The soccer news starts with Concacaf insisting on a new spelling for the confederation’s acronym and MLS teams winning two more first-legs against Liga MX teams in the Champions League. Both of those things didn’t seem likely this time yesterday. Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders join the New York Red Bulls in carrying first-leg leads into next week’s quarterfinal finales. The difference is that the Red Bulls are the only MLS team to get those goals on the road.
Toronto FC came back to beat Tigres 2-1 at BMO Field to open their Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal series. Eduardo Vargas scored for Tigres in the 52nd minute with Jozy Altidore equalizing in the 60th. Jonathan Osorio scored for Toronto in the 89th.
“They made it tough for us, and in the second-half I thought we made it tough on them,” Altidore said. “It’s only halftime. There’s still a lot to play for.”
Seattle also carries a lead into their second-leg, beating Chivas 1-0 at CenturyLink Field. Clint Dempsey scored the game’s only goal in the 78th minute. Stefan Frei made four saves to keep the clean sheet.
“It’s what you dream about as a kid,” Dempsey said. “You always try to play in big games. You just want to make the most of your career, and that’s how I’ve always been. I’ve just been lucky in the big settings being able to show up and I’m happy to help the team out. It’s just another opportunity to try and do something great in your career,” he continued. “You want to try and help your team achieve success and you want to try and do something special.”
In the Copa MX round of 16, Omar Gonzalez wasn’t involved in Pachuca’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Zacatepec. Trailing from the 11th minute, Franco Jara scored for Pachuca to send the game to penalties. Atletico Zacatepec advanced 5-3 on penalties. Jonathan Bornstein’s Queretaro also needed penalties to get past Monterrey. Falling behind in the 35th at Monterrey, Camilo Sanvezzo scored in the 38th. Queretaro advanced 3-2 on penalties. William Yarbrough was on the bench and Landon Donovan wasn’t in the squad for Leon’s 4-1 win over Celaya. Mauro Boselli scored a first-half hat-trick for Leon. Playing the second-half a man up after a Celaya red card in the 45th minute, Maximiliano Ceratto scored for Leon in the 81st. Celaya got their goal three minutes later.
AP on what the Concacaf’s Nations League means for the USMNT and Mexico. SI.com’s Brian Straus on the Nations League format. FC Yahoo’s Henry Bushnell looks at the pluses and minuses for the new competition.
The NY Times’ Rory Smith on Juventus knocking out Spurs in the Champions League. The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson compares the styles used by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
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(Photo by Howard C Smith – ISIPhotos.com)