CONCACAF Champions League: Sounders Win, Houston Draw In Good Night For MLS

Seattle and Houston both sit atop their groups after successful road trips.

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Herediano Vs. Tauro FC, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Herediano Moves To Top Of Group

Waylon Francis picked a good time to score his first goal for Herediano. The 21-year-old ripped a shot from 30 yards just after the break that struck the underside of the crossbar and found its way over the line for the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Tauro FC that pushes the Costa Ricans to the top spot in Group 2.

The match wasn't aesthetically pleasing by any means that's to a downpour before the match and then again at halftime that left the field waterlogged. While Herediano did have nine shots on goal, few were dangerous and Tauro rarely got forward despite having nearly half of the possession.

Francis' goal didn't change much in the match. While Tauro looked a little but more urgent and did try to get more people it didn't result in much. They had one good chance late, but it didn't come good and they had to take their second loss in as many Champions League matches.

While Tauro languish at the bottom of Group 2, Herediano is tops on six points now. In the middle is Real Salt Lake, who have three points.


Caledonia AIA Vs. Seattle Sounders, 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League: Fredy Montero Stays Hot

There might not be a hotter player in North America than Fredy Montero. The Seattle Sounders forward scored his eighth goal in his past seven competitive matches in a 3-1 victory over Caledonia in CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage on Thursday. Montero now has 15 goals across all competitions, including two in CCL play.

Montero's goal was not necessarily the Sounders' most important goal of the night, but it did relieve some significant pressure as it came just three minutes after Caledonia had cut their deficit to 2-1 on a Kareem Joseph penalty.

As he's been making a habit of doing, Montero once again found himself with an opportunity in the penalty area as he took a pass from Alex Caskey and calmly poked redirected it inside the far post in the 70th minute.

Caskey had a goal to go along with his assist, scoring the Sounders' opener with a similar shot as the one Montero scored. In first-half stoppage time, Caskey took a ball that Zach Scott had won on a slide tackle and pushed it inside the far post.

Scoring the Sounders' other goal was Sammy Ochoa, who now has six goals in a little more than 500 minutes of playing time across all competitions. He, too, has scored in both CCL matches. His goal came in the 61st minute off an assist from Montero.

The Sounders remain atop their group with six points and a +4 goal-differential in two matches. Caledonia was effectively eliminated from the tournament, with just one point with just one match left to play. The Sounders' final two matches are against Marathon, who can't afford to lose either match.


LA Galaxy Vs. Puerto Rico Islanders, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: LA Reserves Win 4-0

Either upset with the CONCACAF Champions League after last week's refereeing shenanigans or prioritizing MLS play very, very, very far ahead of the region's championship club competition, Bruce Arena started zero first choice players on Wednesday night against the Puerto Rico Islanders. It didn't matter either, as the LA Galaxy destroyed Puerto Rico 4-0 to move to the top of Group 5.

The Galaxy got going early when Tommy Meyer was able to sneak away from his marker on a Kenny Walker corner kick in the seventh minute. Free from his marker, he nodded home from six yards and LA was in front.

Despite the first half being mostly one-way traffic, the Galaxy couldn't add to their lead. They missed chances as their inexperience showed in front of goal.

None of that would matter in the second half because LA poured it on the over-matched Islanders. It took two minutes for them to double their lead as Jack McBean flicked a Hector Jimenez long ball into the path of Jose Villarreal, who held off several defenders before finding the net.

In the 80th minute, McBean was able to get on the scoresheet himself when he got on the end of a Michael Stephens cross. His initial volleyed effort was blocked, but the ball came right back to him and he was able to fire past Richard Martin on his second effort.

Two minutes later, Stephens did the scoring when Pari Pantazopoulos's sliding clearance of a pass turned into a perfect through ball to the Galaxy midfielder. That put Stephens in all alone on goal for a simple finish and completed the Galaxy reserves' easy win.

LA is first place in Group 5 on six points, three points clear of second place Metapan, while Puerto Rico is at the bottom without a point. The Galaxy did play their first two matches at home, though, and have to head on the road for their next two so this group could still turn.


Municipal Vs. Monterrey, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Defending Champions Get Key Win

Monterrey have won the last two CONCACAF Champions League titles and while they are a long ways off from making it three straight, they do look like a good bet to make the knockout stages after beating Municipal 1-0 on Wednesday night. Humberto Suazo scored in the 80th minute to provide the difference for Monterrey, who are know three points clear of second place Municipal with their next match against the Guatemalans set to be played in Mexico.

The match was plenty exciting despite being scoreless until the 80th minute. Pouring rain that left the pitch a mess made for some shaky footing that hurt defenders and both Jaime Penedo and Jonathan Orozco were called upon to make some fine saves.

With the rain and soaked field causing many passes to stop well short of their intended targets, both teams took to shooting from distance. Some of the efforts were very good, but the goalkeepers were up to the task.

Municipal almost went in front after the break when Mario Rodriguez got free and had a good look at goal, but Orozco was there to make the save, albeit with his face. He stayed down for a bit after, but he did stay in the match.

Suazo finally broke through in the 80th minute when he got past the Municipal defense and let off a good shot. It was one Penedo blocked, but the rebound came back to Suazo and Penedo was in no position to make a second save so Suazo knocked it home and Monterrey had the three points that puts them well on their way to the quarterfinals.


