CCL: Seattle slowly, surely break down San Francisco
SEATTLE — It took a few shots — 34, in fact — but the Seattle Sounders finally found the two goals they needed to dismiss San Francisco FC in the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round.
Time and again, the Sounders came up short against the Panamanian club, which held a 1-0 advantage in the home-and-home aggregate goals series. For a while, it looked as though the visitors would at least force a shootout with Seattle despite being heavily barraged for most of the match.
“I wish we could have ended the game about 45 minutes earlier,” said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought we had enough chances to finish the game.”
In the end, Nate Jaqua stepped up to bury the winning goal in overtime, sending Seattle through 2-1 on aggregate. For Jaqua, it was good to score after missing a one-on-one opportunity earlier in the match.
"You want to make up for that,” Jaqua said of the earlier miss. “That was one I should have put away.”
The forward came on as a substitute in the 68th minute and, just 13 minutes later, when he was still trying to get into the rhythm of the match, was stoned by los Monjes goalkeeper Miguel Torres.
“When you get in there and get one a little bit early, and aren't quite in the rhythm of the game, [it’s hard],” he said. “I think I got into the rhythm of the game a bit more as it wore on. It was nice to make up for that."
Seattle posted a 34-9 advantage in shots on the night. However, they ran up against a great goalkeeper in San Francisco’s Torres. The shot-stopper finished with 12 saves in a valiant effort for the losing side.
“He had a great performance,” said Monjes manager Leonardo Pipino. “We don't always want the goalkeeper to be the star of the team but he had a very lucky night and was able to keep the game going all the way to the extra time."
Despite being turned away by Torres and the resolute San Francisco defense on multiple occasions, Jaqua said he and the team remained confident.
Álvaro Fernández echoed that statement. Like Jaqua, he bounced back from some missed opportunities to get a goal, scoring Seattle’s first in the 41st minute.
"I was getting a little bit disillusioned with one shot outside the box and then two headers, but the good thing about soccer is it gives those opportunities back to you," Fernández said.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS