The Philadelphia Union poked and prodded, but couldn't find the breakthrough goal in a 0-0 draw against Alianza FC in their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match at Estadio Cuscatlán in El Salvador Tuesday night.
The return leg will be played at Philadelphia's Subaru Park on March 14.
Jim Curtin fielded a rotated squad, making eight changes from the side that suffered a 2-0 Matchday 2 defeat to host Inter Miami CF Saturday.
The Union, who reached the 2021 CCL semifinals in their first appearance, had the better chances of a scoreless first half but were punished for not being clinical in the final third.
Quinn Sullivan fired over the bar in the 12th minute and Chris Donovan put his open header wide of the mark in the 33rd minute.
Last year’s MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield runners-up continued to press for the opening goal and came close just before the hour mark, but Joaquín Torres’ downward header from eight yards out was parried away by Alianza FC goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was what we expect from a CCL road match for the Union – a cagey affair on a bumpy pitch. So a 0-0 draw was far from the worst result for a rotated Philadelphia side in San Salvador. Jim Curtin’s side will surely be confident when they return home, though things get tricky should they concede at Subuaru Park.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: In a match with few scoring chances, there was no more memorable moment than this dog who found his way onto the pitch and quickly wanted to get a first touch on the ball.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Alianza FC goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez wins it for making the biggest play of the match, diving to his right to push aside a golden scoring opportunity by Joaquín Torres.
- ALZ: Friday, March 10 vs. Dragon | 8:15 pm ET | Salvadoran Primera Division
- PHI: Saturday, March 11 vs. Chicago Fire FC | 7:30 pm ET (MLS Season Pass) | MLS regular season