Soccer  > General Soccer  > Saprissa beats Seattle to reach quarters
October 20, 2010, 11:35 AM
SEATTLE -- Saprissa scored a dramatic 87th-minute goal on gaffe by Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller to beat the Sounders 2-1 Tuesday night and earn a berth in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Saprissa midfielder Josue Martinez collected the ball on the right side of the goal box and fired a shot that Keller tried to punch, but instead pushed off the post to his left and it dropped behind the former U.S. international.

The result gave the Costa Rican side 10 points, three behind Group C leader Monterrey - which already had clinched the group title - and four better than Marathon. The Honduran side will play its final group match Wednesday against Monterrey.

Saprissa becomes the first Costa Rican side to advance past the Group Stage and denied Marathon a third straight trip to the knockout round.

"There was not a lot of time left, but we never lost hope," Saprissa coach Roy Myers said. "We knew that it's not over until it's over. We thought we could have to wait until tomorrow, and that would be OK, but we also knew that if we kept trying, we could score and sew up the qualification tonight."

The winning goal came on Seattle's veteran goalkeeper's second misstep of the match, both resulting in the Saprissa goals.

The first visiting score came in the 26th minute, when Saprissa forward Jairo Arrieta got the ball on a breakaway. Sounders defenseman Zach Scott couldn't clear the ball, and Keller raced off his line to intercept Arrieta, only to allow him to skirt away for an easy goal.

"Nobody's harder on Kasey than himself, and he's saved us too many times," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "I'm not going to get on his case here. He's a pro. Nobody's more disappointed than he is. He'll sort it out, and it's probably good to get it out of the way now."

Early in the match, Seattle looked every bit like the club that had won seven matches in a row, including MLS and U.S. Open Cup play.

The Sounders went ahead in the 17th minute when forward Nate Jaqua scored, lunging to toe in a rebound from a missed shot by teammate Alvaro Fernandez. From there, Seattle controlled most of the first half but allowed Saprissa to slowly whittle away at its defense until Arrieta's goal.

In the second half, the game got very physical, with eight yellow cards and one red card in the 90th minute when Saprissa defender Alexander Robinson was ejected with a second caution for dissent.

Myers said the victory was a significant accomplishment and something his club felt was long overdue.

"It's very important," he said. "We had two years of results not passing to the second phase. Today we had the chance. We played against a team with strong personality, but we knew we had to win, and now we are very happy and full of pride about advancing."

Meanwhile, Schmid said the Sounders would take away a lot from their first go at Champions League play.

"There's only four MLS teams that were in this tournament and three teams from America, so it's an honor to be in that exclusive group," Schmid said. "You learn every time you play. We learned something today.

"Guys learned something about themselves. We learned something about ourselves as a team, and all those experiences are going to make you better as you move forward. "

Comment

Remember to keep your posts clean. Profanity will get filtered, and offensive comments will be removed.


Truth & Rumors

MOST POPULAR

  1. 1
    Irving: Fans don't deserve the Cavs
    Views
    11668
    Comments
    682
  2. 2
    Red Sox dodged two injury scares
    Views
    3078
    Comments
    503
  3. 3
    Trump taking a legit run at the Bills
    Views
    2379
    Comments
    106
  4. 4
    Why the Raiders have lost 111 of 160 games
    Views
    8477
    Comments
    66
  5. 5
    Bruins can't count on shut-down D
    Views
    2115
    Comments
    61

SI.com

SI Photos