Clint Dempsey scored late in the second half to earn the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 win against Chivas in the teams’ CONCACAF Champions League first-leg tie at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.
The victory is the third in three tries by Major League Soccer against Liga MX teams in the quarterfinal stage of the CCL after the New York Red Bulls beat Tijuana 2-0 on Tuesday night and Toronto FC beat Tigres 2-1 earlier on Wednesday.
A wildly entertaining opening 25 minutes was filled with end-to-end action and near misses. Stefan Frei swatted away a Alejandro Mayorga shot right on his doorstep early on before a swerving Dempsey strike forced Chivas keeper Rodolfo Cota into a diving save.
Frei then made another spectacular save just past the half-hour mark, keeping an Alan Pulido chip out after Sounders defender Roman Torres stumbled and left the striker one-on-one against the Seattle keeper.
Seattle nearly found its opener just as the second half began, but Will Bruin’s header from a Nicolas Lodeiro corner kick hit the post and somehow stayed out to keep the score even at 0-0.
With time running down, Dempsey found himself all alone in the center of the Chivas penalty area and he redirected a Henry Wingo cross into the back of the net for the game’s only goal.
Dempsey hadn’t scored in the CCL in over two years when he notched a brace against Club America in February of 2016.
The two teams will meet again on March 13 in Guadalajara for the second leg with Brian Schmetzer’s team looking for a spot in the CCL semifinals.