As such, we're here to see where Wednesday's trophy snare ranks among the best wins ever accomplished by a Major League Soccer team against Mexican counterparts. The MLS team's performance, strength of the opposition side, drama level and magnitude of the occasion were all considered when choosing an order for the five most famous defeats of a Liga MX foe.
With only five spots up for grabs, a few big victories rated in the "close, but not quite" category this time: Sporting KC sweeping their Champions League round-of-16 tie from earlier this year with a 2-0 win at Toluca, the Red Bulls sealing comfy advancement from the 2018 CCL quarterfinal with a 2-0 away victory over Tijuana and New England's 1-0 stoppage time triumph against Pachuca in the group phase on their way to the 2008 SuperLiga crown.
No. 5: TFC get a leg up on Tigres
Some may prefer Toronto FC's Champions League semifinal-opening domination of Club America, but we'll go with the hyped-up duel of titans that served as part one of its prologue. In a tie that would have been better served as the 2018 title bout rather than a quarterfinal tie, the Reds started the business of shoving aside Mexican champions Tigres with a come-from-behind-late 2-1 home win.
Greg Vanney's boys largely stifled their esteemed guests, but still fell behind to an Eduardo Vargas strike moments out of intermission. Unbowed, Toronto FC quickly applied pressure to level with a nifty Jozy Altidore finish on the hour. They'd wait until the 88th minute to complete the fight-back on a cheeky backheel goal by Jonathan Osorio.
No. 4: Sounders flip Tigres on their heads
Until the last 37 minutes of the second leg at CenturyLink Field, Seattle's hopes of reaching the semifinal of the 2012-13 Champions League were pretty grim. A 23rd-minute away goal (something Sigi Schmid's men did not manage in Mexico) had given Tigres a solid 2-0 aggregate lead. To snatch victory from the jaws of going home, the Rave Green needed to bag three, stat against a deep Tigres team already en route to topping the Clausura table.
One day after unveiling Obafemi Martins, the Sounders celebrated by doing just that. Defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore netted crackers seven minutes apart, setting up Eddie Johnson's 75th minute heroics. The US forward got loose down the left to complete the tie rally by sneaking home a bad-angle shot.
No. 3: Late Porter heroics stun Pachuca
Okay, yes, technically this is a cheat pick because the "straight out of the fire" second leg advancement miracle pulled off by Montreal in their 2015 Champions League quarterfinal went down in the match ledger as a 1-1 draw. But the result got them past a Pachuca side that among others of note included Hirving Lozano, Rodolfo Pizarro and current Revs ace Cristian Penilla on their road to the final.
After hanging on for a 2-2 share on the strength of a Dilly Duka double in the away leg, the Impact were confident of advancement. That good feeling held through 80 scoreless minutes before evaporating with a German Cano spot kick that put the Tuzos up late. It was nothing but a tease for Pachuca, who would be sent packing when Cameron Porter (a forward with less than 15 minutes of first team experience at this moment) entered folk hero territory by slotting home the tie winner after a splendid long ball takedown.
No. 2: Five Stripes wrest Campeones Cup
Is it premature to put Atlanta's topsy-turvy 3-2 triumph over Club America, and the toddler of a tournament Campeones Cup with it, this high on a such a list? Perhaps I'm just ahead of my time, but no, it shouldn't be. The two-year-old winner-take-all between reigning MLS and Liga MX kings came of age quickly on Wednesday night. Oh, it was a show and a turning point.
You see, the Five Stripes raised the trophy through persistent effort against a worthy, engaged foe and on a fair amount of short rest. The hosts were down near the hour but never out, suffering through the worst Josef Martinez penalty try known to man before finding a winner thanks to his best. By outlasting Club America in this entertaining slugfest, Atlanta effectively made Campeones Cup a pride thing.
No. 1: D.C. United makes border war history
There's only one tournament final listed here, so you know where it will land. In the second Champions Cup shot available to MLS clubs, D.C. United became the first league member to win the precursor to today's Champions League. As good as that capital crew was, it didn't seem a great bet prior to kickoff.
Back in 1998, the full knockouts were astoundingly played in the span of only six days. On the heels of consecutive shutout wins, Bruce Arena's D.C. United had to tackle a Toluca side fresh from a regular season/liguilla double. They kept a balanced attack led by Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo quiet, winning the day and the silverware on a late first half Eddie Pope goal.