The 2019 Concacaf Champions League round of 16 first-legs opened with mixed results for MLS teams. Houston shutout Guastatoya on the road, but Toronto FC's 4-0 loss at Independiente took some of the shine off of the Dynamo's result.
Houston went to Guatemala to open their round of 16 series, coming up with a late goal from a familiar face. DaMarcus Beasley scored in the 84th minute to give Houston the advantage in the return leg on February 26. Joe Willis didn't need to make a save to keep the clean sheet.
In Panama, Toronto lost 4-0 at Independiente. Abdiel Ayarza put Independiente up in the 9th minute. Terrence Boyd missed a Toronto penalty in the 32nd minute. It was all Independiente in the second-half with Omar Browne scoring in the 48th and Romeesh Ivey finishing off the goals in the 52nd and 78th minutes. Toronto finished without a shot on goal from 7 taken. The series concludes on February 26.
"It's a big step up from preseason, Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley said. "The intensity of the game, what the opponent puts into it. Everything that you know coming in... conditions aren't easy, an opponent that is going to look to play on the counter and do that in a very aggressive way. We weren't up for any part of it,” he said. “That part is very disappointing."
Also in the Concacaf Champions League, Saprissa beat Tigres 1-0 at home. Johan Venegas scored in the 73rd minute with Saprissa goalkeeper Aaron Cruz making 9 saves.
Goal's Ives Galarcep works through what happened to Toronto in the Champions League.
In the AFC Champions League, Mix Diskerud scored two goals in Ulsan's 5-1 home win over Perak to qualify for the group stage. An own-goal opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with Diskerud adding goals in the 56th and 58th minutes. Dong-kyeong Lee scored in the 70th with Junior Negrao making it 5-0 in the 87th. Perak scored in the 90th minute. Ulsan now faces Australia's Sydney FC, Japan's Kawasaki Frontale, and China's Shanghai SIPG in Group H.
FourFourTwo's Joe Brewin runs the numbers on first-leg scoreless draws in the Champions League. The NY Times' Rory Smith sees an eventual reckoning for this version of Bayern Munich. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson with the focus on defense in the Champions League.
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