Sounders fight back against Tigres, advance to CCL semis
SEATTLE (AP) Eddie Johnson scored from a shallow angle along the end line in the 75th minute to cap Seattle's remarkable second-half comeback to beat Tigres 3-2 on aggregate and advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals for the first time in franchise history.
Seattle won the second-leg of the quarterfinal series 3-1 and became the first MLS club to oust a Mexican side in a home-and-home series since the format for the tournament was altered five years ago. Seattle will face either Houston or Santos Laguna in the semifinals.
Defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore scored stunning goals from distance early in the second half to give Seattle a chance at finishing the comeback. They did it against a Tigres side that traveled with just 16 players and left many of its starters in Mexico. Tigres played the entire second half with just 10-men after Manuel Viniegra was given a second yellow card in the 45th minute.
Elias Hernandez scored a crucial away goal in the 23rd minute on a defensive breakdown by Seattle that gave Tigres a 2-0 lead in the aggregate. But Seattle took full use of having the man advantage and put pressure on the Tigres goal the entire second half.
The breakthrough finally came when Yedlin, a rookie and Seattle's first homegrown player, volleyed a 30-yard shot past Tigres goalkeeper Jorge Diaz de Leon in the 53rd minute. The goal snapped Seattle's scoreless streak at 233 minutes in three matches since the start of the 2012 MLS season.
Seven minutes later, the Sounders pulled ahead in the match when Traore shot from nearly the same distance as Yedlin, this time a left-footed blast that skimmed the underside of the crossbar. But Seattle still trailed in the aggregate due to the away goal rule.
After Steve Zakuani and Sammy Ochoa both missed chances in the penalty box to give Seattle the needed third goal, Johnson finally put Seattle in front. He took a pass down the wing from Zakuani and cut hard toward the goal from a difficult angle. Instead of crossing to the middle of the box, Johnson slid his shot past Diaz de Leon on the near post.
Tigres had a chance to pull out a late victory, but Alan Pulido's shot off a corner kick in stoppage time went just wide of the net. Pulido was one of just three Tigres players to appear in the first leg in Mexico and make the trip to Seattle. Tigres, the current leader of Mexico's top division, had a league match last weekend, while Seattle had a bye in MLS play.