CCL Quarterfinals – first leg recap, highlights: Bad week for MLS teams

Image, MLSSoccer.com

by RYAN BRISTER

Major League Soccer’s difficulties against Mexican opposition appears to be continuing in 2016. In four MLS vs. Liga MX quarterfinal matchups, American clubs lost two games in Mexico and were held to draws on home soil in the other two.

Seattle Sounders 2-2 Club America

Clint Dempsey’s brace was not enough to secure a first leg victory for Seattle. Dempsey gave the Sounders the lead with a curling free kick just before halftime, but America answered before the break. Darwin Quintero scored the equalizer on a quick counter that exposed Seattle’s back line. Dempsey headed in a corner kick in the 52nd minute, but Orribe Peralta scored the game’s final goal twenty minutes later. In all likelihood, the Sounders will have to win at the Azteca to advance to the semifinals.

Queretaro 2-0 DC United

The scoreline does not do justice to DC United’s performance on Tuesday night, but they have a steep hill to climb when they go home for the second leg. United produced more shots than Queretaro, and nearly took the lead early in the second half when Taylor Kemp hit the crossbar from distance. Minutes later, Steve Birnbaum was denied twice from close range by Tiago Volpi, who had nine saves on the night. Against the run of play, Yerson Candelo hit a dipping shot from outside of the box that ended in the top corner in the 71st minute. Edgar Benitez doubled DC’s deficit in the 84th minute.

Tigres 2-0 Real Salt Lake

As with DC, Salt Lake saw a solid defensive performance evaporate in the second half. The visitors had chances, particularly in the first half, but couldn’t capitalize. Nick Rimando played the hero by saving a penalty just before halftime. But Tigres scored in the 67th and 86th minutes to give them a commanding lead going north.

LA Galaxy 0-0 Santos Laguna 

The Galaxy will take solace in keeping a clean sheet after a scoreless draw at home against Santos Laguna. The game was evenly matched throughout, with neither side dominating in the statistics. The away goals rule gives LA some reason for hope as the series shifts to Mexico.

  • Interestingly, CA fans outnumbered mls Seattle franchise goers in Seattle. It’s like Americans don’t like #bushleaguemls
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    Support local independent soccer clubs!

    • Eric B

      Yup, Seattle’s attendance jumped from ~3,500 in the pre-MLS days to 40,000 in the MLS era because they hate MLS. Great observation.

      • So you admit most of the people at the game were cheering the club from Mexico (thousands of miles away) and not the local McWendys franchise?
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        Why doesn’t all those fans translate into a better McWendys? Seems Seattle mls keeps losing for those fans.
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        Wonder what a real club could do with all that support.
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        Support independent local soccer clubs!
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        Where is Rakeem?

        • Eric B

          Where to begin…I have no idea about the breakdown in supporters. It does make sense that the most popular team in our neighboring country where soccer is the most popular sport would have a few followers. Also, Seattle, playing a competitive game in the middle of their preseason, didn’t actually lose to the reigning continental champions in the middle of their season. Last I checked, 2-2 is a tie. They are at a disadvantage going into the second leg, but they didn’t lose.

          No comment on their huge increase in fans as a result of joining MLS?

          Haven’t you seen? Rakim is actually on tour (or about to go on tour) without me. I’ll never forgive him for this.