Seattle, Montreal take narrow home wins in MLS playoffs
ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 23, 2016 04:16 PM
Seattle Sounders forward Nicolas Lodeiro celebrates in the rain after he scored a goal against the Colorado Rapids on a penalty kick during the second half of the first leg of the MLS soccer Western Conference finals, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Seattle. The Sounders won 2-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle and Montreal both won at home by one-goal margins in Tuesday's first-leg games of Major League Soccer's conference finals, leaving the matches in the balance going into the weekend's return legs.
Seattle's Nicolas Lodeiro converted a penalty in the 61st minute to give the Sounders a 2-1 win against Colorado in the Western Conference decider, while Montreal hung on to edge Canadian rival Toronto 3-2 in the Eastern Conference.
After a 16-day layoff due to the international break, the Seattle-Colorado game was expected to be a defensive struggle was instead a lively showcase that featured chances on both ends.
Kevin Doyle gave Colorado an early advantage, and what could prove a key away goal, when his shot in the 13th minute deflected off Seattle defender Chad Marshall and past goalkeeper Stefan Frei, stunning the 42,774 in attendance.
Seattle responded almost immediately with Jordan Morris pulling the Sounders even in the 19th minute, seizing on the rebound of Cristian Roldan's shot that beat the goalkeeper but ricocheted off the post.
Lodeiro caused issues all over the field for Colorado before drawing the penalty 15 minutes into the second half. A deflected ball rolled to Lodeiro in the penalty area and he was taken down by Marc Burch, who didn't dispute the decision. Lodeiro sent goalkeeper Zac MacMath — filling in for Tim Howard who will miss the remainder of the season with a groin injury — the wrong way and scored his fourth goal of the playoffs.
Seattle has made the Western Conference final twice before but has never progressed to the MLS Cup final.
Montreal looked on the way to a comfortable win against Toronto when it led 3-0 after 53 minutes, but two late goals by the visitors leaves the tie in the balance.
The match was delayed 30 minutes by a groundskeeping error, but then Dominic Oduro, Matteo Mancosu and Ambroise Oyongo put Montreal well before a sellout crowd of 61,004 at Olympic Stadium.
However U.S. internationals Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley both netted important away goals to boost the chances of avenging last season's defeat at the hands of the Impact in the playoffs.