CONCACAF Champions League: Cruz Azul dominate reserve-heavy Tijuana while Toluca cruise
With the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals concluding this week, MLSsoccer.com takes a look at the opponents the LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City, and the San Jose Earthquakes will be facing on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Click here for the complete quarterfinal schedule.)
Club Tijuana (2-1 loss at Cruz Azul)
On Saturday night, Tijuana went into Estadio Azul with a clear plan: Start their second team and rest their first-choice players for Tuesday's second leg (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Univision Deportes). Coach César Farías made seven changes from their win against Chivas last week and those seven players did not even make it onto the bench.
Farías did start four Americans, including Paul Arriola, Edgar Castillo, Alejandro Guido, and Herculez Gomez. Guido, in his first Liga MX start, and Arriola, who came away with an assist, both played a part in the Xolos goal but it was not enough to get a result against the league leaders.
What it means for the Galaxy:
This could spell trouble for LA as Farías’ top choices should all be well rested for Tuesday night’s matchup. While Gomez showed well in his short time against the Galaxy last week, he again didn't do anything to impress his coach against Cruz Azul. Expect him to start on the bench again this week.
Cruz Azul (2-1 win vs. Tijuana)
La Máquina were the beneficiary of all the Xolos' switches from last week. And even though they gave up the first goal of the game, Cruz Azul were dominant throughout the proceedings.
The home team controlled 72 percent of the possession and took 26 shots, while Tijuana only got 10 shots off their boots. They were able to get seven of those shots on target, but what decided the game were two moments of brilliance from Marco Fabián. The player on-loan Chivas Guadalajara man has been on fire since joining Cruz Azul for the 2014 Apertura and that only continued Saturday night when he scored two golazos (video below):
What it means for Sporting Kansas City:
While he was not influential for Cruz Azul at Sporting Park, registering only one off target shot and zero chances created, Fabián’s form has to be worrying for Sporting ahead of Wednesday's game (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Univision Deportes). However, tired legs may be an issue for the Mexico City-based side, seeing as he and seven of his teammates have now started three games in a nine-day span since March 8.
Toluca (2-0 win at Querétaro)
After Toluca gave up a late goal to Alan Gordon and the Earthquakes, they visited another team with a top MLS goalscorer. Los Diablos Rojos went into Querétaro and came away with a 2-0 victory, beating the troublesome side with two goals in five minutes in the second half.
Pablo Velázquez finished an Edy Brambila cross from a set piece in the 64th minute while Brambila netted a goal of his own in the 69th. Reigning MLS Golden Boot Camilo Sanvezzo was active for Querétaro, getting two of his six shots on target in 90 minutes.
What it means for the Earthquakes:
Toluca went back to their “A” squad for this Liga MX matchup after starting some reserves against the Quakes. Brambila has been a spark for coach José Cardozo in Liga MX since replacing the injured Sinha, expect him and Velásquez to both start on Wednesday (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2/Univision Deportes).