The 3-1 victory tonight at CenturyLink Field gave Seattle a 3-2 aggregate-goal win in the series. The result makes the Sounders the first Major League Soccer club to eliminate a Mexican club in the knockout rounds of Champions League.
Seattle had to overcome a 1-0 Tigres lead taken in the series opener last week in Mexico.
Then the road became considerably steeper in the 23rd minute Tuesday, when Tigres forward Elias Hernandez broke behind the defense and won his one-on-one battle with goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
That put the visitors ahead 1-0 on the night, 2-0 on aggregate, and because they now had a road goal, it meant Seattle would need at least three goals to advance.
That seemed a tough mountain to climb for a club that hadn’t scored in either of its first two competitions this season.
That scoreless streak would climb to 252 minutes before Seattle rookie DeAndre Yedlin snapped it by sending a 28-yard volley past Tigres goalkeeper Jorge Diaz de Leon.
Seattle’s second goal came eight minutes later from even greater distance as newly acquired defender Djimi Traore launched a ball that skimmed under the crossbar and into the net.
That pulled Seattle even on aggregate, but they still needed another to overcome the Tigres’ advantage in the away-goal tie-breaker.
That goal came in the 75th minute when Eddie Johnson took a pass from Steve Zakuani, made a run down the left side and fired at a tight angle into the far netting.
The Sounders will go on to the semifinal round against the winner of the Santos Laguna-Houston series, which will resolve Wednesday in Mexico. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he had no preference regarding his opponent.
But next, Seattle returns to MLS play at 5 p.m. Saturday, when the Portland Timbers visit CenturyLink.
75′ GOAL Sounders. Eddie Johnson down the left side, turns at end line and fires at fine angle into far netting. Seattle up 3-2 on aggregate.
60′ Djimi Traore fires a rocket from distance that skims in off the top of the crossbar. Sounders lead 2-1 tonight, even 2-2 on aggregate. But still need a goal because of Tigres’ road goal.
53′. GOAL DeAndre Yedlin. Goal for the ages, actually. Volley from about 25 yards. His first professional goal. 1-1 tonight, 2-1 aggregate.
48′ Yellow to Alonso for reckless tackle.
Second half: … has begun. No subs either way.
We also have clarification that Brad Evans left with a calf injury.
Halftime: Tigres 1-0, and 2-0 on aggregate. Sounders, who haven’t scored yet this season, need at least three goals in the next 45 minutes. They will, however, be played a man up.
45′ Second yellow shown to Manuel Viniegra. Sounders will go 11v10 from here.
27′ Brad Evans mysteriously off, and Andy Rose on.
23rd minute: GOAL Tigres, and perhaps a knockout punch. Elias Hernandez finishes one-on-one with Gspurning behind Sounders defense.
Tigres now up 1-0 tonight, and 2-0 on aggregate. And because one Tigres goal is an away goal, Seattle must score at least three goals to advance.
First 12 minutes: Sounders have the possession and the chances so far. But scoreless.
First kick: Game has begun. Sounders in shale/shale, Tigres in yellow/yellow.
Lineups: For Seattle: G Gspurning; D Yedlin, Traore, Hurtado, Gonzalez; M Rosales, Alonso, Evans, Zakuani; F Ochoa, Johnson. Reserves: Hahnemann, Burch, Caskey, Martinez, Scott, Rose, Neagle.
For Tigres: G Diaz de Leon; D Stringel, Rodriguez, Zamora, Rivas; M Acosta, Duenas, Viniegra, Bornstein; F Hernandez, Pulido. Reserves: Fernandez, Guarch, Reyes, Aguilar, Espericueta.
Pregame: It’s a misty, drizzly evening at CenturyLink Field, where Sounders FC and Tigres will settle their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series. The Sounders enter a goal down, and Tigres has the added advantage of road goals serving as the first tie-breaker.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. The game will be shown on Fox Soccer, heard on 97.3 FM. I’ll also keep adding to this blog here, and comment on Twitter @donruiztnt.
Plenty of tickets remain available.