CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto FC Completes MLS's Perfect Round

MLS teams went 5-0-0 for the first time, including four wins in Mexico and Central America, nearly equalling their historic total.

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CONCACAF Champions League, Toronto FC Vs. Tauro: Reds Keep MLS Perfect

CONCACAF Champions League road matches have not always been kind to MLS teams. Coming into this week's first round of Group Stage matches, MLS teams had won just five times in Central America and Mexico during the tournament's first three years. After Toronto FC's 2-1 win over Panama's Tauro to complete a perfect 5-0 round, MLS teams now have nine wins south of the U.S. border.

The Reds' win was hardly the most impressive of the four MLS road victories, but for a team that has struggled all season during regular-season play, no win can be overlooked. Ryan Johnson opened the scoring for TFC when he was able to collect an errant Tauro clearance and slot it past the goalkeeper. Just three minutes later, Julian De Guzman gave the Reds a 2-0 lead, again collected a poor Tauro pass and blasting in a shot from about 25 yards out.

From there, TFC basically held on. Tauro eventually outshot the visitors 12-7 and had 59 percent of the possession. They eventually cut their deficit to 2-1 when De Guzman dragged down a Tauro player in the box and Luis Moreno converted the penalty in the 76th minute. Tauro was unable to find the equalizer, though.

The 5-0-0 performance was easily the best collective performance from MLS in any week of the tournament's history. Last year, with four teams in the group stage, MLS twice went 3-1-0 with the Seattle Sounders being the lone team to lose in each of the two weeks.


UNAM Pumas Vs. FC Dallas: Marvin Chavez Goal Gives Dallas First Win For MLS Team In Mexico In CCL

Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead! For the first time in history, a Major League Soccer club has won a match in Mexico in North America's biggest continental competition. Thanks Jair Benitez and Marvin Chavez's goal, along with a very well organized and composed defense, FC Dallas have defeated UNAM Pumas 1-0 at the Estadio Universitario to take three points in CONCACAF Champions League.

Pumas played a mostly reserve side with Juan Carlos Cacho and Javier Cortes being the only regular starters to crack their starting lineup tonight, but that doesn't mean anything should be taken away from Dallas. They have still finally done what no other team has ever been able to do, and they got their win because they were the better team on the night.

The goal came in the second half, mostly thanks to Benitez but eventually finished off by Chavez. The Dallas left back surged forward in the 66th minute, hitting a fantastic shot off of the post. Chavez was ready in the box and pounced on the rebound, finishing to give Dallas a lead they would hold on to until the end.

Pumas brought out regular starting striker Martin Bravo in an attempt to salvage points, but the Dallas back line and Kevin Hartman - who had a great game - held strong to shut out Pumas at home and give Dallas the historic victory.


Herediano Vs. Monterrey: Dario Carreno Hat Trick Leads Monterrey in 5-0 Win

To Herediano's credit, they hung tough for 20 minutes against the defending CONCACAF Champions League champions. Not really, because Monterrey was dominating them, but they managed to keep the Mexicans off of the scoreboard for 20 minutes. Then Dario Carreno got involved. He scored a hat trick in 14 minutes, completely taking over the match despite being in Costa Rica and helping send Monterrey to the top of Group D with a 5-0 win.

After 20 minutes of scoreless play, Carreno tallied to put Monterrey in front. In the 21st minute he made it 2-0. The striker had already made his impact, but wanted to add just a little bit more so he scored once more in the 34 minute to complete the hat trick.

The rest of the Monterrey team wasn't about to watch Carreno have all of the fun though. Only two minutes after Carreno stretched the Monterrey lead to 3-0, Jesus Manuel Corona found the net to put Monterrey in front by four. Just for good measure, Aldo de Nigris added one in the second half and Monterrey had themselves a 5-0 scoreline despite playing without star striker Humberto Suazo.

The win puts Monterrey on top of Group D, even on points with Seattle at three apiece, but in front with their plus-five goal difference. The champions will continue Champions League play on Tuesday when they host Seattle for the top spot in the group.


LA Galaxy Vs. CD Montagua: Full Time, Landon Donovan Stars As Los Angeles Prevail

After last year's debacle in the CONCACAF Champions League, it's not surprising that the LA Galaxy are taking this edition of the tournament seriously. On Tuesday night, they made huge strides towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition, defeating a very strong CD Montagua side 2-0 at the Home Depot Center. The visitors started Honduran internationals Amado Guevera, Jerry Bengston and Johnny Leveron, but the Honduran side was no match for the Galaxy over 90 minutes.

Landon Donovan had an absolutely fantastic game, setting up his teammates for numerous chances, working hard in midfield and scoring a goal of his own on a fantastic finish. The opening goal was scored in the 12th minute by Adam Cristman, capping off a great team effort and assisted by AJ DeLaGarza. Donovan added the second in the 59th, finishing off a great cross from David Beckham, who started and went 73 minutes.

