Nicolás Lodeiro converts one of his penalty kicks. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Sounders)

Captain Nicolás Lodeiro converted a penalty kick nine minutes into second-half stoppage time to lift the Seattle Sounders to a 2-2 draw with Pumas UNAM in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final in Mexico City, Mexico on Wednesday night.

The Sounders will play the second leg next Wednesday, May 5 with a chance for an MLS team to win the trophy for the first time and reach the FIFA Club World Cup.

Neither Seattle nor Pumas has lifted a SCCL trophy, guaranteeing a new champion will be crowned at the conclusion of the second leg in Seattle.

“What I always appreciate about our team is that we never quit,” Sounders head coach Schmetzer said. “The culture of the club has always been there…What we will try and do is take what we learned from this game and then apply it to the game in Seattle.

“Anything can happen in a final. Anything can happen in Concacaf.”

Schmetzer can thank Lodeiro for that.

“You don’t understand how much pressure there was,” he said. “Nico did what he had to do. … He’s a great player and he’s got a lot of mental toughness.”

Pumas opened the scoring in the 38th minute when striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno drew a foul inside the area and converted the ensuing penalty at Estadio Olímpico Universitario. Dinenno completed his brace in the 48th minute, heading a cross that found the back of the net.

Later in the second half, after a Pumas defender committed a handball in the area, Lodeiro converted his first penalty kick, driving the ball past the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.

Seattle then equalized at the death, winning a penalty after Cristian Roldan drew a foul that was confirmed by VAR. Lodeiro converted again, this time firing the ball into the right side of the net.

Lodeiro has missed only one PK in 21 attempts with the Sounders.

“I have to be prepared,” Lodeiro said through a translator. “We prepare for this. I have to have peace of mind and confidence that I’m going to be able to deliver. That’s what the team is expecting, and that’s what we are preparing ourselves to do all the time. Having that confidence that we’re going to execute helps us to be successful when taking PKs.”

It was the latest goal ever scored in club history, breaking the record held by Brad Evans, when he scored in the 97th minute against CD Olimpia on Aug. 19, 2015.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at