MEXICO CITY (AP)Nicolas Lodeiro scored on a a pair of penalty kicks late in the second half, and the Seattle Sounders rallied for a 2-2 draw with Pumas in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final Wednesday night.
Lodeiro scored the first penalty kick in the 77th minute and the second came in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time after Cristian Roldan was fouled in the penalty area by Efrain Velarde. Referee Ivan Barton eventually went to video review and awarded the penalty kick that brought the Sounders level going into the second leg.
”I just have to be prepared and we prepare for these,” Lodeiro said through an interpreter. ”I have to be with peace of mind and confidence that I’m going to be able to deliver. That is what the team is expecting.”
Seattle will host the second leg next Wednesday night looking to become the first Major League Soccer team to win the Champions League under its current format that started in 2008. Seattle is the fifth MLS team to reach the final and this will be the third time an MLS team will go into the second leg after playing to a draw in the first leg in Mexico.
Real Salt Lake played Monterrey to 2-2 on the road in 2011 before losing 1-0 at home. Montreal played Club America 1-1 on the road in 2015, but lost 4-2 at home.
”Hopefully we’ll have a full stadium and again, it’s going to be a very good final,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said.
Juan Dinenno scored two goals in the first 50 minutes for Pumas, but the LigaMX side was unable to make the two-goal lead hold up. Mexican clubs have won the CCL title in every season under its current format.
Dinenno, the top scorer in the tournament, scored on the second chance at a penalty kick in the 38th minute and added a powerful header that left Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei frozen in the opening minutes of the second half to give Pumas a 2-0 lead.
Dinenno’s first penalty kick attempt was saved by Frei, but video review determined he left the goal line early and a second attempt was awarded.
”That was a little disappointing for us to go down 2-0,” Schmetzer said. ”But what I would say to you is what I always appreciate about our team, is it we never quit. We never stopped trying. It’s always been there.”
Seattle halved the deficit in the 77th minute after Raul Ruidiaz’s attempted cross hit the arm of Sebastian Saucedo inside the penalty area. Lodeiro squeezed his shot past Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.
Velarde’s foul on Roldan wasn’t first noticed by Barton. Roldan yelled for the call, video review intervened and the penalty kick was awarded. Lodeiro beat Talavera to the same side again and the Sounders were level.
Road goals are not a tiebreaker in the final, so if the teams are tied on aggregate after 90 minutes the final will goal to extra time. A win by either team in the second leg will give them the title.
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