A week after winning three of four contests in the CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer clubs found themselves falling in all four matches in the second round of group play. Three of the four losses were at the hands of Mexican sides, which were a perfect 4-0-0. North American league-based Puerto Rico rounded out the results with a victory as well. While MLS clubs were looking to rebound on the weekend, the match of the week was the first professional championship of the season as USL-2 came to a close in Charleston with the Battery playing host to the long-time rival Richmond Kickers.
USL Second Division Championship
Richmond Kickers 1-2 Charleston Battery
The Battery, however, handled the adversity well and were able to double the lead in the 52nd minute on a throw-in. Mike Zaher sent the ball to Heinemann, who flicked it on to Ian Fuller. The veteran spun to strike a volley for a huge 2-0 advantage. In the 70th minute a fantastic cross from Sascha Gorres was fired home by Edson Elcock at the back post to pull within one. Fuller again played the hero in stoppage time, heading a Delicate strike off the line to preserve the win. Full Report [+]
Major League Soccer
The Seattle Sounders, 2-0 losers at home to Monterrey Thursday, were the lone MLS club to rebound from Champions League defeat on the weekend, posting a 2-1 victory over the visiting Chicago Fire with a dramatic stoppage time winner from Freddy Montero, his second of the evening.
After a narrow 1-0 road loss Tuesday to Mexican power Santos Laguna, which had outscored the opposition 11-2 leading into the game, the Columbus Crew played to a scoreless draw at home against FC Dallas, the league’s hottest club. Dallas extended two streaks, moving to 7-5-0 in the last 12 in league play and 3-0-7 in the past 10 on the road, breaking the league record which they shared with the Crew.
The other two sides squared off against one another in a scoreless stalemate north of the border. Toronto FC were coming off a 1-0 road loss to Panama’s Arabe Unido while Real Salt Lake had played a thrilling contest that frenetically finished 5-4 in favor of host Cruz Azul on a water-logged pitch during a heavy rainstorm. RSL, with one loss in the last 17 games, nearly won only to see a pair of shots ring off the woodwork in the last 10 minutes.
After trailing for 50 minutes against New England, Philadelphia rallied with a man advantage, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes of the contest with the equalizer in the 82nd minute and the 2-1 winner in stoppage time.
The four other matches on the weekend were shutout victories as New York downed visiting San Jose, 2-0, with Thierry Henry netting his first league goal. Colorado Rapids also won at home, posting a 3-0 win with all three goals coming in the first 23 minutes of the contest against Houston. Kansas City, meanwhile, won 2-0 on the road, handing league-leading Los Angeles its third defeat in four games. The weekend closed with Chivas USA holding on for a 1-0 home win on a 13th minute goal from Justin Braun against DC United.
The Austin Aztex missed out on an opportunity to retake the top spot in the league with two matches, playing to a 1-1 draw in Portland Thursday evening. With Rochester falling 2-0 in Montreal on a pair of goals from Ali Gerba, a second draw Sunday in Vancouver to the third-place Whitecaps, 2-2, left the Aztex two points back. The draw was Vancouver’s seventh without defeat.
Puerto Rico went to Carolina and followed up their CCL win with a 3-2 victory over the RailHawks, extending their unbeaten streak to nine games. Also continuing an unbeaten run were the Portland Timbers, who blanked Baltimore, 3-0, with a pair of goals from Bright Dike to reach five straight without a loss.
With Minnesota idle, the Rowdies were unable to climb from the bottom of the USL conference, falling Wednesday in Carolina, 2-1. They then rallied from two down to tie St Louis on the road, 2-2, Sunday to move level with Minnesota on points.
Mexican Primera Review
After another dominating Champions League performance, Santos Laguna’s run of perfection came to an end with a surprising 1-0 loss on the road to one-win Tigres Saturday. Cruz Azul, losers in Toronto, took advantage with a win on the road against Jaguares to pull level. Toluca finally earned its first victory with a narrow decision against fellow winless side Atlas.
