The Seattle Sounders kicked off their 2018 competitive slate with a 2-1 loss in their CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match on Thursday against Santa Tecla FC in Santa Tecla, El Salvador.
Nicolas Lodeiro started the campaign in spectacular fashion, hitting a long-range one-time chip from roughly 40 yards out off a turnover just 15 minutes in for the Sounders.
But Santa Tecla found their breakthrough in the 67th minute, as former MLS player Gerson Mayen scored a scrappy goal off a deflection to bring his team level. Things got worse for the Sounders in the 76th minute, as Mayen scored a penalty to give Santa Tecla the lead.
- 15' - SEA - Nicolas Lodeiro
- 67' - TEC - Gerson Mayen
- 76' - TEC - Gerson Mayen
- The Big Picture: Losing is never ideal, and the Sounders will likely be concerned with how their fantastic start fell apart as Santa Tecla clawed their way back into the game. But being a goal down with a return leg in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field is not an insurmountable hurdle, and Seattle can very much flip the series around with a win -- either 1-0 or by at least two goals if Santa Tecla scores in the second leg.
- Moment of the Match: The game-turning penalty was the big moment of the night, as a bang-bang play in the corner of the box saw Chad Marshall challenge Santa Tecla defender Ricardinho before Sounders newcomer Jordan McCrary possibly clipped the striker's leg on the way down.
Unclear whether the penalty was given to #SantaTecla for Marshall going over the back of Ricardinho, or McCrary's attempted challenge after that. Either way, a harsh call--but that's life on the road in #CCL. No excuses for the #Sounders throwing away a lead. #SANvSEA #SCCL2018 pic.twitter.com/wTDPNlNcQo— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) February 23, 2018
- Man of the Match: Los Angeles native Mayen showed why he's a regular for the El Salvador national team, as he served as captain and No. 10 for his side, pulling the strings for his team throughout the game. His efforts were rewarded with the crucial second-half brace.
- Leg 2: Seattle Sounders vs. Santa Tecla, CenturyLink Field, Thursday, Mar. 1 | 10 pm ET (www.go90.com, www.univisiondeportes.com)