Three takeaways from Sounders CCL defeat at Guadalajara

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ZAPOPAN, MEXICO - MARCH 14: Isaac Brizuela of Chivas fights for the ball with Waylon Francis of Seattle Sounders during the quarterfinals second leg match between Chivas and Seattle Sounders as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2018 at Akron Stadium on March 14, 2018 in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images)

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (March 14, 2018) – Feeling comfortable in their home stadium of Estadio Akron, CD Guadalajara, otherwise known as Chivas, scored two goals to eliminate the Seattle Sounders out of the CONCACAF Champion’s League by an aggregate score of 3-1.

Three takeaways from Sounders CCL defeat at Guadalajara

During the post-game press conference from their first match on March 7, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer noted that the Sounders wanted more goals for a challenging task ahead of them in Mexico.

However, the Sounders only managed one goal at home.

The lack of goals proved costly. The Sounders found three opposing goals in the back of Stefan Frei’s net in Guadalajara by Oswaldo Alanís, Eduardo López and José Godínez.

Now, Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls will represent the MLS in CCL action.

Here are three takeaways from Seattle’s 3-0 loss to Chivas Wednesday night.

The “difficult task” proved too much:

After the Sounders’ 1-0 victory in leg one at CenturyLink Field, Schmetzer noted that going down to Mexico would be a “difficult task.”

He also mentioned that his team attempted to push for more goals, but ending up with only one. Schmetzer downplayed going down to Guadalajara all week, calling it business as usual.

However, Chivas thrived off their crowd’s energy — and the Estadio Akron wasn’t even filled. There were empty seats all throughout the stadium, yet Chivas found a way to raise the noise louder than Atlanta’s record-breaking crowds.

Schmetzer wasn’t wrong about the Chivas-Sounders leg two match being difficult. However, with an injury-plagued squad (we’ll get there in a moment), Chivas rolled right past the Sounders with an effortless first half and a eye-turning second half.

The injury conundrum surrounding Seattle:

First Jordan Morris — and then they all go down.

The Sounders had slim pickings on Wednesday night, as Nicolás Lodeiro picked up a midfoot sprain before the lineup was announced.

According to Schmetzer, the team initially thought Lodeiro’s injury was a stress fracture. However, the Sounders have noted that the injury doesn’t appear to be long term.

The same might not be said for forward Will Bruin.

Bruin left the match with a head injury after only five minutes. He was replaced by Lamar Neagle. That wasn’t the only early substitution that Schmetzer had to make. Also in the first half, Chad Marshall picked up an injury to his eye.

He was replaced in the 35th minute by Kim Kee-Hee.

With three starters — four if you count regular starter Morris — out of the match, Seattle had a long 65 minutes. It certainly wasn’t in Schmetzer’s game plan to make two early substitutions and use the last for Kelvin Leerdam.

The Sounders can only hope that their well-known players can heal before the MLS season kicks into high gear.

Frei was off, but the defense didn’t help:

Stefan Frei had a forgettable night.

The Sounders goalkeeper made three saves, but watched as three goals went past him. If José Macías wasn’t called for offsides in the 86th minute, it would have been four goals.

Frei wasn’t on his game Wednesday night, but his defense didn’t lend much help. With Lodeiro out, Roman Torres wore the captain’s armband. However, his play didn’t scream captain, as he was out-paced by Chivas’ fast strikers Rodolfo Pizarro and Isaác Brizuela.

Waylon Francis started on the left wing over Nouhou Tolo, which was a questionable decision from Schmetzer. On the other side, to the right, Jordan McCrary started.

Both fullbacks received yellow cards, along with striker Clint Dempsey.

Marshall’s absence from the defense certainly showed. The Sounders defense was lucky that Chivas didn’t get a goal before halftime. Even with the break, the four defenders couldn’t click and the three goals from Chivas came swiftly.

Two of Chivas’ goals came five minutes apart from each other.

The Sounders defense needs to brush this off, forget about the CCL and prepare for their MLS regular-season match against FC Dallas.

The match will be held in Frisco, Texas, and will kick off at 2 p.m. PT Sunday.

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