Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez came through for the Sounders U17s, again. For the third straight GA Cup match, the Tacoma Defiance forward scored the Sounders’ only goal. This time it was an extra-time game-winner over three-time tournament champion River Plate, delivering another 1-0 win and putting the Sounders into a semifinal matchup with West Ham on Thursday.
Almost as impressive as the win itself was how the Sounders did it. Although River Plate had their moments, the Sounders controlled large portions of the match and had arguably the better chances. In regulation, they had one goal ruled just offside and Ocampo-Chavez missed a close-range back-post header just wide. Shortly after scoring, the Sounders had another 1-v-1 opportunity to put the match away.
Their game-winner came deep into extra-time after the two teams had played two scoreless 35-minute halves when Bryson Hankins won a tackle and pushed it ahead to Christopher Hegardt, who was flying up the right wing. Hegardt then found Ocampo-Chavez who put his shot just past the River Plate goalkeeper.
The goal marked the third straight game that Ocampo-Chavez had scored a winner for the Sounders, who had no room for error after losing to Spain’s Valencia in their tournament opener. It also meant that the Sounders have beaten the last four GA Cup winners, as River Plate won from 2015 through 2017 and Flamengo are the reigning champions.
A year after the Sounders won the tournament’s Premier Division, they are now the last remaining MLS side in the Champions Division. They’ll face West Ham on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.