Seattle Sounders FC started their 2022 Concacaf Champions League campaign with a 0-0 draw in Leg 1 of their Round of 16 series against FC Motagua in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Thursday evening.
HIGHLIGHTS: Motagua vs. Seattle Sounders FC | February 18, 2022
Playing their first competitive match of 2022, Seattle encountered tough sledding on the attacking end against an energetic Motagua side five games into their league season. They did, however, keep a clean sheet heading into Leg 2 at Lumen Field in Seattle on Feb. 24 where the aggregate winner will face the winner of the Club Leon (Mexico) vs. Guastatoya (Guatemala) series in the quarterfinals.
FC Motagua fired the first warning shot in the 13th minute off a corner kick that reached the feet of defender Marcelo Santos right in front of goal. But his attempt smashed off the crossbar, allowing Seattle to narrowly avoid an early concession.
The hosts remained on the front foot for much of the first half, although Seattle generated two good chances before the break. Albert Rusnak had one in his Sounders debut off a first-time shot assisted by Nicolas Lodeiro that went just wide. Lodeiro found the other with a close-range effort from the left side of the six-yard box that the Uruguayan midfielder put over the crossbar just before the halftime whistle.
Seattle grew into the game during the second half, but couldn't parlay any of their possession and half-chances into what would have been a huge road goal, instead settling for the scoreless draw in CCL action.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Road openers in Concacaf Champions League are seldom pretty, and this match was no exception, as Seattle went through long stretches absorbing pressure and finding chances of their own hard to come by. Still, the clean sheet keeps the series on level footing as the Sounders head back to Lumen Field, where they have everything to play for in Leg 2.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Motagua's early chance was the best opportunity for either side, and it would have changed the complexion of the match entirely if it had been converted. Thankfully for Seattle, the woodwork came to the rescue.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Homegrown midfielder Obed Vargas, 16, drew the start for Seattle and acquitted himself admirably. He showed off some cheeky passing ability and put in a workhorse shift on defense.
- MOT: Sunday, Feb. 20 at UPNFM | 6 pm ET
- SEA: Thursday, Feb. 24 vs. FC Motagua | 10:45 pm ET (TUDN) | Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 Leg 2