Seattle Sounders earn comeback draw, 2-2, in Concacaf Champions League

Seattle Sounders SCCL Pumas

The Seattle Sounders are looking to make history. The two-time MLS Cup champions are in the Concacaf Champions League final, facing off with Liga MX side Pumas. In the history of CCL, no team has ever won the tournament from Major League Soccer. Seattle is looking to re-write history and put their names in the record book.

In their first leg against Pumas, the conditions were certainly not ideal. Forget being 7,000 feet above sea level, the harsh rain did not help conditions on the pitch. However, Seattle is used to rain in Seattle, but they had a loud and opposing crowd against them. Even still, the Sounders clawed their way back from being down by two goals to finish the match 2-2.

It puts the Sounders in prime position heading into May 4, the second leg, in Seattle.

Chaos ensued early in the match — as expected in any Concacaf competition. Juan Dinenno went down in the penalty area and referee Iván Barton whistled for a penalty, which was confirmed by the VAR. Plenty of Seattle fans — and the Seattle bench and players — were insistent that the call was soft and Arreaga made contact with the ball.

On his initial attempt, Dinenno had his shot saved by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. However, VAR quickly jumped in and ruled that Frei came off his line early, and the kick had to be retaken. Dinenno made up for the first fail, scoring on the second attempt. Pumas entered halftime with a one-goal lead, and quickly doubled in the 48th minute, courtesy of Dinenno.

Sounders vs. Pumas: Second half brings the chaos

However, chaos reigned supreme, with Seattle getting two penalty kicks awarded to them late in the second half. In the 73rd minute, Sebastián Saucedo was called for a foul with a handball in the box. Sounders longtime captain Nicolás Lodeiro stepped up to the spot and converted the penalty past Alfredo Talavera.

In the 90’+5′ minute, Efraín Velarde committed a foul against Cristian Roldan in the box, resulting in another penalty. A short VAR check confirmed the call, and Lodeiro stepped up once again — this time, hitting the ball with just enough power to muster itself over the line, giving Seattle the draw.

After the match, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said that the Sounders never gave up.

“It might take me until we’re halfway back home to figure out what happened in this game. Pumas came out and played well. The goal in the second half, we knew that was their strength,” Schmetzer said. “That was disappointing for us, going down 2-0. What I always appreciate about our team is that we never quit. We never stop trying. It’s always been there, the culture of the club has always been there. Deservedly so — I saw the replays, the penalties were penalties — Nico took the penalties with a lot of pressure, and he stepped forward and made the two important penalties. Now it goes back to 90 minutes to decide the winner.”

What’s Next?

It’s just like Schmetzer said… 90 minutes will decide the next Concacaf Champions League winner. Seattle has a chance to make history at home, at Lumen Field, on Wednesday, May 4, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. You’ve seen the hype videos by now. Seattle fans, fill up Lumen Field for what is slated to be a pretty remarkable game.


Photo: Jane Gershovich/Seattle Sounders FC.