TORREÓN, Mexico – Had the Seattle Sounders been more clinical in front of goal, they would likely be booking a trip to the CONCACAF Champions League final.
Instead, they’re booking a flight back home, and a failure to finish is the reason why.
Talking to reporters following a 1-1 draw with Santos Laguna that eliminated the Sounders in the semifinals on a 2-1 aggregate score, Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid rued his club’s missed opportunities. The Sounders had a number of chances, especially early on, but they failed to put the ball in the back of the net until the dying moments of the second half. And that came back to cost them.
“It’s a game of chances. You have to finish your chances,” Schmid said. “They had some chances that they didn’t finish, but we had some good chances that we didn’t finish.
“In the first half, we had a header off a corner kick that was wide open. Steve Zakuani has two chances where he’s in alone and you have to bury your chances. In a game like this, it comes down to that.”
Zakuani, Eddie Johnson and Shalrie Joseph all saw golden opportunities go begging in the opening 17 minutes, and that opened the door for Santos to take a 1-0 lead in the match through a free kick from Carlos Darwin Quintero.
Even the goal that Seattle scored in the 73rd minute was on a rebound after Zakuani was stuffed at point-blank range. That goal, from substitute Lamar Neagle, inspired the Sounders to push on in the waning minutes, and there were opportunities to find the goal that would have put Seattle through to the final.
But it never came. In the end, though, Seattle just were not sharp enough with their finishing to get the job done despite out-shooting Santos 19-11.
“I thought we played well and we put ourselves in a position that we could advance at the end of the game,” said Schmid. “We had Santos on their heels a little bit but we have to be better at finishing our chances.”