COAHUILA, MEXICO - MARCH 14: Alvaro Fernandez #15 of the Seattle Sounders celebrates a goal during a match against the Santos Laguna as part of the CONCACAF Champions League at Estadio Corona on March 14, 2012 in Coahuila, Mexico. (Photo by Hans Maximo Musielik/Getty Images)
Playing in Central America is never easy, but the Sounders took care of business and will move on to the next stage of CCL play.
It was nerve-wracking to say the least, but the Seattle Sounders just managed to nip a 3-2 win against Marathon in Honduras, and in so doing secured a place in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders twice had leads erased by penalties, but a 78th minute goal from Brad Evans held up and won the group for Seattle. Marathon will return to Seattle for the final group stage match on October 24th, but with the fate of all three teams sealed it is unlikely that either side will field anything approaching their best lineup.
Sammy Ochoa opened the in the 11th minute, somehow heading a pinpoint Mario Martinez cross past the small window uncovered by Marathon keeper Jose Mendoza. The home side upped the pressure after falling behind, and it paid off in the 35th minute; Mitchel Brown found himself in on goal, only to be tripped up by Michael Gspurning in the area. Mario Berrios converted the ensuing penalty to equalize. Marathon continued to take the game to an uncharacteristically sloppy Sounders team, but Seattle weathered the storm and made it to the half even at 1-1.
The home side continued to press after the break, but the Seattle defense was even to the task and it would be Eddie Johnson-with a wonder goal reminiscent of Fredy Montero's strike against the Portland Timbers on Saturday-that found the game's next goal, putting the Sounders ahead very much against the run of play in the 62nd minute. But just five minutes later, controversy ensued; Patrick Ianni and Julian Rapalo found themselves tangled in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. It was significantly softer than Marathon's first penalty, but the result was the same with Berrios equalizing once again.
But Brad Evans would give Seattle the last laugh, putting himself on the end of a gorgeous cross from Osvaldo Alonso to head home the Sounders third. Though the rest of the game would be a predictably white-knuckle affair, Seattle still held the advantage when the referees whistle blew and head back to Seattle for a huge clash with the San Jose Earthquakes having secured advancement to the next stage of CCL play.