By John Boyle
When is this goal, scored by 19-year-old rookie DeAndre Yedlin, not only not the best goal of the night, but not the best goal scored by a Sounders defender in a span of seven minutes?
When Djimi Traore scores this goal, that’s when.
If you missed the second leg of the Sounders’ CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against, you missed arguably the most impressive comeback in the team’s history, as Seattle, needing three goals in a half to avoid elimination, got three goals in a half to advance to the semifinals. Tuesday’s 3-1 victory, which gave Seattle a 3-2 aggregate advantage, also made Seattle the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican team in the knockout stages of this tournament, though Houston has a chance to match that accomplishment tomorrow.
“I used to have an assistant coach at UCLA who used to say, ‘You’ve got to dare to be brilliant. You can’t be brilliant if you don’t try it,’ Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “DeAndre hitting that ball, Djimi hitting that ball, it’s taking a chance, but that’s how you score great goals.”
Traore, who joked that he hasn’t scored a goal like that in maybe 20 years, described his goal saying, “When I saw the space in front of me. I saw nobody come to close me down. If you don’t try, you never score that kind of goal, so that’s what I did.”
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who came up with several big first-half saves to keep his team from falling further behind, was impressed with the offensive display put on by his defenders.
“Djimi told me the last time he scored like this was with his youth team, but he was closer to the goal,” Gspurning said. “I’m very happy for my defenders, my guys. They did a great job. It’s also good if they’re in the spotlight with the goal. The goal from DeAndre was fantastic.”
Yet as good as those two goals were, Tigres would have advanced thanks to its away goal, which came earlier in the game, had the score stayed 2-2 on aggregate. Eddie Johnson finished off the comeback, however, scoring a rather impressive goal of his own in the 75th minute.