HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle Sounders vs. Tigres | August 10, 2021
The match was fairly even in the early going, with Seattle getting a little more of the ball and pushing forward with regularity, but it turned conclusively the Sounders' way just after the 20-minute mark. Cristian Roldan took a run into the box, and Tigres defender Erick Avalos committed the obvious foul rather than let Roldan progress to goal. Avalos' dice roll didn't pay off, as Ruidiaz stepped to the spot and, after some entertaining moves by Tigres goalkeeper Miguel Ortega in an apparent attempt to rattle the striker, buried it via a Panenka.
For Tigres' rotated lineup, Luis Quinones looked particularly threatening at points in the first half, including a 30th-minute opportunity that started with a Yeimar Gomez Andrade giveaway that nearly proved costly. Quinones, however, also stayed down for an extended period after a collision just outside the box that didn't draw the foul he was looking for — one of a number of times he tried to orchestrate a partnership with the ref.
Defensively, Seattle held well with a five-back formation throughout the half, with Xavier Arreaga doing work on the ground and in the air to intercept some of the more threatening passes into shooting territory.
Tigres changed their look a bit in the second half, taking out Avalos and recent French World Cup-winning arrival Florian Thauvin for two of their best attackers, Nico Lopez and Javier Aquino. But the Sounders nearly doubled their lead in the 50th minute, on a counter in which Roldan set Ruidiaz up well for a shot, but the Peruvian got too much on it.
Then with the Sounders continuing to press forward, and winning a corner, they finally got their elusive second goal in the 64th minute. Joao Paulo sent a promising ball in, which took a deflection at the goalmouth to a waiting Montero at the far post for a poked-home finish.
Then, not long after subbing on, Lodeiro — just recently returning from a lengthy injury — pulled up from about 30 yards out and let fly a golazo that vanquished any hope Tigres may have harbored. And yet Seattle still kept coming, nearly getting a fourth in the 74th minute when Kelyn Rowe sent a diagonal pass from beyond the 18 to Ruidiaz, who headed a solid attempt just in front of the far post.
Diego Reyes came closest for Tigres, hitting the post with a headed attempt in the 87th minute, but a night of futility for the Mexican powers continued to the end, as they couldn't convert on a free kick followed by a corner deep into stoppage time.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Seattle fielded nearly a full complement of first-choice starters, and even got to sub in Lodeiro, who emphatically showed he’s back with a stunning goal shortly after entering the match. Clearly, no one in Leagues Cup will want a part of the Sounders, but no one in MLS relishes a matchup against them when they’re firing like this — including their biggest rivals, the Portland Timbers, who host them Sunday. For Tigres, this was an uncharacteristically timid exit from a tournament in which they rotated but still fielded a strong team capable of winning. Though Tigres head coach Miguel Herrera’s seen the press and fan reactions to tough losses a time or two, this one’s going to be talked about for a hot minute.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Though the second goal was probably the game's decisive moment, how can you deny what Lodeiro did? It was merely the dagger, but when people remember this match a few years from now, this is what they’ll talk about.
GOAL: Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders - 70th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The two candidates here didn’t even score a goal. Arreaga was efficient in defense, especially during the first half when Tigres sought a way into the match, but the nod has to go to Cristian Roldan. The US men's national team midfielder was the catalyst for the first goal and much of the Sounders’ offense.
- SEA: Tuesday, Sept. 14 or Wednesday, Sept. 15 vs. winner of Orlando City SC/Santos Laguna | Leagues Cup Semifinal
- TIG: End of tournament