recinos
4th Official: Ruben Medrano