CONCACAF Champions League: Cruz Azul finally stopped as Tijuana end their drought
With the CONCACAF Champions League resuming this week, MLSsoccer.com takes a look at the opponents the LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City, and the San Jose Earthquakes will be facing in the quarterfinals. (Click here for the complete quarterfinal schedule.)
Club Tijuana (2-0 win vs. Guadalajara)
After conceding a late equalizer last week, the Xolos came back home to Estadio Caliente Friday night to face Chivas in a crucial matchup. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing game from Tijuana, but César Farías' men were able to get the job done at home to break their three-game winless streak.
The goals came from Darío Benedetto and Jamie Ayoví, with Benedetto’s coming in spectacular fashion (video below). Americans Greg Garza and Joe Corona each put in a solid 90 with Herculez Gomez making a cameo for the last 15 minutes of the game. Another American, Alejandro Guido, came on for the last six minutes of the game in his professional debut.
What it means for the Galaxy:
After a bit of a lull in form, Tijuana finally were able to right themselves before their faceoff against the Galaxy on Wednesday (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). Don’t expect to see MLS-killer Gomez start after his two main competitors for a forward spot both scored on Friday night.
Cruz Azul (3-0 loss at Tigres UANL)
La Máquina came into their matchup against Tigres undefeated. That streak ended Saturday night, as Cruz Azul went down 1-0 after a botched clearance turned into a penalty for the home team.
Mexican national team forward Alan Pulido then finished off a cross to put Tigres up 2-0. Cruz Azul’s attack was punchless for much of the game, only coming alive after a 64th-minute red card to Carlos Salcido. However, they still could not finish any chances and even conceded a third goal to American Jose Torres in the 83rd minute.
What it means for Sporting Kansas City:
Did Tigres poke the bear? Cruz Azul’s run of great form finally came to an end and they will be searching for some answers on Wednesday (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2). Sporting KC’s fullbacks should be well rested, having taken off on Saturday, and they will need to be with the Mexico City side’s strong attack from the wings.
Toluca (3-0 win vs. Puebla)
After switching their game to Friday night instead of their usual Sunday afternoon kickoff time, Toluca came out and smashed Puebla 3-0. The switch should help the Diablos Rojos be more prepared for their Tuesday night matchup against the Earthquakes (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2).
As usual, Toluca did most of their damage on the wings with Isaac Brizuela yet again showing his class. Even though their first goal came off a set piece (one in which Brizuela collected a headed assist), they were most dangerous when Brizuela was attacking Puebla’s two American left-sided defenders. DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco each collected a yellow card, with Orozco fouling Brizuela in the box to concede a penalty. Toluca finished the game off with a goal by their other winger, Carlos Esquivel, in the 77th minute.
What it means for the Earthquakes:
San Jose will need to come away with a great result at home considering Toluca have now gone unbeaten in their last 11 home games in Liga MX. One potential advantage for the Quakes might be that Toluca will possibly be missing their No. 10, Sinha, after he came off in the 35th minute.