The Portland Timbers were eliminated from the 2021 Concacaf Champions League on Wednesday, falling 3-1 to Liga MX giants Club America in Leg 2 of the Quarterfinals matchup between the sides on a rainy night at Estadio Azteca.
Federico Viñas scored a brace and Leo Suarez added a 70th-minute dagger to pace the hosts, while Diego Valeri converted a 65th-minute penalty kick for Portland. The result gave Club America a 4-2 aggregate triumph after a 1-1 result in Leg 1 at Providence Park, and sends them through to the CCL Semifinals
Club America started the goal-scoring in the 21st minute through Viñas, who rose up to meet a pinpoint cross from Mauro Lainez and cashed home a flicked header, giving the Liga MX side a 1-0 lead they would take into the halftime break.
The Timbers had a couple of good chances early in the second half, but neither quite materialized. Felipe Mora put a shot on target after Dairon Apsrilla won the ball in the attacking end, but he couldn't generate full power on the shot and Guillermo Ochoa managed to snare the save. Yimmi Chara then had a look of his own just a few minutes after Mora's, but his distance look was parried away by Ochoa.
It proved consequential, as Club America were awarded a penalty kick in the 55th minute when Claudio Bravo was called for a foul on Suarez in his own box. The Timbers' players adamantly protested the call, and it eventually went to Video Review, but it was upheld by referee Iván Arcides Barton Cisneros, allowing Viñas to convert his second of the match from the spot.
The Timbers would get a lifeline when they were awarded a PK of their own after Mora drew a foul call in the Club America box. Valeri converted a clinical finish from the spot, putting Portland in position where they could have advanced on the away goals tiebreaker if they could find an equalizer and see out a 3-3 draw.
But Suarez found a backbreaking strike, teeing up a shot from just outside the area that took a deflection and squeaked by Jeff Attinella in the 70th minute to restore the two-goal aggregate advantage, which America saw out to clinch their spot in the Semifinals.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It's a frustrating way to see their CCL dreams dashed for Portland, especially after Valeri's PK put them in a position where an equalizer could have sent them through. Instead, it's back to league play for Gio Savarese and Co., where they have a huge Cascadia derby with the Seattle Sounders on a short turnaround. The result makes the Philadelphia Union the last remaining MLS team in this year's competition, and they'll take on this same Club America group in the Semis.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Both second-half penalty kicks were hotly debated, but it was Suarez's deflected goal that really put the series to bed.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Viñas bagged the brace, but Suarez was Club America's most electric player, drawing the PK in addition to scoring that aforementioned late dagger.
- POR: Sunday, May 9 vs. Seattle Sounders | 3 pm ET (ABC, ESPN Deportes)