CONCACAF Champion League: Sounders Drop First Leg To San Francisco 1-0

Can I cuss here? I mean, I guess I kinda make the rules, so I should probably just answer that myself. So let's think ... OK, I'm holding off. I'm going to hold the cussing for a much more meaningful loss than this one. But I honestly don't think they'll be any more frustrating than this one.

Losing 1-0 to San Francisco FC in the away leg of their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round game is not the end of the world for the Sounders. The way it happened, though, is going to make this a tough one to just slough off.

Let's start with the goal they surrendered. I guess you can make a reasonable argument that the penalty was acceptable. Jeff Parke definitely got his hand on the ball. Rather it was that the score came so extremely against the run of play. The Sounders had absolutely dominated possession up to that point, although they had failed to really make much of it.

From there, Los Monjes were pretty much satisfied to bunker and counter. There was nothing remotely like a sustained attack coming from their end, although they did manage to create a few good chances on counters.

The Sounders, meanwhile, continued to hold possession and fail to do much with it. It really wasn't until Alvaro Fernandez and Mike Fucito came on around the 60th minute that the attack showed much urgency. Even after they came in, there wasn't enough real danger created by the Sounders. Really, it was a frustrating performance from the attack. Fredy Montero was effectively neutralized, the Sounders got nothing positive out of their fullbacks and Erik Friberg, in particular, seemed to really struggle with the boggy conditions. Pat Noonan, yes that Pat Noonan, was probably their most dangerous player.

It did look like the Sounders might catch a break when a San Francisco defender appeared to handle a ball in the penalty area on a corner kick, but no whistle came. The Sounders created a couple more chances as the game lurched toward the 90th minute, but that was just more frustration too.

Noonan nearly played hero when he was able to get a solid header off a cross, but his shot hit the post and Fernandez was unable to settle the rebound. A few minutes later, Noonan found Fucito streaking toward the goal on a throw-in, but nothing came of that chance either.

The hole the Sounders now find themselves in is an unenviable one. Getting shut out on the road essentially removes the margin for error and means the Sounders will need to win by two goals to secure advancement. A 1-0 win would mean overtime, where anything is suddenly possible. Judged on the play of this game, you'd think the Sounders stand a very good chance of moving on, but this certainly makes it more interesting than many of us wanted.

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