MX Crushes MLS…
by Luis Eduardo Flores
There is no way to sugar coat it. Liga MX’s four remaining teams made quick work of their northern counterparts.
Unlike the last Champions League; MLS’ teams fell short of expectations. In the first leg of the quarterfinals; only the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders were able walk out with draws. DC United and Real Salt Lake were humbled with losses. In the end; all four MLS fell to the clearly dominate Mexican teams.
RSL and DCU were the only MLS teams that managed to get a draw. Yet; it wasn’t enough to save them from elimination. So the 2nd leg was also role reversal from the 1st leg.
Santos Laguna swept the floor with MLS’ glamour team. Simply by looking at the stats and highlights, you can see that the Galaxy did try. Their best efforts were minimal compared to the Santos. Right after the back-to-back goals; it became apparent that the Galaxy were not likely to come back. It was true. At the 35th minute; Djaniny scored Santos’ 3rd goal. Really; it’s very rare to see for a team to come back from three goals down. Martin Bravo scored his 2nd and last goal of the game at the 57th minute to send Santos into the next round. Poor shame for the Galaxy.
The DCU vs. Querátaro started with a goal by Querátaro and ended with a goal by DCU. This match was a relatively less than stellar performance by Querátaro. After their previous encounter, you probably thought that DCU was going to be pinned down without any hopes of winning. Probably Querátaro was overconfident throughout the match; hence, the reason why they didn’t net more goals. Regardless; the 1-1 draw did no favors for DCU.
The Seattle Sounders were played with in their match against America. Early in the match; the Sounders took the lead. Credit goes to Paul Aguilar for the Sounders’ goal. Osvaldo Alonso fed a cross over to Nelson Valdez. Aguilar foolishly went in for the slide tackle and instead got the last touch on the ball. In what could have been a penalty turned out to be an own goal. That definitely is how the champions wanted to start the 2nd leg.
A minute later; Darwin Quintero scored to even up the game. Right before halftime, Oribe Peralta gave America the lead with a powerful header. Five minutes into the 2nd half, Andres Andrale scored the winning goal to send the champions into the next round. While this wasn’t America’s most decorated game ever; it sure was an easy win for them. With 17 shots to Seattle’s 3 shots; it shows how weak was Seattle’s midfield and defense.
RSL was the closest to advancing to the next round. They showed more consistency out of their other three MLS brethren. By the 71st minute; RSL and Tigres were still tied. Juninho brought down Juan Martinez inside the penalty box. Javier Morales took the shot and…Nahuel Guzmán made the save. At the 89th minute, Andre Gignac secured the Tigres’ win and RSL’s elimination.
What did we learn? MLS’ pride was hit hard. We also learned that the Liga MX is still the top dog in CONCACAF. With all due respect to the MLS teams that made this far into the tournament; hopefully, their experience benefits them during the MLS season.
Now; the pressure is on the defending champions. Can the “Aguilas del America” get pass the next round? We can only determine that until March 16; when they face Santos Laguna.
Photo: espnfc.com, mlssoccer.com