Seattle earned an impressive 2-1 victory over Santos Laguna in the home leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final.
The Sounders deserved their victory with an aesthetically pleasing and free flowing possession game that for long stretches kept Santos from even a sniff of the ball.
David Estrada's 11th minute goal epitomized Seattle's fluid passing and movement. Fredy Montero picked up his head in midfield and flighted a beautiful ball that was met by David Estrada who ghosted in to head home at the back post.
Seattle continued to boss the first half with Mauro Rosales poking and prodding at the Santos back line while the cerebral Alvaro Fernandez controlled the pace and rhythm of the game.
When Santos did get possession, they were a bit to slow in moving the ball, but that changed in the second half.
The Mexicans began to see more of the ball in the second 45, moving it quickly throughout the park while Seattle looked content to sit back and keep its shape. The equalizer, on the hour mark, was just rewards for an enterprising period of play with a multi-pass move finished off by Herculez Gomez.
The former Los Angeles Galaxy man made a slashing diagonal run into the box, taking down a delightful entry ball from Marc Crosas with one touch before contorting his body and slotting it to the far post with his second to secure a pressure away goal.
The goal sparked the home side back to life and they came up with the perfect response just two minutes later. Alvaro Fernandez won a free kick on the left hand side. Rosales' pinpoint delivery was met by Brad Evans who took advantage of a goalkeeper in no-mans-land and a central defender unwilling to leave his feet to head home.
After the goal, Seattle refused to sit back, but rather reestablished possession and continued to attack meaning there were few nervous moments in the final half hour as Seattle coasted to victory.
Eddie Johnson looked solid in his 13 minute cameo, but there weren't enough moments for us to begin to draw conclusions on the Sounders new signing just yet.
It was an excellent night on the X-Box pitch, but the Sounders will see a much more attack minded and up-tempo Santos next week in Mexico. With that said, the Sounders showed that they should be able to handle it, not allowing the Mexicans to kick it into second gear. An away goal in Mexico should be enough to see them through to the semi-finals.
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