By CALEB SONNELAND
Nate Jaqua picked a perfect time to end his scoring drought as his 98th-minute, extra-time winner saw the Seattle Sounders top San Francisco FC and progress to the CONCACAF Champions League group stage as 2-1 aggregate winners in the preliminary round.
It took extra time to separate the two sides, and it was Jaqua who was the man to provide the definitive goal in the tie.
The big striker was found by Alvaro Fernandez eight minutes into extra time and was able to control the ball before rifling it into the roof of the net for his second goal of the 2011 season in all competitions. The first came in Seattle's 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy in the US Open Cup.
Before turning provider, Fernandez had initially put the hosts ahead in the 41st minute when he met a Leo Gonzalez cross with his head for a far post finish to bring his side level on aggregate. The Uruguayan is now on seven goals in all competitions in 2011, but his goal against San Francisco was his first in the Champions League this season season.
Having been defeated 1-0 from the penalty spot in the first leg of the CCL tie, Seattle had a tough time finding a way past San Francisco keeper Miguel Torres. Torres provided a number of top-drawer saves and put forth a man-of-the-match display, despite conceding two goals. Seattle finished the night with 35 shots (14 on target), and Torres finished the night with 12 saves.
The result means the Seattle Sounders advances to Group D in the CCL along with defending champion Monterrey, Comunicaciones and either Herediano or Alpha United.
What did you think of the game? Do you think Seattle deserved to advance? Do you see the Sounders getting out of their group?
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