CCL Recap: Sounders vanquish Caledonia AIA in Trinidad
Fredy Montero continued his remarkable goalscoring form as the Seattle Sounders won a choppy CONCACAF Champions League group stage match 3-1 in Couva, Trinidad, on Thursday night.
Montero’s goal, which came just three minutes after Caledonia had cut a 2-0 Seattle lead in half, was the fifth straight competitive game in which he’s scored and the eighth time he’s scored in the past seven matches across all competitions. He’s also scored in both the Sounders’ games against Caledonia.
The Sounders now hold a maximum six points through two group-stage matches with a plus-four goal differential. Their final two group-stage games will come against Honduran side Marathon.
Although the Sounders dominated the match, it wasn’t until Montero’s goal that the lead really seemed safe.
Alex Caskey picked up the assist on the goal, sliding a ball to Montero in the 70th minute. The crafty Colombian hit it first time from about eight yards out, beating the Caledonia goalkeeper to the near post.
Caskey had given the Sounders the initial lead, nonchalantly scoring a ball in first-half stoppage time. The chance was created when Sammy Ochoa put a ball into the box for right back Zach Scott, who needed to make a sliding play to get it beyond a defender and into Caskey’s path. The midfielder hit it first time, beating Caledonia goalkeeper Glenroy Samuel.
That allowed the Sounders to go into halftime with at least something to show for a first half in which they dominated the run of play and probably should have had at least a couple more goals.
The best chance came in the 10th minute when Mario Martinez found a wide open Ochoa at the far post. Ochoa made solid contact, but he hit the ball right into the face of Samuel.
Martinez set up another good chance in the 21st minute, this time finding Montero with a ball over the top. But after controlling the pass, he was taken down from behind on what the referee ruled was a clean tackle.
The Sounders also had a pair of balls cleared off the line, one in each half. The first came off a Marc Burch shot in the 42nd minute after a scramble following a corner kick. In the 64th minute, Caskey’s hard, low shot from about 20 yards out beat the goalkeeper, but a defender cleared it away.
Ochoa pushed the Sounders’ lead to 2-0 in the 61st minute, taking a quick pass from Montero and hitting it into the upper-90 from the edge of the penalty area. It was Ochoa’s sixth goal in all competitions this season in just over 500 minutes played.
Caledonia did just enough to keep it interesting. Kareem Joseph forced Michael Gspurning to make a sprawling save with a ball he floated in from the right side. The ball seemed headed for the far post, but Gspurning was able to push it over the crossbar. Joseph again came close to scoring in the 51st minute as he got behind the Sounders defense, but his shot from about eight yards out went wide.
Joseph finally did get a goal in the 67th minute, slotting home a penalty kick to cut the Sounders’ lead to 2-1. The penalty was given when Scott tugged on Jamal Gay’s shirt as he made a run into the penalty area.
Seattle now head to FC Dallas for a Sunday night showdown with the Texan team.