The Galaxy are top of Group A, just edging out Alajuelense, who upset a full strength Monarcas Morelia side, on goal differential.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Comunicaciones, Fulltime: Mike Fucito Saves The Day

There might not be a MLS player who enjoys CONCACAF Champions League more than Seattle Sounders forward Mike Fucito. Although seldom used in regular-season matches, the third-year player now has five goals and an assist in his past five CCL matches, including two in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Comunicaciones.

Both of Fucito's goals on Tuesday came after the Sounders were down to 10 men. Lamar Neagle was shown a straight red card in the 58th minute for what appeared to be a sloppy follow through on a kick. Just three minutes later, Fucito scored his first goal when Fredy Montero found him on the left side of the penalty area. In the 67th minute, Alvaro Fernandez put Fucito in another dangerous position, and he again scored.

Fucito also assisted on the Sounders' first goal, finding Brad Evans on a corner kick. That goal leveled the match 1-1.

Until Evans' goal, the Sounders had been playing from behind for almost the entire match. Jairo Arreola gave Los Cremas a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute when he was left unmarked at the far post.


Seattle Sounders Vs. Comunicaciones: Mike Fucito Puts 10-Man Sounders Up 3-1

In the span of six minutes, Mike Fucito has given the Seattle Sounders' fortunes a massive turn. Fucito scored two goals, in the 61st and 67th minutes to put the Sounders up 3-1. Both goals came shortly after the Sounders were down to 10 men when Lamar Neagle was shown a straight red card.

On the first goal, Fucito was able to collect a Fredy Montero pass just outside the penalty area, got the corner on his defender and beat the goalkeeper to the far post. Montero was replaced in the 63rd minute by Mauro Rosales.

The second goal was very similar, but on the opposite side of the field. Alvaro Fernandez was able to find Fucito streaking down the right side of the field, and Fucito once again beat the goalkeeper to the far post.

Fucito now has five goals and an assist in his past for CCL matches. Earlier in the match, he picked up his first career CCL assist when his corner was headed in by Brad Evans.

About three minutes before Fucito's goal, it was looking pretty bad for the Sounders when Neagle was shown a straight red card on what looked to be a sloppy follow through on a kick. 


Seattle Sounders Vs. Comunicaciones: Tied At Halftime

The Seattle Sounders could not have gotten off to a much worse start than they did in their CONCACAF Champions League match against Comunicaciones, as Los Cremas scored in the 2nd minute to take a 1-0 lead. But the Sounders were able to eventually wrestle control of the match away about midway through the half and Brad Evans found the equalizer in the 35th minute to send the game into halftime tied 1-1.

After Evans' goal, which came off a Mike Fucito corner kick, the Sounders created several quality chances. The best of those came around the 45th minute when Fredy Montero was able to control a ball just outside the goal box. But Montero sent his shot just wide. 

The Sounders out shot Los Cremas 6-3 in the half and had four corner kicks to none. Los Cremas came out strong, but did not seem intersted in keeping that up beyond the first 15 minutes or so.


Santos Laguna Vs. Real España: Full Time, Saints' Second Team Grabs Three Points

The days of Ruben Omar Romano playing his second team in the group stages of CONCACAF Champions League group stages may be long gone...but Dario Cocca is doing the exact same thing. With a tough league match against Monarcas Morelia looming large this weekend, Santos Laguna opted to play their B team in Torreon on Tuesday night, and that gamble paid off. Santos' stars got some much needed rest as their team prevailed 3-2, but it wasn't without a struggle.

Real España pushed Santos for the entire game, equalizing twice after Santos had taken the lead. Juan Enriquez gave Santos an early lead in the first half, but a great goal finished by Edder Delgado on a well-choreographed set piece made it 1-1 just before halftime. Santos were given a gift with a Sergio Bica own goal right after halftime, but Allan Lalin equalized in the 67th.

At that point, Cocca decided to bring out some big guns and the move paid off. Christian Suarez added the game winner shortly after entering the game, then star defensive midfielder Juan Rodriguez came in to close out the game. Real España's Julio Rodriguez received a red card in the 79th minute, all but ending the game for the visitors, who put up a valiant effort but will leave Torreon with no points to show for it.


CONCACAF Champions League Preview: Assessing Each MLS Teams' Chances

It wasn't so long ago the MLS team were not considered to be particularly relevant in CONCACAF Champions League. Up until last year's tournament, no MLS team had ever advanced as far as the semifinals, let alone won a championship under the current format.

Of course, that all changed when Real Salt Lake came up just short in the finals against Monterrey. RSL's performance showed that MLS teams can not only compete in CCL, but they can even stand toe-to-toe with Mexican teams. During their near storybook run, RSL twice tied Mexican teams in Mexico and actually beat Cruz Azul at home.

With five MLS teams in this year's tournament, we could see an unprecedented number of teams advance into the Knockout Stage. We here at SB Nation Soccer have taken a look at each team's chances and given an overview of who we think stands a good chance of advancing. Spoiler alert: We think four teams stand good chances of moving along, with only Toronto FC really looking like a longshot.

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