If the Seattle Sounders were supposed to be the underdog in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Santos Laguna, they sure didn't show it on Wednesday.
The Sounders outplayed the Mexican powerhouse on their way to a vital 2-1 victory at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.
Goals from David Estrada and Brad Evans provided the difference, offsetting a beautiful goal from American striker Herculez Gomez to give the Sounders a 2-1 edge heading into the second leg in Torreon next Wednesday.
Seattle played a composed and effective match, neutralizing the dangerous Santos Laguna attack while creating chances of their own. Estrada opened the scoring in the first half to give the Sounders control. Gomez equalized with his third goal in three matches, but Brad Evans responded just two minutes later by heading home a Mauro Rosales free kick past Osvaldo Sanchez.
The night provided an impressive debut for Sounders newcomers Michael Gspurning and Adam Johansson looked good in their first officials starts for Seattle since joining the club this winter. Another newcomer to the starting lineup, David Estrada, made the most of his start, scoring the opening goal off a beautiful pass from Fredy Montero in the 12th minute.
Gomez equalized in the 61st minute off a nifty run, touch and finish for his third goal in three matches. The goal could have shaken Seattle, but the Sounders needed just two minutes to respond, courtesy of Evans' header.
Gomez' road goal could prove costly for Seattle, with Santos Laguna needing either a 1-0 victory or multi-goal victory in the second leg to advance to the Champions League semifinals. Seattle can advance with a win, draw or any one-goal loss other than 1-0 or 2-1. A 2-1 Santos win would force extra time.