Seattle Sounders Overcome Early Deficit, Sending Off to Defeat C.S.D. Comunicaciones 4-1

It didn't look pretty from the start; Sounders keeper Terry Boss failed to gather a hopeful cross and Comunicaciones striker Jairo Arreola met it with his head to put the visitors on top in the second minute. Things didn't improve for much of the first half; the Sounders looked disorganized, sloppy and slow and Comunicaciones looked like a side that had little intention of sitting back and running out the clock despite their early advantage. The Sounders didn't do a great deal to improve the mood inside CenturyLink with their play the rest of the half; Comunicaciones were far sharper with their passing and their runs, and they spent a good deal of time on the attack. So when Brad Evans got on the end of Mike Fucito's corner to head past the keeper and level terms it was against the run of play, and the Sounders looked quite lucky to head into the locker room on even footing.

Things were different in the second half, right from the outset. Seattle was on the offensive from the opening whistle and the momentum shifted palpably, but in the 55th minute Lamar Neagle went in for a challenge that was ill-advised at best. Neagle was shown red almost immediately, and though it's hard to imagine the challenge would have been met with a sending off in MLS play it's also true that many fans of the league (Sounders fans chief amongst them) have called for more stringent enforcement of rules against physical play. Seattle may have been unlucky to lose Neagle, but his challenge was rash and a sending-off justifiable. At that moment the Sounders looked for all the world to be up against the wall, but someone apparently forgot to inform them. Not only did the momentum stay with Seattle, it built. Mike Fucito, who had performed well for much of the evening, took things to an entirely different level. Just five minutes after Neagle's sending off, Fucito gathered a pass at the edge of the area, shook his defender and fired a shot inside the far post to give Seattle a 2-1 lead.

Just six minutes later, Fucito made a brilliant run to split the defense and ran onto a wonderfully placed ball from Evans to put himself 1-v-1 with the keeper and finish coolly to add another to the Sounders tally. From there it was a frantic, end-to-end affair, Las Cremas pressing hard and testing Terry Boss with some very near misses. But just as it looked as though the visitors might close the gap and put a dent in the Sounders goal differential (which may well prove an important factor for advancement) Alvaro Fernandez made a fantastic run down the right flank to put himself in a fantastic position to cross to Mike Fucito flying in on the left. Fucito very nearly had a well-deserved hat trick if not for Comunicaciones defender Rigoberto Gomez who slid in desperately and deflected the ball into his own goal to give Seattle a 4-1 advantage.

It was a swift and comprehensive win for Seattle of the sort you'd expect a strong club starting a weakened side in an international competition to come away with. The Sounders didn't start well, but when the time came from them to step up their game they did so. And they kept their foot to the pedal and, eventually, to the opposition's throat. The problems of the past week have far from disappeared, but this team has shown that they can not only win against strong international competition but win emphatically under less than ideal circumstances. There's still a ways to go in this stage of the competition, but the Sounders could not have gotten off to a better start. That's a good thing, because next up in CCL play is defending champion Monterrey at Estadio Tecnológico a week from yesterday, and before that is a massive league match in Texas against FC Dallas. This is going to be a very tough week for the Sounders, but Tuesday's win sets a very positive tone.

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