Friday, August 27
Estudiantes Tecos 1-1 Morelia
The hosts took the lead six minutes into the second half when a diving Elgabry Rangel sent it in off the crossbar. Tecos looked to be headed to a win when they lost Juan Carlos Leano in the 83rd to a second yellow and saw Morelia pounce on a poor clearance that resulted in Jaime Lozano sending it in off the left post. Scoring – EST: Elgabry Rangel 49; MOR: Jaime Lozano
Saturday, August 28
Cruz Azul 3-2 Tigres UANL
A rebound off a defender came out to Emanuel Villa, who fired from 16 for the lead 10 minutes into the contest for the home side, but Tigres answered less than a minute later when a header across the top of the box was one-timed in by Itamar from similar range. Cruz Azul would go on to post a two-goal lead with Javier Orozco heading in a cross from close range in the 42nd and Manuel Vela hitting from 17 yards out on the left side in the 53rd. Itamar struck again three minutes later when he lofted it over the keeper off a bounce from 19 yards with a defender on his shoulder. Scoring – CA: Emanuel Villa 10, Javier Orozco 42, Manuel Vela 53; TIG: Itamar 11, 56
Monterrey 1-1 Jaguares Chiapas
The visitors took the lead 23 minutes into the match on a fantastic play in which Danilinho chased a long ball down the right side of the box, keeping it from going over the endline at the last moment. He cut back toward the top of the box, touching it past the keeper, who came out to challenge, and fired it in from a sharp angle. The lead was short-lived though as Humberto Suazo received the ball at the top of the box and scored from 12 yards out on the right side. Unfortunately, Suazo was unable to amplify the role of hero, sending a late penalty eight minutes from time well over the goal. Scoring – MON: Humberto Suazo 28; JAG: Danilinho 23
Santos Laguna 3-1 Atlas
Dominance continued for co-leaders Santos Laguna as they tallied three before Atlas got consolation. The two sides were deadlocked through 57 when the ball was slid across the 17 and buried from 16 yards by Carlos Morales. Five minutes later a low cross into the area was put away from eight yards by Cristian Benitez. In the 84th, Daniel Luduena put a long effort in off the underside of the crossbar. A minute later Fabricio Fuentes headed home from six yards. Scoring – SL: Carlos Morales 57, Cristian Benitez 62, Daniel Luduena 84; ATL: Fabricio Fuentes 85
Chivas Guadalajara 0-0 Pumas UNAM
There was not much to celebrate as Chivas debuted in their new stadium, resulting in jeers at the end of the first half from the fans. Guadalajara had more of the offense in the second half but could not end the deadlock.
San Luis 2-1 Atlante
The home side took the initial lead in the 26th minute when Wilmer Aguirre took a long ball and dribbled inside the box from eight yards out, scoring from 15. Atlante tied the match in the 39th with a Mathias Cardaccio shot that deflected off a defender. In similar fashion, Cesar Gonzalez scored from long range in the final minutes from well out on the right flank with a shot that ricocheted off a player and inside the post. Scoring – SL: Wilmer Aguirre 26, Cesar Gonzalez 89; ATL: Mathias Cardaccio 39
Sunday, August 29
Toluca 2-0 Queretaro
After a slow start, Toluca has put a good run together with a second straight win and third overall including Champions League. Hector Mancilla nearly put Toluca in the lead nine minutes in only to see his header go off the post. The breakthrough, however, would come in the 38th when a cross from the left was brought down on the right side by Mario Mendez, who drove back toward the top of the box before ripping a long shot from 20 yards inside the far post. A controversial penalty was called in the 80th when Mancilla stuck his foot in front of defender Joaquin Beltran’s swinging leg as he was attempting to clear. Mancilla would convert from the spot. Scoring – TOL: Mario Mendez 37, Hector Mancilla pen 80
Puebla 3-1 Pachuca
Last season’s scoring champion Herculez Gomez sat on the bench for most of the game as his former club dominated the affair. Pachuca, however, got on the board first in the 64th minute when Damian Manso connected on a free kick into the upper corner. The lead was short-lived with Gabriel Pereyra beating the keeper at the left post. Puebla took the lead five minutes from time when Roberto Juarez headed in a corner. The locked up the with Alejandro Acosta’s strike in the 90th. Scoring – PUE: Gabriel Pereyra 65, Roberto Juarez 85, Alejandro Acosta 90; PAC: Damian Manso 64
America 1-1 Necaxa
Newly-promoted Necaxa continues to surprise although they have only one victory. Dario Gandin scored on a deflection three minutes before the half for the lead on the road. America would answer in the 76th via a Daniel Marquez header, giving Necaxa its it’s third draw. Scoring – AME: Daniel Marquez 76; NEC: Dario Gandin 42