Former MLSer Roberto Brown buried a penalty kick in the 27th minute and the San Francisco FC defense did the rest on Tuesday night, as the Panamanian club downed the Seattle Sounders 1-0 at Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City in the opening leg of the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round.
The two teams will wrap up the two-game aggregate-goal series in Seattle on Aug. 3, with the winner of the series advancing to the CCL group stage.
The home side capitalized after Seattle defender Jeff Parke slipped in the penalty area, handling the ball with his left arm. While it didn’t look intentional, Parke changed the course of the ball with his arm, justifying the penalty kick.
Brown — who appeared in 13 games for the Colorado Rapids in 2007, scoring three goals — promptly buried the kick against Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller. He now has five career goals in CCL play.
San Francisco were more than happy to defend the lead for the final 63 minutes. The red-shirted squad formed a strong defensive line in front of their goal, preventing any deep penetration from the Sounders.
Seattle, despite controlling possession for much of the game, found it difficult to break down the Panamanian team’s defenses. The Sounders started a full-strength starting lineup, with the only two changes from the last league match against Colorado being left back Leo González (in for Tyson Wahl) and Lamar Neagle (in for Álvaro Fernández).
After 45 minutes, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid made no changes to start the second half. Fredy Montero came close in the 54th minute, just missing the near post on a shot from distance. In the 59th, Schmid brought on Mike Fucito and Fernández as he looked to spark the offense.
San Francicso nearly scored again in the 78th minute, with Keller making a diving save on his own goal line against Amir Withe.
A minute later, the Sounders players shouted for a penalty kick for hand ball, but it did not come. Pat Noonan’s header off the post in the 85th minute represented Seattle’s best chance to score on the night. Fucito also got loose in the 92nd minute, but could not convert a rebound from his backside.
The final stats showed the paucity of scoring chances for either side. Seattle and San Francisco combined for four total shots on goal, with three of those going to the hosts.
SFR - Roberto Brown (penalty) 28'
SFR - Roberto Brown (caution) 17'
SEA - James Riley (caution) 25'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 70'
SFR - Edgardo Panezo (caution) 73'
SEA - Alvaro Fernandez (caution) 78'
San Francisco FC -- 16-Eric Hugues, 3-Rolando Algadona, 5-Manuel Torres, 6-Martin Gomez, 11-Eybir Bonaga, 13-Felipe Olivardia, 19-Johan de Avila (7-Jose Graces 71'), 20-Eduardo Jimenez (22-Edgardo Panezo 44'), 25-Amir Waite, 32-Roberto Chen, 77-Roberto Brown (9-Jefrey Diaz 80').
Substitutes Not Used: 1-Miguel Torres, 8-Fredy Arizala, 40-Jose Pimentel, 48-Pedro Jeanine, 51-Alexis Gondola.
Seattle Sounders FC -- 18-Kasey Keller, 7-James Riley, 4-Patrick(2 players 1 Ianni, 31-Jeff Parke, 12-Leo Gonzalez, 10-Mauro Rosales, 6-Osvaldo Alonso, 8-Erik Friberg (25-Pat Noonan 75'), 27-Lamar Neagle (15-Alvaro Fernandez 59'), 17-Fredy Montero, 24-Roger Levesque (2-Mike Fucito 59').
Substitutes Not Used: 29-Josh Ford, 20-Zach Scott, 23-Servando Carrasco, 21-Nate Jaqua.
Referee: David Espana
Referee's Assistants: Ronaldo de la Cruz; Cesar Ruano
4th Official: Oscar Reyna
Time of Game: 1:50