The Philadelphia Union suffered a 2-0 defeat against Club America on Thursday evening at Estadio Azteca in Leg 1 of the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals.
HIGHLIGHTS: Club América vs. Philadelphia Union | August 13, 2021
A late penalty kick goal from Emanuel Aguilera sealed a home win for Club America and left the Union with a tall task heading back to Subaru Park for Leg 2 in a month's time.
It was nearly a picture-perfect start for the Union, as Kasper Przybylko cheekily attempted a backheel in the first minute of play inside Club America's six-yard box, but his ambitious attempt rolled inches wide. From there on out, it was all Club America in the first half.
The hosts took a 17th-minute lead after Richard Sanchez's volley deflected off Philly midfielder Daniel Gazdag's back and into the net. Andre Blake appeared to have the shot covered, but once the ball ricocheted off Gazdag's back, the Union's goalkeeper was left stuck in his boots while watching the ball zoom past his shoulder.
In the 63rd minute, Philly head coach Jim Curtin brought Cory Burke on for Gazdag, moving to a formation with all three rostered strikers on the pitch as they pushed for a vital away goal.
But the Union's endeavors failed to produce a clear attempt and they were hit by a late sucker punch.
In the 76th minute, Club America took advantage of a sloppy giveaway in the Union's end, and in a last-gasp attempt to stop a shot from atop the box, Philly midfielder Jose Martinez slid towards the ball but took out America striker Richard Sanchez. The call on the field was no penalty, but after a lengthy Video Review, referee Walter Lopez pointed to the spot. America doubled their lead with Emanuel Aguilera calmly slotting the ball into the left corner of the net.
Philly made a last-ditch attempt at finding a coveted away goal deep into added time, but heroics from America goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa thwarted them.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Union will be disappointed to come away from the match without an away goal — something that could come back to haunt them, pending the second leg's result. Philadelphia conceded two rather unlucky goals and for large spells held their own against one of the best teams on the continent in a daunting venue, though. For Club America, it’s a dream result. The Union have it all to do in Leg 2 at Subaru Park.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Referee Walter Lopez’s decision to award a penalty to America in the 79th minute, overturning his on-field decision two minutes prior. The penalty gave the hosts their second goal and took the wind out of the Union's sails.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Club America’s Richard Sanchez. He scored the opening goal and drew the penalty that gave his side a 2-0 lead. He was a nuisance for the Union all match and provided the attacking versatility America needed around the box.
- PHI: Wednesday, Sept. 15 vs. Club America | 6 pm ET (FS1, Univision, TUDN) | CCL Semifinal Leg 2
- AME: Wednesday, Sept. 15 vs. Philadelphia Union | 6 pm ET (FS1, Univision, TUDN) | CCL Semifinal Leg 2