COUVA, Trinidad — Sounders FC is one win from qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals after a 3-1 group-stage win Thursday at Caledonia AIA of Trinidad and Tobago.
Alex Caskey scored just before halftime, and Seattle got second-half goals from Sammy Ochoa and Fredy Montero to improve to 2-0 in CCL’s Group 4. The Sounders can clinch the top spot in the three-team group — and a return trip to the tournament’s final eight — with a win against CD Marathon of Honduras (0-0-1) on the road Sept. 19 or at home Oct. 24.
“Being able to control our destiny is really important,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “We can analyze it a little bit and sort of decide which game we’re going to push for that victory.”
Caledonia AIA (0-2-1), which lost to Seattle by the same score Aug. 2 at CenturyLink Field, can no longer advance beyond group play.
Ochoa extended the Sounders’ lead to 2-0 in the 60th minute, when he collected a pass from Montero at the top of the penalty area and curled a shot into the top corner of the net.
“We were just keeping the ball, and Fredy somehow found me in the box,” Ochoa said. “I took a touch inside and I saw the defender cheating and I saw the goalkeeper cheating, too, so I hit it to the first post and it went in. I was trying to hit it on the ground ... but I guess it went a little higher.”
Caledonia cut into the lead in the 66th minute on a penalty kick after defender Zach Scott fouled forward Jamal Gay in the penalty box. Kareem Joseph converted his second PK against Seattle.
Montero answered almost immediately in the 69th minute off a cross from the left by Caskey. The red-hot forward has scored in six of Seattle’s seven games in August. He has 15 goals, eight this month alone, in all competitions this season.
Ochoa has also been scoring at a blinding rate with six goals across all competitions in just 545 minutes played.
Seattle boasted most of the scoring chances in the first half and broke through just before halftime when Caskey scored from 8 yards on a cross from Scott.
“I think it was important to get that first goal at the end of the half,” said Caskey, “and then in the second half we settled down a little bit and started playing better soccer.”