Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Major League Soccer teams swept out of CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals

Sporting Kansas City´s Graham Zusi. (Steven Bisig/USA Today Sports file photo)
Sporting Kansas City's Graham Zusi. (Steven Bisig/USA Today Sports file photo)

All three Major League Soccer teams in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals failed to advance, as they were knocked out by Mexican opponents.

On Wednesday, Toluca beat the San Jose Earthquakes on penalties to reach the semifinals for the second time.

The two teams tied 1-1 in the first leg in Santa Clara, Calif., and the second leg in Toluca, Mexico finished with the same score after 90 minutes. Ty Harden put the Earthquakes ahead in the 56th minute off a cross from former Union winger Shea Salinas. Isaác Brizuela - a San Jose native who plays for Mexico's national team - scored the equalizer in the 69th minute.

Neither team scored in the 30 minutes of extra time. In the shootout, Salinas had the decisive miss that gave Toluca a 5-4 triumph.

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  • Toluca, a 10-time Mexican champion, will next play play the winner of the quarterfinal series between Panama's Arabe Unido and Costa Rica's Alajuelenese.

    Later Wednesday, Argentine striker Mariano Pavone scored a hat trick to lead Cruz Azul to a 5-1 win over reigning MLS champion Sporting Kansas City.

    Pavone scored in the 2nd, 22nd and 55th minutes as Cruz Azul secured a 5-2 aggregate victory over Kansas City.

    Argentina's Mauro Formica scored in the 65th minute and Christian Gimenez added a goal four minutes later for Cruz Azul, a two-time Champions League finalist.

    Benny Feilhaber scored in the 43rd minute for Sporting, which won the first leg at home, 1-0.

    Cruz Azul will play fellow Mexican club Tijuana in the semifinals after Los Xolos knocked out the Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-3 on aggregate.

    The series drew the most attention of the four quarterfinals. Tijuana is based just half an hour south of San Diego, and both teams often compete for the same youth soccer prospects in California.

    L.A. took a 1-0 lead south of the border, but the advantage didn't last long. Ecuadorian striker Jaime Ayovi scored in the second and ninth minutes, and Argentine striker Dario Benedetto added a goal in the 26th minute.

    Robbie Keane scored off an Omar González cross in the 46th minute, giving the Galaxy some hope. Richard Ruiz lengthened the lead in the 80th for Tijuana, and Keane found the net again in the 84th.

    The Galaxy pushed hard for an equalizer that would have seen them advance on away goals. But it never came, and one of MLS' flagship teams was once again knocked out.

    Unfortunately for the league, it was just a harbinger of things to come.

    This article contains information from the Associated Press.
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