CCL Recap: Sounders stay perfect, edge by Herediano 2-1
Fredy Montero scored two goals to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica's Herediano at Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero on Wednesday in Group D play in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Montero now boasts four goals in his past three matches in all competitions, including single goals against FC Dallas in the US Open Cup semifinal and Real Salt Lake in the MLS regular season.
Former MLS midfielder José Cancela scored from the penalty spot for the home team to momentarily even the match, but Herediano failed to capitalize on the momentum gained from a 4-0 win in league play against Alajuelense over the weekend.
Herediano had looked hapless in the first two matches of the group stage, including a 5-0 rout at home to Mexican side Monterrey. Montero’s goal in the third minute came with such ease that Seattle looked ready to book a similar result.
But despite some excellent buildup and good possession, Seattle didn’t find the second goal before halftime. Nate Jaqua came as close as anyone, hitting the post off a layoff from Roger Levesque in the 26th minute.
After weathering the storm, the home team got back into the match from the penalty spot. Levesque committed a foul in the penalty area, giving Herediano the chance to score their first goal of the group stage from 12 yards away. Cancela obliged, sending the game into halftime knotted 1-1.
Even with reserves dotting Sigi Schmid’s starting lineup, Seattle continued to look the better team in the second stanza. In the 54th minute, a long ball was successfully knocked down by Jaqua into the penalty area. Levesque latched onto it and had his shot saved by Herediano goalkeeper Daniel Cambronero, but Montero was there at the far post to tap it into the net for his second goal of the game.
Herediano had their moments chasing the game. Marvin Angulo forced a fingertip save from Kasey Keller in the 86th minute to mark Herediano’s best chance to equalize.
With the victory, Seattle (3-0-0) maintain the top spot in Group D with a perfect nine points from three games. Herediano (0-3-0, 0 points), who scored their first goal of the group stage in the loss, face extremely long odds to advance after suffering their third consecutive defeat.
After domestic play, these two teams face one another again next Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Seattle.