United States Major League Soccer club Seattle Sounders handed Caledonia AIA a gift they didn't want–a 3-1 CONCACAF Champions League defeat mere hours before Trinidad and Tobago celebrated their 50th anniversary of Independence.
Caribbean champions Caledonia cannot now advance out of Group 4 after also losing the first leg tie 3-1 in Seattle a month ago. However, they still have to visit Honduras on September 26 for the return tie with CD Marathon, after playing to a 0-0 draw in Trinidad a week ago.
Caledonia had a reasonable first half on Thursday night at Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, before the tactically superior US club exploited obvious glaring faults on the way to winning the match.
Striker Alexander Caskey scored Seattle's opening goal in the 45th minute, before Sammy Ochoa shot into the top corner to double Seattle's advantage in the 60th minute.
Caledonia briefly got back in the match at 2-1 in the 67th minute when midfielder Kareem "Tiny" Joseph converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Jamal Gay. But, playmaker Fredy Montero restored the MLS club's advantage just two minutes later, positioning himself between AIA central defenders Radanfar Abu Bakr and Nuru Muhammad and sliding the ball past keeper Glenroy Samuel.
Early on, Caledonia looked pacey and marginally dangerous, before the visitors settled and began to move the ball around.
Caledonia had a brief dangerous moment in the first half. Abu Bakr almost scored with a back-post header in the opening minute, while Joseph caused some panic with swinging crosses, one of which prompted a desperate touch from goalie Michael Gspurning to keep it off the head of Abu Bakr.
Forcing the action sometimes, Caledonia won seven corners, but predictably looked for Bakr at the far post. Bakr was in the attack several times and often neglected his defensive duties.
Generally, Caledonia looked suspect at the back and it took an acrobatic save from goalie Samuel to keep out a free back-post header from Ochoa in the 19th minute. And again coming in at the back post, overlapping defender Zach Scott showed more determination to get the ball away than defender Muhammad and slid the sphere to Caskey, who strolled the ball low into the net in the 45th minute.
The home team again began the second half brightly and almost scored when Joseph overlapped, collected a through ball from St Vincent & the Grenadines midfielder Cornelius Stewart behind the defenders, but put his shot into the side-netting.
They then conceded a second goal when Montero slipped a pass to Ochoa, who placed his shot into the top left corner from just inside the penalty box.
Puerto Rican referee Javier Santos awarded a penalty after Scott's tug on Gay's shirt and Joseph scored for Caledonia in the 67th. But Montero put Seattle further ahead at 3-1 in the 69th when tapping in a low Caskey pass from the edge of the six-yard box.