Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ozzie Alonso comes through on the clutch for the Sounders as they clinch a spot in the Champions League Quarterfinals.

By Money Mike

Four days after clinching a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Seattle Sounders had some unfinished business to take care of outside of MLS play. Down 2-1, the Sounders started to have some nervous moments late in the game, knowing that if they lose, they could be in big trouble, but in the 89th minute, it was Ozzie Alonso stepping up and getting a late equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw with Comunicaciones and clinch a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals with a game to spare.

The home side got on the board first. A defensive miscommunication allowed Transito Montepeque to break clear of the defense and chipped the ball from 18-yards away over Kasey Keller who was well off his line and in the net for the match opener. Montepeque looked offside, but the linesman decided to keep his flag down.

Three minutes later, the Comunicaciones back line got caught and nearly gave one back. The chip by Tyson Wahl flicked off the head of Lamar Neagle right to Fredy Montero who caught it on the volley and forced a huge save from Juan Paredes.

19 minutes in, the Sounders nearly found themselves down 2-0. Another defensive miscue allowed midfielder Carlos Mejia maneuver a bicycle kick which rattled the top of the crossbar.

Mejia had another golden opportunity a few minutes later. Another cross up between the center backs allowed him to slip through the wing, but he pushed his effort wide of Keller's post.

In the 44th minute, the Sounders would get their goal that they had been pushing for. Osvaldo Alonso, who had been trying his luck from long distance on the wet turf, took advantage of a poor clearance and ripped a volley that deflected off a Comunicaciones defender and in.

Most of the Sounders competitive trips south of the United States have resulted in heavy rain and poor field conditions on matchday. The temperatures were expected to be around the 70's with a chance of thunderstorms, but there were none at all. But it started to pour down rain when the Sounders took the pitch to start the second half all square at 1-1.

In the 61st minute, Alvaro Fernandez and Mike Fucito almost pulled off a repeat performance from the first match. Fernandez sent Fucito through with a beautiful ball over the top of the defense. Fucito cracked a left-footed shot right at Paredes, the flag was up anyway so the goal wouldn't have counted because of the fact that Fucito was in an offside position.

Four minutes later, Comunicaciones climbed back ahead. Keller failed to gather in the ball off the corner and the ball fell to Rafael Morales who quickly fired it in.

However in the 89th minute, it was once again Ozzie Alonso's turn to celebrate. Alvaro Fernandez sent in a cross towards Fredy Montero, and the ball broke to the Cuban who drilled a shot home from close range to send the Sounders home with a point that assures them a place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals which will take place in early March, just before the 2012 MLS season starts. It was the biggest goal of Ozzie Alonso's career for sure and also the biggest goal for the Seattle Sounders in Champions League play. And what a great story, after going 1-5 in the Group Stage last year, the Sounders survived a scare in the Preliminary Round against San Francisco F.C. and have just dominated group play, going 3-1-1 so far with one match to go.

Scoring summary:

Comunicaciones - Transito Montepeque (Carlos Mejia) 7'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (unassisted) 44'

Comunicaciones - Rafael Morales (unassisted) 64'

Seattle Sounders FC - Osvaldo Alonso (unassisted) 89'

Misconduct summary:

Comunicaciones - Erwin Morales (caution; Reckless tackle) 75'

Seattle Sounders FC - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution; Foul) 87'


Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl; Alvaro Fernandez, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 74'), Lamar Neagle (Nate Jaqua 92'+), Fredy Montero, Mike Fucito (Sammy Ochoa 66')

Comunicaciones - Juan Paredes; Dagoberto Arriola, Edgar Martinez, Rafael Morales, Edwin Morales, Carlos Mejia; Fredy Thompson, Rigoberto Gomez (Jose Del Aguila 45'), Brayan Ordonez (Abner Tigueros 77'), Carlos Ramirez; Transito Montepeque (Marvin Ceballos 57')


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