Like us to subscribe
Pumas UNAM will fill be the third team in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals in 2012, after they defeated Isidro Metapan of El Salvador 8-0 Thursday evening in Mexico City. They won the two leg quarterfinal 9-2 on aggregate. It was a completely dominant performance by the hosts, continuing the trend of three of the four Mexican sides this week, all of whom dominated in second leg matches at home (and the fourth, Morelia, was beaten by another Mexican team, Monterrey).
Pumas controlled the play from the opening whistle, and Metapan spent almost all of the first half in their own end. Pumas misfired on several early opportunities, but an own goal opened the floodgates, when Efrain Velarde sent a poor shot towards goal and Metapan's Alexander Escobar poked it past his goalkeeper for the game's first goal in the 25th minute. Just a minute later, Pumas began scoring goals themselves, when Eduardo Herrera got on the end of a cross from Martin Bravo and buried it right in front of goal to make it 2-0. They finished off the scoring for the half in the 39th minute when Velarde made a late run into the box behind the forward and made a good angled shot to give Pumas a comfortable lead.
But the scoring didn't stop in the second half for Pumas. In the 54th minute Bravo had a one-on-one shot deflected by the keeper, but he stuck with the ball and scored to make it 4-0. Herrera scored his second of the night by nipping past the defender to get a header on a cross from the left in the 63rd minute. Then, in the 69th minute, Jose Garcia Fernandez got a headed goal of his own, this time off a corner kick to give the home team a six goal lead.
Fernando Espinoza got in on the act in the 73rd minute, with perhaps the best goal of the night, when he volleyed a goal in on an angle from a cross. Finally, Juan Carlos Cacho nabbed one, in the 88th minute, when he received a long pass over the defense and chipped it over the keeper, making the final score 8-0.
Clearly, Metapan were thoroughly thrashed in this match, and their star from last week's match, forward Lester Blanco, was limited to one good scoring chance, in first half injury time on a shot saved by Pumas goalkeeper Odin Patino. Otherwise, the visitors were torched, and in particular could not deal with Pumas' crossing on the night.
Pumas should feel confident when they face Monterrey, but while the Mexican clubs will know each other well, Monterrey will almost certainly provide a much stronger test over two legs than Metapan. In particular, Monterrey know what it's like to be in this position, as most of the squad was in this phase just last season, and went on to win the tournament. Still, tonight's performance will give Pumas momentum ahead of the next round in the CCL.
There aren't a ton of people outside of El Salvador that know who Lester Blanco is, but the Pumas UNAM fans sure do. That's because Isidro Metapan's young striker scored a brace against their beloved Pumas last week, leading Metapan to a 2-1 win in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie. Now they'll have to figure out a way to contain Blanco in the second leg, which won't be too easy.
The one plus for Pumas is that at least they will get Metapan and Blanco back in Mexico, and to be more specific, at the high altitude of Mexico City. Before the match even kicks off, Pumas will be at an advantage and that they have an away goal already just makes things easier.
Metapan have already been demolished in Mexico once in this competition. When they went to Torreon to play Santos Laguna in the group stage, they walked away 6-0 losers, so they know how tough winning in Mexico is. Doing it against Pumas, with Eduardo Herrera, Martin Bravo and the rest of the squad, just makes things tougher. Metapan don't really stand much of a chance, but then again, Pumas didn't look like they stood much of a chance against Blanco last week so maybe he can save them again?
Game Date/Time: Thursday, March 15, 10 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Olimpico Universitario, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Galavision (USA Spanish)
LA Galaxy fans will be quick to blame the referee for their elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League, but that would not give fair credit to Toronto FC or acknowledge the simple reality that while LA wasted chance after chance, Toronto was able to convert on the few they had. That's what it came down to. the Galaxy had their chances and couldn't convert, while the Reds made the most of theirs and booked their spot in the semifinals with a 2-1 win in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
TFC were first on the scoreboard when Ryan Johnson pulled away from Tommy Meyer and got on the end of a floated cross from Nick Soolsma. Johnson's header was perfect, back across the face of goal and just inside the post to put the Reds in front 1-0 in the match and 3-2 on aggregate.
After several chances went begging, LA equalized, but it wasn't because they learned how to finish. Instead, Ty Harden put it in his own net. Landon Donovan got free down the right and when he crossed for Robbie Keane, Harden came sliding in to intervene, only his intervention put the ball in the back of his own net and LA were even on aggregate and set to go through on away goals.
It didn't take too long before Toronto came back, though. LA failed to track the runners coming from the midfield so when Soolsma came running into the middle of his box, he was all by himself to take a low cross and bury it in the back of the net for the winning goal.
In the end, what the match came down was LA's missed opportunities. Mike Magee and Edson Buddle each missed golden chances in the first half and the referee incorrectly waved off a Magee goal and a Donovan penalty as well. In the second half, Robbie Keane missed a handful of good chance, while Buddle and Juninho missed the frame on good opportunities as well. The Galaxy had every chance to win the match and the tie, but they didn't take them, unlike their Canadian opponents who finished when given the chance and took their spot in the semifinals.
