2018 CONCACAF Champions League, Quarterfinals
  • Clint Dempsey (78')
1st Leg
1st Leg

Clint Dempsey strikes late to give Sounders CCL win over Chivas

Stefan Frei swats the ball away to make a save in Seattle's CCL first leg against Chivas. AP Images

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 quarterfinal first leg at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday night.

The victory is the third in as many games by Major League Soccer clubs against Liga MX teams in the quarterfinals 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 in the 78th minute.

Dempsey hadn't scored in the CCL in over two years, after notching a brace against Club America in February 2016, and he noted the impact that a split crowd has on the game.

"They came out and played, so it was an open game, it was back-and-forth so I think it was fun for the fans," Dempsey said after the game. "They have a big following as you could see in the stadium tonight, they were well supported. But our fans showed up as well and created a good atmosphere.

"But, yeah, they fought hard and went for it and so did we. Disappointed not to get more goals, I felt like I could have done better on two more of those opportunities but still happy with the win and the result."

The two teams will meet again on Wednesday in Guadalajara for the second leg with Brian Schmetzer's team looking for a spot in the CCL semifinals.

"They're going to come out and try and take the game to us," Dempsey said. "We've just got to do a good job of trying to keep possession and create our own chances and if we're able to an away goal, that'll make it really difficult for them.

"But this will be a tough game. We have to go out there and put in a great performance. That's what it's about. That's why you have two legs, you've got to do it at home but you've got to do it away."