Chivas Guadalajara Vs. W Connection, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Marco Fabian Puts On A Show

All hail Marco Fabian. The Chivas Guadalajara star put on the best show of any player in this year's CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night, scoring three and crating another as the Goats demolished W Connection 4-0 to grab their first points of the competition.

The first half wasn't especially bright for Chivas. While they did dominate possession, they struggled to generate chances. Erick 'Cubo' Torres hit the bar, but there weren't many other chances of note.

That changed in the second half when Jan-Michael Williams failed to push a Rafael Marquez Lugo shot far enough away. It fell right in front of goal, where Fabian was able to get to it and knock it home to get the Goats on the scoreboard in the 53rd minute.

Fabian helped Carlos Fierreo get his goal in the 64th minute when he ripped a shot that Williams couldn't quite handle. Eventually, the ball fell to Fierreo, who was able to bury his shot from close range and Chivas were 2-0 up.

Marquez Lugo and Torres helped Fabian get his second four minute later.The play started with a clever ball from Marquez Lugo for Torres, who got the ball to Fabian for the finish that put Chivas in firm control at 3-0.

In stoppage time, Fabian completed his hatt rick when he was played in on goal by Luis Morales. Fabian simply had to round Williams and finish into the empty net and his marvelous night was complete.

The win was vital for Chivas, who have struggled this season in Liga MX and lost their Champions League opener to Xelaju last week. Now they at least have three points, which is good for second place, and they get to host Xelaju the next time the two teams square off.


Real Esteli Vs. Alajuelense, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Allen Guevara Nets Lone Goal

Alajuelense kept their hopes of edging out Tigres and advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Real Esteli on Tuesday in Nicaragua. Allen Guevara scored in the 42nd minute to earn the visitors a 1-0 win that moves Alajuelense alongside Tigres atop Group 6.

There was no doubt who was the better side right from the beginning. Alajuelense poured the pressure on Esteli, controlling possession, having a goal disallowed and hitting the bar. For more than a half-hour, it appeared as if Esteli had sold its soul to the soccer gods.

Finally in the 42nd minute, Alajuelense got the goal they so deserved. Cristopher Meneses whipped a cross to the top of the six-yard box, where Guevara was able to get inside of his marker and nod past Justo Lorente.

Esteli only really got forward once in the first half, but they almost made it count. Juan Barrera scored and seemingly put the home side in front after 33 minutes, but the goal was ruled off for offside and the match stayed level until Guevara got involved.

The second half was a little better for Esteli, who had a little bit more of the ball. Alajuelense was still the better side. They forced Lorente into a few fine saves and had another chance cleared off of the line, but they couldn't break through for a second goal.

Alajuelense's inability to turn their dominance into a multi-goal margin almost bit them in the waning moments when Esteli got their best chance of the match. Norfran Lazo got in behind the defense and looked like a good bet to equalize, but Dexter Lewis made a good save and held onto all three points for the visitors.

Tigres remain the favorite to advance from Group 6 with the second match between them and Alajuelense set for Mexico, but at least the Costa Ricans are still in it. They are on four points, just like Tigres, while Esteli languish at the bottom of the table on zero poitns.


Toronto FC Vs. Santos Laguna, 2012 CONCACAF Champions League: Santos Strike Late

When the 90th minute came around at BMO Field on Tuesday night, Santos Laguna and Toronto FC were level at 1-1 and seemingly destined for a draw. But Daniel Luduena and Candido Ramirez changed that, scoring twice in the final minutes to earn Santos a 3-1 win in CONCACAF Champions League action that puts them in control of Group 1.

Santos weren't at their best in the first half and really struggled to create chances with all of the possession they had. Toronto was organized in defense and were happy to concede the ball and the wings to Santos, knowing that they could defend most crosses, which they did.

It took until the 49th minutes for Santos to breakthrough and it came from Carlos Darwin Quintero. The Colombian was able to get on the end of a chip from Marc Crosas and half-volley past Freddy Hall for the opening tally.

That Santos lead lasted nearly 20 minutes, but Quincy Amarikwa was able to equalize for the home side. Torsten Frings' free kick wasn't cleared by Santoss, who just knocked the ball up into the air a couple times and couldn't get the ball away. That gave Amarikwa the chance to get to the ball and knock it off of the inside of the post and in to level the match at 1-1.

Both teams tried to find a winner late and Santos especially had chances. Hall was called on to make some fine saves and Felipe Baloy rattled the bar, but the visitors couldn't find a winner.

But in the 90th minute, Luduena finally got Santos the goal they needed. He fed Oribe Peralta before splitting the Toronto defense and getting the ball back from Peralta in front of goal. He cooly slid the ball past Hall and the visitors were on their way to three points.

For good measure, Luduena helped Santos get one more three minutes later. This time he played the role of helped, spotting Ramirez in almost the exact same spot he scored from and Ramirez finished to seal a good win for Santos.

Santos now sit three points clear of Toronto in the group and will host the Reds when they meet again in October. In fact, Toronto will play both of their remaining matches away, making the already tall task of chasing down the heavy favorites Santos nearly impossible. Aguila still sit at the bottom of the group on zero points.

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