- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 24, 2011
- 0 Comments
- 2011/12 CCL, Features
FC Dallas will always get the credit for the first one, but the Seattle Sounders may get credit for winning the first big one.
The Sounders did the unthinkable last night by fielding a team of half reserves and half starters against the defending CONCACAF Champions League champions, Monterrey and came up with a huge 1-0 win in Mexico.
Yes, for the second week in a row a MLS club has gone south of the border and has come up with a win. We used to talk so much about the hex or the nasty record for MLS clubs in Mexico but now it appears a new streak is forming. Two-for-two so far.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid went with a second-choice lineup, with Kasey Keller, Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero all out of the 18-man game day roster. The Sounders went with Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan up front. (Yes, let that pairing sink in for a little while.)
Seattle went ahead on Alvaro Fernandez’s goal in the 38th minute and then held off the Rayados, who started six starters from Saturday’s game at Guadalajara. Monterrey pressed all game for the tying goal and had plenty of chances to beat reserve keeper Terry Boss. But the Sounders defense and Boss were up to the task last night.
“To come into Monterrey and win gives our team confidence as we go into games in the future,” added Schmid. “Obviously we left some very important players on our team at home because of the amount of games that we play. So to win with the team we had we are very, very pleased.”
Last time Seattle played in Mexico they nearly pulled off the unthinkable but Monterrey battled back and got a 3-2 win. The Rayados didn’t want to leave anything to chance for this one by starting those six starters.
So two-for-two now in Mexico. Earthquakes happening yesterday on the East coast. What is this world coming to? I think it is safe to say that the stigma of playing in Mexico and having that pressure to “be the first” is gone. Seattle looked very poised and determined last night to get the result and did so. Before, MLS teams would have leads but buckle late due to the pressure of playing with a lead in Mexico. For the last two weeks we haven’t seen that out of a MLS club.
Is this the first of many wins for MLS sides in Mexico? Possibly. You have to look at what Seattle has done already in the group stage and feel good about their chances of moving on into the knockout rounds. Six points and a plus four goal differential so far is a very nice thing to have in the bad early on in the group stage. We usually say the magic threshold for getting out of the group stage is 10 points. Seattle has two home games left in the group stage plus visits to Costa Rica and Guatemala. If they can take care of business against teams at home and score a couple draws on the road they will certainly be set.
I know it is early on but it is pretty refreshing to see all five MLS clubs at the top of their groups. Who knows, maybe this could be the tournament that sees a final four of all MLS clubs. Its crazy to think that but after last night I believe anything in this tournament is possible now.