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Loss to Saprissa effectively ends CCL run for Sounders



The Seattle Sounders hung around for a almost a half amid the rain and humidity of San Jose, Costa Rica, but their defense broke down and their only regular starter in the back was red-carded, in front of his hometown fans, no less. 

The Sounders lost to Deportivo Saprissa 2-0 Tuesday night in their third CONCACAF Champions League group match, and with three losses in those games, Seattle has virtually no shot at moving on in this tournament.

The Sounders are in the toughest group in CCL and they've showed at times that they can play with Saprissa, Monterrey and Marathon. A few breaks the other way, a couple of converted chances, and maybe the Sounders have a couple of points at this point. But they don't. 

Tough break for Leo Gonzalez, the Costa Rican (Tico) defender who drew a straight red for failing to keep his boots down on a tackle and spiking Saprissa's Jairo Aurrieta. Gonzalez was lost in the 38th minute.

The Sounders, playing with 10 men, also had a chance to draw even at 1 in the 68th minute after Fredy Montero drew a PK. But Osvaldo Alonso must have been psyched out watching Fausto "El Golero Loco" Gonzalez dancing from side to side before the shot, and Gonzalez dived to his right to block Alonso's try.

No more excuses now. The Sounders now must decide how they want to approach the last three CCL group matches. It stands to reason that the reserves will be the ones who determine just how many points the Sounders come way with when group play is over.

Some say roster sizes should be increased for MLS teams, so that those who have to play a lot of CCL matches and/or SuperLiga have depth from which to pull players for those matches without exhausting their regulars. In the Sounders' case, however, they spent the first three matches in CCL trying to win a point, and now that it hasn't happened, they have several backups who don't play much who can now get their shot at real competition. 

The Sounders used some of those players Tuesday night — Tyson Wahl, Tyrone Marshall, Taylor Graham (who played pretty well), Roger Levesque, backup goalkeeper Terry Boss and Mike Fucito. Add a couple more youngsters to that mix for the remaining CCL games, and Sigi Schmid has close to a full squad of non-regulars at his disposal.


  1. Seattle’s loss was definitely deserved. No problem with the red card (and no problem with the penalty call for Seattle). It was reckless and was either a yellow or red. I do, however, have a problem with Saprissa’s goalkeeper literally being 8 feet off the line by the time Alonso took the penalty. That’s not a made-up rule Ocho Cinco.

  2. Had it been Gonzalez who was kicked like that, We would have demanded his head on a platter, not just a red. Don’t be ignorant because it was our team fouling.

  3. You know what’s funny? When an MLS fan makes up a rule in its head and then complains when the referee doesn’t follow it. It happens so often it’s kind of sad.

  4. In all honesty, I do believe Gonzalez should have kept his foot down. But I also watched the replay a few times to confirm that my recollection was correct – he got to the ball first and played it away before the Saprissa player got there. Gonzalez shouldn’t have had his leg and studs up, inviting the player to run into them and fall down. So yes, it was stupid and boneheaded. But I can’t agree that he shouldn’t have challenged to win the ball. And I stand by my opinion that the ref could have called a foul or given a yellow for the play, rather than a red. Then again, I’ve only been playing and watching soccer for 22 years, and I haven’t been through referee training since about 2001, so maybe I’m wrong.

  5. Philmatt24, you’ve got to be kidding. The red card was well deserved. It was a boneheaded and dangerous play by Gonzalez, which ultimately cost his team a game. Aside from a couple minor errors, Mexican ref actually did a good job officiating, but Gonzalez’s stupid and unnecessary challenge left him with no choice but to show the red card.

  6. Crazy.

    I wouldn’t refer to any group with Toronto and Arabe Unido as too tough group. It doesn’t get much tougher in the world of Concacaf than Saprissa, Monterrey and Marathon.

  7. Was it just me, or was Gonzalez red-carded for the FOLLOW THROUGH of kicking the ball? This wasn’t DeJong ninja kicking Alonso in the chest, it was a guy beating his opponent to the ball and making a pass/clearance up the sideline, and the opponent running into him as his leg was still in the air. I know Gonzalez has to control his body, but come on, a straight red for that is pretty harsh.

  8. Toughest group?! Call me crazy but wouldn’t that go to Group A? Cruz Azul, RSL, Toronto, and Arabe Unido (who have the best record in the competition outside of Mexico and the US)…


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