The Seattle Sounders drew 2-2 at UNAM Pumas in the opening leg of their Concacaf Champions League final series. Juan Ignacio Dinenno put Pumas up from the penalty spot in the 38th and doubled the lead in the 48th. Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro responded with penalties in the 77th and nine minutes into stoppage time. Seattle hosts UNAM Pumas in the deciding leg on Wednesday.
“We prepare for this,” Lodeiro told his club’s official site. “I have to have peace of mind and confidence that I’m going to be able to deliver. That’s what the team is expecting, and that’s what we are preparing ourselves to do all the time. Having that confidence that we’re going to execute helps us to be successful when taking PKs.”
While away goals aren’t the tiebreaker in the final round, reports of over 50k tickets sold is a clear upside for the Sounders. They’ve created a distinct advantage at Lumen Field, something that could help push them towards what the club is stressing as their biggest game. There’s no downplaying how difficult MLS teams have found winning this tournament. FS1’s broadcast focused on the near misses for Toronto and LAFC, but it’s the entire scope of the tournament up to this point.
What a Seattle win would change is the perception that even a slight difference between Liga MX and MLS is enough. It’s that nagging perception that Mexico’s topflight will always find a way to show that they’re better when it counts. If anything, that adds more pressure for the Sounders, playing an unremarkable Liga MX team that made it to this season’s final. As opportunities go, this one is clear.
Also in the soccer news, Mexico played an out of window friendly last night. They drew 0-0 with Guatemala at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, testing the scope of their squad with most of the regulars unavailable. El Tri put two of 19 shots on goal to Guatemala’s one from four.
Moving to Europe, Liverpool took a 2-0 lead in their UEFA Champions League semifinal series with Valencia. An own-goal opened the scoring at Anfield in the 53rd minute and Saio Mane doubled the lead in the 55th. That series concludes on Tuesday.
“What I like most about Villarreal is that even when they are under pressure, when there is one moment they can get out of the pressure they are immediately a threat,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “Immediately passes in the center and we had to put a lot of players, obviously, on the wing to try to win the ball. If you don’t win the ball there then obviously you are all of a sudden in between everything and we did that most of the time really well. So 2-0, half-time, no more, no less.”
In the Austrian Bundesliga, Brenden Aaronson subbed out in the 76th minute of Red Bull Salzburg’s 2-1 loss at Sturm Graz. Trailing from the 14th minute, Benjamin Sesko equalized for Salzburg in the 22nd. Sturm Graz scored again in the 72nd minute.
The Independent’s Miguel Delaney focuses on what didn’t work for Valencia, now two goals down. DW on the clubs against UEFA changing the Champions League. The NY Times’ Tariq Panja updates the situation with an eventual new owner for Chelsea. The Athletic’s Sam Stjeskal reports on Inter Miami’s stadium plan.
FRIDAY’S SOCCER TV
Ligue 1 on beIN Sport: Strasbourg vs PSG at 3pm. Liga MX on UniMas: Necaxa vs Chivas at 8pm. TUDN has Mazatlan vs Puebla at 10pm ET.
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