SEATTLE — It had not been anything like a clinical performance, but heading into the final minutes of Thursday’s Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 match it seemed like the Seattle Sounders had done enough to win.
Suddenly, they hadn’t. An 86th minute golazo from Carlos Pineda sent the match to a shootout where Olimpia converted all four of their chances and the Sounders failed to convert on their final two.
Coming into a match into a series where they seemed to be the MLS team most likely to advance, the Sounders were somehow the only representative from the league to fail to do so.
4’ — Olimpia got off to a dream start, scoring on a relatively simple corner. Elvin Oliva was able to beat Xavier Arreaga to Leonardo Garrido’s corner and get it past Cristian Roldan, who was stationed on the near post to give Olimpia a 3-2 lead on aggregate.
21’ — Cristian Roldan gave the Sounders a massive boost when he was first to a João Paulo free kick that managed find the back of the net despite it not being hit cleanly. A couple minutes earlier, Raúl Ruidíaz seemed to have a strong penalty shout when he was taken down in the box but the referee apparently decided that the contact was incidental.
27’ — Nouhou appeared to give the Sounders the lead after a nice give-and-go with João Paulo, but the goal was correctly flagged offside.
55’ — The Sounders had a glorious look at the go-ahead goal when Morris whipped in a cross that Edrick Menjivar spilled in front of goal. João Paulo nearly got there to poke it into the net, but just missed making contact.
64’ — João Paulo gave the Sounders back the lead, connecting on a shot from about 18 yards out. Kelvin Leerdam helped create the chance by pressing high and intercepting a pass before pushing it ahead to Roldan, who then crossed it to João Paulo.
86’ — Just as the Sounders seemed to be ready to close out the match, Carlos Pineda got a hold of a perfectly hit volley from about 20 yards out after the Sounders failed to clear a free kick to tie it up 2-2.
PENALTIES: Ruidiaz converts on a panenka; Yustin Arboleda converts; João Paulo converts despite keeper guessing right; Jorge Benguche converts; Roldan shoots over bar; Frei gets a hand on Edwin Rodriguez’s shot but can’t keep it out; Kelvin Leerdam has his penalty saved; Johnny Leveron clinches.
They did the work
- João Paulo continues to show that he was a very astute signing. The Brazilian now has two goals in two games for the Sounders and was once again an absolute force in the midfield. Eventually, he’ll drop back a line and we’ll get to see how effective he is from deeper, but he’s shown that he’s got the kind of two-way ability that bodes well for his MLS future.
- Cristian Roldan largely made up for an underwhelming first match, registering a goal and an assist. It was nothing like a perfect performance, but it’s definitely encouraging that a player who’s going to be doing more attacking this year is already contributing to goals.
- If there was one defender who stood out in a positive way, I think Nouhou was probably it. While the Sounders didn’t get much going from their attacking wide players, Nouhou was constantly pushing forward and getting into dangerous positions. That his goal was waved off was undeniably correct and that he had another glorious look only to attempt to pass were let downs, but it was encouraging to see him getting into those positions while not really giving up much behind him.
Still needs work
- Neither Shane O’Neill nor Xavier Arreaga are filling us with confidence through two games. The Sounders gave up both goals on set-pieces and they’ve yet to look settled in the back at any point in their two games. Familiarity will surely improve, but these are the centerbacks the Sounders are likely going to have for the foreseeable future and they’ll all need to better.
- The Sounders 2019 run was built on winning games they had to win. Whether it was important regular season games or the playoff contests, the Sounders always seemed to step up or find a way even if they weren’t at their best. With the wind seemingly at their backs against Olimpia — they led 2-0 on the road and 4-3 on aggregate at home — they just couldn’t push this one across the line. Let’s hope it’s not a sign of things to come.
The game in one gif
We can dissect Olimpia’s equalizer and find fault at various points, but let’s give credit where it’s due: That was quite a hit.
¡Golazo de Carlos Lopez!— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) February 28, 2020
Great strike on the volley from outside the box, and #Olimpia have leveled it 2-2 on the night and 4-4 on aggregate in Seattle.#OLIvSEA #CCL #SCCL2020 pic.twitter.com/v4PQ4MImWg
One stat to tell the tale
42 — There were 42 fouls called in this game and yet somehow just a total of three minutes of stoppage time between the two halves. The fouls were reasonably well split between the two teams, but that pretty much played into Olimpia’s likely desire to slow the game down.
Quote of the day
“I don’t care how we lost. It’s extremely disappointing. We like to think of ourselves as a big club. We are going to keep this for awhile.” - Brian Schmetzer
Man of the match
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