CCL Recap: Seattle hold on for historic win at Monterrey

First FC Dallas, now Seattle.

After an extended period of futility by American teams in Mexico, the Seattle Sounders became the second MLS side to win on Mexican soil in a week, defeating defending champions Monterrey at Estadio Tecnológico 1-0 on Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League group-stage play.

Álvaro Fernández converted a pretty Pat Noonan pass in the 38th minute to give Seattle what ended up being the match-winner and the Sounders survived some strong second-half pressure from the hosts to seal the victory and send Monterrey to their first-ever loss in CCL play.

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid went with a second-choice lineup, with Kasey Keller, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero all out of the 18. The Sounders went with Nate Jaqua and Noonan up front, while Monterrey opted for the familiar pairing of Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris.

The Sounders ceded most of the possession to Monterrey early, opting to play a counterattacking style. That tactic worked to perfection in the 38th minute, with Noonan feeding Fernández with a pinpoint ball to complete the maneuver. The Uruguayan split defenders Dárvin Chávez and Miguel Morales and finished calmly, roofing the ball past 'keeper Jonathan Orozco.

Fernández’s goal gave Seattle a 1-0 lead going into halftime. Despite yielding 67.5 percent of the possession in the first half, the Sounders only allowed one shot on target to the home side.

Los Rayados came out strong to start the second half, with de Nigris especially active. The Monterrey forward nearly equalized in the 66th minute when he stole the ball from goalkeeper Terry Boss’ feet on a botched clearance. But the Sounders caught a break when the Mexican international lost possession on the endline.

Seattle’s defensive effort was bolstered by the addition of defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who entered the match in the 65th minute. The diminutive Cuban even had two chances to double Seattle’s lead, but came up short on a pair of good chances.

In the end, the Rayados could not break through despite 11 attempts on goal in the second half. With the win, Seattle move past Monterrey to the top of Group D with six points from two matches and put to bed the memory of blowing a two-goal lead at Monterrey in last year's Champions League group stage.

The Sounders now get a three-week break from CCL play, which resumes when they travel to Costa Rican side Herediano on Sept. 14. The Rave Green return home to face Columbus in league play on Saturday, then host Western Conference rivals FC Dallas in the semifinals of the US Open Cup on Aug. 30.

Scoring Summary:
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan) 38'

Misconduct Summary:
SEA -- Nate Jaqua (caution; Reckless Tackle) 48'

Lineups:

CF Monterrey -- Jonathan Orozco; Severo Meza (Ricardo Osorio 83'), Darvin Chavez, Miguel Morales (Walter Ayovi 62'), Luis Perez; Aldo De Nigris, Jesus Zavala, Neri Cardozo, Hiram Mier; Jesus Corona (Dario Carreno 73'), Humberto Suazo.
Substitutes Not Used: Juan De Dios Ibarra, Oscar Garcia, Eduardo Guevara, Marcelo Cazaubon.

Seattle Sounders FC -- Terry Boss; James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl; Roger Levesque (Amadou Sanyang 84'), Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76'); Nate Jaqua (Osvaldo Alonso 65'), Pat Noonan.
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Taylor Graham, Erik Friberg, Mike Fucito.

Referee: Elmar Rodas
Referee's Assistants: Cesar Ruano; Marco Diaz
4th Official: Oscar Reyna