Dempsey’s late goal lifts Sounders past Chivas, 1-0

SEATTLE (AP) — Clint Dempsey scored from straight in front of the goal in the 78th minute, giving the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 victory over CD Chivas Guadalajara on Wednesday night in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.

Defender Jordan McCrary started the play that led to the goal with a through ball down the right wing side. Henry WIngo who had just subbed in five minutes earlier, caught up it and took it almost to the end line. He crossed it into the penalty area, Dempsey met it at the penalty spot and drilled a hard shot into the back left corner past goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota.

Dempsey nearly had another one just four minutes later with a wide-open net 8 yards on front of him. However, he put too much on the shot and sent it over the top.

In front of 42,885 fans, a club record for a Champions League game, the Sounders had the run of play for much of the second half, but were kept off the board until Dempsey broke through. Just two minutes into the half, Chad Marshall had a header from the left side of the box that had Cota beat, bout bounced off the inside of the far post.

Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei preserved the lead in the 89th minute when he went to the turf to save a diving header by Rodolfo Pizarro.

Frei also came up with two dramatic saves during the first half. In the 11th minute, Chivas forward Jesus Godinez tried to redirect a ball into the net. But Frei reacted in time to make the save, then reached out with his right hand to slap the ball out of danger.

In the 33rd, Chivas midfielder Alan Pulido, playing on the right wing side, got around Roman Torres after the Sounders defender slipped and went down. That gave Pulido a one-on-one run into the box against. Frei. But Frei came way off his line, slid, and blocked the shot with his right foot.

The Sounders finished with an 18-12 advantage in shots.

Seattle, which reached the quarterfinals with a 5-2 aggregate victory against Santa Tecla of El Salvador, and Chivas, a 7-0 aggregate winner over Dominican side Cibao, will play the second leg next Wednesday in Guadalajara.