Nick Soolsma spotted Ryan Johnson at the far post and floated a ball to the striker. Johnson had pulled away from Tommy Meyer, but he still had plenty of work to do because it would take a perfect header back across the goal to score it ... and that's exactly what he got. A perfect header beat Josh Saunders and the Reds had the goal they needed to go ahead 1-0 in the match and 3-2 on aggregate.
Just because Toronto got their goal didn't mean that the match or tie was over, however. After all, LA should have already been ahead 1-0, but the linesman incorrectly called Mike Magee offside when he scored. Even after that, LA created plenty of other chances. Edson Buddle would have been in alone on goal if not for a bad touch, and Magee forced a good save from Milos Kocic another time. Landon Donovan was also taken down in the box by Ty Harden, but the referee did not award the penalty because, well, he didn't.
All in all, the Galaxy have been the better side. They have all of the shots, corner kicks and possession, but they don't have the one thing that matters. Toronto has the goal and the aggregate lead, but if the second half is filled with the Galaxy getting the chances they had in the first half, odds are they get a goal or two.
Santos Laguna's forward corps of Christian Suarez, Herculez Gomez and Oribe Peralta had a banner night, as they combined for five goals to defeat the Seattle Sounders 6-1 in the return leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals tie.
Suarez and Gomez each had a brace, while Peralta added a goal and an assist. Substitute forward Carlos Ochoa added a late goal to cap off the night for Los Guerreros. Following a tight 165 minutes of play in this tie, with the teams tied 3-3 on the aggregate score at the half tonight, Santos piled on four goals in the second half to advance in emphatic fashion.
Suarez opened the scoring in the eighth minute, and Peralta followed up with another goal in the 10th minute on a difficult individual move in the box. Seattle got back into the match with a goal by Alvaro Fernandez in the 37th minute on a great cross from Fredy Montero, and Seattle headed into the break with some momentum.
But Santos fully took over the match in the second half. Seattle had a goalmouth scramble in Santos' end, but Santos cleared and began a counterattack that led to Gomez's first goal on the night, in the 49th minute, an emphatic shot that looked easy.
Seattle tried to battle back for about 20 minutes after that, but Gomez got his second in the 68th minute. Jorge Estrada made an outlet pass in midfield to Peralta, who passed the ball over to Gomez in a two-on-one breakaway, and Gomez scored another seemingly easy goal. He was injured on the play, however, when Seattle full back Adam Johansson pushed Gomez from behind on the goal and Gomez cut up his knee. Considering his form of five goals in just the last three games, Santos will hope Gomez was not seriously injured.
Suarez made it 5-1 and bagged his second of the night on another nice pass from Estrada in the 77th minute. Ochoa finished off the scoring in the 81st. All in all, the second half really demonstrated the defensive frailties of Seattle. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado had a very poor game throughout, and the Sounders did not look capable of dealing with a counterattack whatsoever. Although Michael Gspurning did not make any blunders, the result may weigh on him if cannot put it out of mind quickly. Although Seattle was optimistic they could beat a very good Santos team, the home team ultimately ran riot, and they will be a very dangerous team in the CCL semifinals.
The LA Galaxy got a late goal to earn a draw last week in first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie against Toronto FC, but all is not well. They tired over the weekend in league play and now are turning to largely the same lineup today. Tommy Meter is in for Andrew Boyens, but that is the only change from last week's first leg. Juninho in for Marcelo Sarvas is the only change from Saturday's league match. LA could be in a ton of trouble with tired legs.
On the flip side, Toronto has the benefit of being fresh. They had the weekend off, but that hasn't stopped them from making some changes of their own. Nick Soolsma has been inserted into the starting lineup and Julia de Guzman is back from suspension, giving Toronto a very good and fresh midfield.
With a game and a half in the books in this CONCACAF Champions League tie, the teams are knotted up. Santos Laguna scored two early goals in the first half to take a quick lead on the visiting Seattle Sounders. But Seattle got one goal back towards the end of the half, and Santos currently lead 2-1 in Torreón. Combined with the 2-1 Seattle scoreline in the first match, that means the teams are tied 3-3 on aggregate (and away goals) with another 45 minutes to go.
Just before Santos opened up the scoring, Seattle had two very good chances. Alvaro Fernandez and Brad Evans both had shots at close range in the eighth minute that were saved by Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sánchez. From there, Santos took the ball up the other end of the field and Christian Suarez made a terrific cut inwards with the ball on the left and created space away from Jeff Parke. He shot the ball from outside the box and put Santos on the board.
With Seattle a bit stunned, Santos kept its foot on the gas. Oribe Peralta got a great pass in the box just a minute later, then turned around and shot while Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado dragged him down. Peralta's goal gave Santos a quick 2-0 edge in the match and a 3-2 edge in the quarterfinal.
