By DAN KARELL
Just hours after Borussia Dortmund completed an improbable late comeback of their own in Europe’s Champions League, the Seattle Sounders were in the process of setting up their own in Mexico.
Substitute Lamar Neagle scored a goal in the 73rd minute to tie the match against Mexican side Santos Laguna, and put the Sounders just one goal away from making it into the CONCACAF Champions League final.
However, it was not to be, as Santos moved on to the final, securing a 2-1 aggregate victory over the Sounders. It’s the club’s second straight season in the championship match, and depending on the result, they could have an all-Mexican rematch against Monterrey for a place in the 2013 Club World Cup.
Santos got off to the start they wanted, when forward Darwin Quintero scored on a beautiful free-kick goal in the 21st minute to take a 1-0 lead on the night. Quintero’s shot hit the bottom of the crossbar, bounced over the line, and then spun out, before being headed in by American forward Herculez Gomez. The assistant referee ruled that the ball had gone in from Quintero’s shot, giving the 25-year-old his fourth goal in this season’s Champions League.
With a 2-0 lead on aggregate, Santos played with confidence, tiring out the Seattle midfield in the 95-degree heat. Things didn’t change for the Sounders at the start of the second half, as forwards Eddie Johnson and Steve Zakuani couldn’t find the winning formula up top.
Sounders manager Sigi Schmid changed the face of the match by bringing in Rosales and Neagle in the second half. Once Neagle’s goal went in, Rosales took charge in the last 27 minutes of the half, nearly single-highhandedly leading the MLS team to a goal.
Sammy Ochoa was the third change for the Sounders, coming in for Zakuani in the 77th minute, but he was unable to find the right connection with his teammates, showing a lack of consistency and chemistry.
Here are the match highlights: