• Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

    Gomez goal lifts Santos past Seattle

    By Michael Lewis

    SEATTLE, Wash. -- U.S. international striker Herculez Gomez continued his amazing scoring prowess against Major League Soccer teams, connecting for the lone goal to give Santos Laguna a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals on Tuesday night.

    Santos will return home for the second leg in Torreon, Mexico next Tuesday with an important away goal in the aggregate goals series.

    It was only the second time in five attempts that Santos won a match at U.S. stadium.

    Nine minutes into the second half, Gomez struck for his ninth Champions League goal, all against MLS clubs. Carlos Darwin Quintero fired a 23-yard shot that goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann managed to punch away. Gomez got a step on his marker, former Cuban international midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, on the left side of the penalty area and one-touched the rebound from eight yards into the far corner at CenturyLink Field.

    After the goal, Santos tried to put the Sounders into a deeper hole, but Quintero's shot was just wide right in the 59th minute and Oribe Peralta chipped his 10-yard effort over the crossbar two minutes later.

    Hahnemann, who replaced Michael Gspurning (yellow-card suspension) in the net, came out of the net to deny Peralta's try for an insurance goal in the 71st minute.

    Santos had more scoring opportunities in a scoreless opening half, but could not put one away.

    Brad Evans had Seattle's first chance in the 19th minute when he turned and fired a 12-yard attempt wide left.

    Six minutes later, the visitors gave the Sounders a scare when Gomez penetrated into the right side of penalty area, but launched as 12-yard shot that sailed wide left.

    Santos put one on target in the 28th minute, as Rodolfo Salinas, off a Quintero feed from the right side, sent a shot right to Hahnemann.

    The Sounders, who played without their injured U.S. international striker Eddie Johnson, had their best opportunity in the first half in the 40th minute. Sammy Ochoa's header, off a corner kick by Honduran international midfielder Mario Martinez, wound up wide right. Seattle attempted 11th corner kicks, but Santos managed to defend most of them well.

    Seattle defender Zach Scott placed a soft header on target in the 86th minute, but goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez had little difficulty grabbing it.

    Grenadan international midfielder Shalrie Joseph made his Seattle debut, teaming with Alonso at central midfield. Joseph played 72 minutes before he was replaced by Andy Rose in the 72nd minute.

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