Los Angeles (AFP) – The Seattle Sounders took control of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-final against Major League Soccer champions New York City on Wednesday with a convincing 3-1 first-leg victory.
Goals from Albert Rusnak, Jordan Morris and captain Nicolas Lodeiro powered the Sounders to a deserved win that leaves the club on the brink of a first appearance in the final of the regional competition for teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Seattle took the lead after 16 minutes with a superbly crafted passing move that culminated in US international Morris laying off into the path of Slovakia international Rusnak, who rammed a low finish past City goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
New York got back on level terms in the 27th minute when a counter-attack ended with Thiago Andrade bundling the ball into the net from close range after an assist from Argentine forward Valentin Castellanos.
Seattle regained the lead seven minutes later with another slick move, Cristian Roldan cutting back from the byline for Morris to bludgeon a powerful right-foot shot into the top corner from just inside the area.
Seattle added a third goal on 67 minutes when the video assistant referee adjudged that New York defender Thiago Martins had fouled Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz in the area.
Mexican referee Luis Enrique Santander pointed to the spot and Lodeiro stepped up to make it 3-1.
The second leg is in New York next Wednesday.
The winner of the tie will face the winner of the all-Mexican semi-final between Cruz Azul and Pumas UNAM. Pumas won the first leg, at home, 2-1 on Tuesday.
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