One leg’s down in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. If you’re MLS, apart from Toronto FC and Atlanta United, you’re happy with the way things went. If you’re Marathón, well...thanks for coming?
Independiente 4-0 Toronto FC
The good news for Toronto FC? It will likely be spared a soul-crushing loss in the CCL final this year. The Reds looked overmatched throughout as Independiente struck once in the first half and three more times in the second half, with a pair of tallies coming off the foot of Romeesh Ivey. Oh, and it included a penalty miss by Terrence Boyd for good measure. TFC, MLS Cup champions in 2017 and CCL runners-up in 2018, have it all to do up at BMO Field as a miserable 10 months (except against Atlanta United) continues.
Saprissa 1-0 Tigres
Tigres certainly aren’t out of the picture, but Saprissa, with several Atlanta United fans in attendance just 20 minutes from Herediano’s ground, helped its own cause as it gained an early edge in this matchup. Former Minnesota United man Johan Venegas scored in the 73rd to take Rubillo Castillo, who missed an absolute sitter just before the half, off the hook. Could Castillo’s miss still come back to haunt Saprissa if Tigres respond with a goal or two at home next week?
Guastatoya 0-1 Houston Dynamo
DaMarcus Beasley - as we all predicted - scored in the 84th to help the Dynamo snag a massive away goal to take with them to BBVA Compass Stadium. Hard to believe that it’s Beasley’s first ever CCL competition, and he certainly left his mark on the match in Guatemala.
Atlético Pantoja 0-2 New York Red Bulls
If you were a club with Atlético in your name, it was a good Wednesday - unless you happened to play in the Dominican Republic. Pantoja’s first CCL match in club history started in disaster with an own goal in the 39th, with Daniel Royer adding a big second goal in the 67th. Barring a stunning turn of events in the return leg at Red Bull Arena, RBNY are likely through after a dominant result.
Marathón 2-6 Santos Laguna
Javier Marcelo Correa’s first-half hat trick with Santos on the road should have been a sign that the night would go wrong for Marathón. Three more goals conceded in the second half made a nightmarish evening for the Honduran outfit even worse.
Alianza 0-0 Monterrey
Los Rayados were probably one of the favorites to win the tournament, so Alianza are probably quite fortunate to go down to Mexico having not conceded. Still, Monterrey had more of the ball throughout and will have a vocal crowd on its side in the home leg next Wednesday.
Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Toluca
Well, at least one MLS side had a good night on Thursday. Krisztian Nemeth scored his first since returning to SKC 10 minutes before the half, while Gerso’s tally in the 52th and a banger of a goal by Ilie around 20 minutes later helped the hosts to a healthy result as they travel south of the border next week.