Before the first leg of the Seattle Sounders’ CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, coach Sigi Schmid announced his goals: keep a clean sheet, win and score some goals.
As it played out Tuesday, the Sounders managed only to score some goals, opening the home-and-away series with a 2-2 draw with defending champion Club America of Mexico before a crowd of 42,836 at CenturyLink Field.
Clint Dempsey gave the Sounders leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but Club America answered each time. The result adds difficulty because away goals are the first tie-breaker as the series shifts to its resolution next week in Mexico City.
The game was offensive-minded from the start with both teams tearing through midfield and threatening on both ends.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
Jordan Morris — in his Seattle debut — almost put the Sounders ahead with a 12th- minute header, and 15 minutes later, Club America’s Rubens Sambueza sent a shot off the crossbar. But for all the chances and pace, the game remained scoreless until erupting in the final minutes of the half.
Dempsey put Seattle ahead in the 43rd minute, first by drawing a foul and then by sending a curling free kick into the top right corner from 26 yards.
However, the Sounders couldn’t preserve that lead into the break, as Club America’s Darwin Quintero timed a run just past the trapping Seattle defense and beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei from eight yards.
Dempsey restored Seattle’s lead in the 52nd minute, this time on a header from about six yards.
Club America drew even for the final time in the 69th minute, this time with Oribe Peralta finishing from close range behind the Sounders’ defense.
Seattle went with what seems a pure first-choice lineup: goalkeeper Frei; defenders Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; midfielders Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Andreas Ivanschitz; forwards Morris, Nelson Valdez and Dempsey.
Nine of Club America’s starting 11 also appeared in its weekend domestic league draw with Cruz Azul.
The series wraps up at 5 p.m. March 2 at Azteca Stadium.
Then the Sounders will turn their attention to the start of their eighth Major League Soccer season, March 6, when Sporting Kansas City visits.