Although Santos still controlled most of the play in the half, the Sounders began to get their bearings around the 25-minute mark and slowly started to take possession for sustained stretches. They were able to get back into the match finally in the 37th minute when Fernandez scored on a snap header from a nice looping cross from the left by Fredy Montero.
With that, the Sounders gained some momentum back and will hope they can get another (and keep Santos from scoring more) in the second half. For Santos, they just need one more to advance (assuming they also keep Seattle from scoring again). It is certainly anybody's match at this point.
A place in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals is on the line tonight, as Santos Laguna host the Seattle Sounders in Torreon. The Sounders defeated Santos last Wednesday 2-1 in Seattle, and will be looking to finish their task in this leg, while Santos will have a deficit to overcome if they are to advance. Here are tonight's lineups:
Santos are on a busy stretch of games, and while a surprising number of players are returning from both last week's CCL match and the weekend Mexican Primera game, there are a couple of key changes. Perhaps the biggest is Baloy, who is a Panamanian international and has been a good defender in Mexico for many years. He has played poorly in recent weeks however, and was benched recently. It will be interesting to see if he will bounce back tonight or if he will struggle. Obviously, Santos coach Benjamin Galindo must be confident enough to play him in a potential elimination match.
Meanwhile, the Sounders are playing the same lineup they used last week. I assume Seattle coach Sigi Schmid figures the combination worked last week, so why mess with a good thing? We will find out shortly if Seattle can create history for their club tonight and make it to the semifinals.
Monterrey are back! At least they sure looked like they were back against Monarcas Morelia in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they just took their Mexican opponents behind the woodshed. They entered the second leg of their quarterfinal tie up 3-1 on aggregate, but that didn't keep them from attacking. They flew forward at every opportunity and pounded Morelia, 4-1, to pick up a 7-2 aggregate win. Now, the defending champions are onto the semifinals where they will meet either Pumas UNAM or Isidro Metapan.
The second leg started just like the first leg, with Humberto Suazo converting a penalty to put Monterrey in front. On the other side of the break, Monterrey drew another penalty and this time Luis Perez buried it. Suazo added a second goal not long after and while Morelia did answer with one of their own, the tie was long over. Monterrey did get a final goal from Walter Ayovi anyways as they cruised to victory and the semifinals.
Santos Laguna are probably still seeing Fredy Montero in their nightmares. A week after the Colombian striker gave them fits, they are going to have to face him again, but this time they get him in Mexico and the change of venue better do them some good or their CONCACAF Champions League run will be over. As they head into the second leg of their quarterfinal tie with the Seattle Sounders, Santos trail their American opponents 2-1 on aggregate, a lead that is hardly insurmountable, but will be tough to make up if they cannot reel in Montero.
Montero started off the first leg of the tie by feeding David Estrada for the Sounders' opening goal and then spent the rest of the tie giving Santos fits. Even when Santos were able to close him down, all it did was open space for Mauro Rosales and the rest of the Sounders. Add in that Seattle had the weekend off and Santos has to play and there is good reason that Seattle can come away with the result they need to book their semifinal place.
Just because Santos struggled in the first leg doesn't mean they are dead or even near it. They are down a goal, but they have an away goal to their name already and they weren't completely inept in Seattle. They did have a few chances of their own and put together several good moves. Going home, they certainly have what it takes to put together the match they will need to advance. Of course, that starts with containing Montero.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 14, 8:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Corona, Torreon, Mexico
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), Telefutura (USA Spanish)
The LA Galaxy had to be feeling good about the way the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie with Toronto went. They didn't get a win, but they got a draw and did it with two away goals, putting them in a pretty position for the second leg. They got to return to the Home Depot Center needing just a 0-0 or 1-1 draw to advance. All was well in Galaxy-land, but then Saturday happened.
LA hosted Real Salt Lake in their MLS opener on Saturday with a lineup very similar to the one they played in Toronto last week. Unsurprisingly, the players tired late, the defense faltered and LA lost. Arguments about whether or not LA should have been the only MLS team in the Champions League to play last weekend aside, the Galaxy knew their schedule and still played a bunch of tired players.
"I thought we still could have won this game, and I think this game is on me," Arena said after the match on Saturday. "It's my fault, I think I should have used fresher bodies. We hit the wall and made mistakes attributed to fatigue. The travel, the two games, this added up to being a pretty tired team over the last 20 minutes and I take full responsibility for that."
That is all well and good, but now what is Arena going to do? He is either going to have to play players who are even more tired or dip into his reserves, which he doesn't really want to do. LA isn't looking so great now.
Meanwhile, Toronto had the weekend off and are as fresh as can be. They proved that they could unlock the LA defense last week when they scored a pair and generated several other chances. Their speed bothered LA and they found space in the midfield to run at LA's defense. They know they can score and now they will be doing it on fresh legs versus LA's tired legs. Things aren't so comfortable for LA anymore.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 14, 10:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Home Depot Center, Carson, CA
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA English), Telefutura (USA Spanish)
Monterrey look set to advance to the semifinals as they take a 3-1 lead to the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Morelia.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.