Despite being the team yet to play a competitive domestic match this year, the Seattle Sounders have a 1-0 lead at halftime over Santos Laguna in Seattle. A goal in the 12th minute by David Estrada is the difference, coming off a fantastic diagonal cross into the box by Fredy Montero that was headed in by the young forward. Considering the somewhat-long odds for Seattle heading into this tie, the hosts are in a terrific position heading into the break.
The first half was quite open, and Seattle showed a surprising amount of sharpness on their passes, with their linking play in the final third demonstrating the quality of the players on the field and the effectiveness of the preseason preparation. They haven't looked quite as strong overall in midfield and the defensive zone, where they are holding their own against Santos but seem prone to poor giveaways and mental breakdowns. Perhaps if the long-range bending shot by Alvaro Fernandez that went just over the bar in the 40th had gone in, Seattle would be feeling much more confident about their lead.
Santos will probably be a bit disappointed by the scoreline, but they are very much still in this match. While their play has been surprisingly disjointed, it seems entirely possible they are biding their time and will wait for Seattle to grow fatigued over 90 minutes. Star striker Oribe Peralta was ineffective in the first half, but American international Herculez Gomez has been the most dangerous player for Santos' attack so far. As a player who has been getting increased playing time of late, he seems to have something to prove, not only to his club coach but to MLS in general and U.S. Men's National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann in particular.
Although Seattle should be happy with their lead, they need to keep attacking in the second half to give themselves the best chance of getting a victory on the night. If Santos hold onto possession for long stretches and get many chances on goal, one of those chances (and perhaps more) is bound to go in.
Finally, there haven't been any red cards yet, and only three yellow cards (two for Santos, one for Seattle). If any crazy penalties get called or somebody gets a red, all bets are off as to how this match will end.