Thursday, August 19

Coming Up Around CONCACAF

With the Group Stage starting this week, the midweek schedule for league play was fairly light with only one MLS contest and three for USSF Division-2. Meanwhile, the confederation’s top club competition resumed with the group phase featuring eight seeded clubs and the eight winners from the Preliminary Round.

For the most part, the results went according to what may be expected per The Soccer Barn’s CONCACAF Pro Club Power Rankings as the only upsets were close contests where the lower ranked side was at home. Among them was Toronto (14) edging Cruz Azul (3) by a 2-1 scoreline and FAS (85) battling to a scoreless stalemate against Toluca (16), which remains winless through four league and one CCL match (0-2-3 W-L-D) with only four goals scored. The week closed with another upset as Seattle (24) fell 2-1 on the road to Marathon (45) on a controversial penalty kick call.

Saturday and Sunday are the busy fixture dates this week as MLS is off Friday evening, USSF-D2 has only one match and there are only three others in Mexico and Panama.

CCL Results – Home/Away (TSB ranking)

Tuesday: (14) Toronto FC 2-1 Cruz Azul (3)… (28) Puerto Rico Islanders 1-1 Olimpia (25)… (2) Monterrey 2-1 Saprissa (69) – Wednesday: (17) Columbus Crew 1-0 Municipal (56)… (46) Joe Public 2-5 Santos Laguna (1)… (6) Real Salt Lake 2-1 Arabe Unido (54)… (85) FAS 0-0 Toluca (16) – Thursday: (45) Marathon 2-1 Seattle Sounders (24)

League Results – Home/Away (TSB ranking)

Wednesday: (26) Chicago Fire 2-1 New England Revolution (30)… (91) Crystal Palace Baltimore 0-2 Rochester Rhinos (48)… (59) Carolina RailHawks 2-1 Miami FC Blues (95) – Thursday: (82) Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps (34)


Tuesday, August 17

Pro Rankings: MLS Clubs Rising

With the Mexican Primera having wrapped up its first month of action, a clear delineation between the elite sides and the rest of the league seems to be developing, allowing a number of Major League Soccer sides to slide up the rankings. With the CONCACAF Champions League kicking off the group stage, 16 clubs could make big swings on the list in the coming weeks.

FC Dallas, with only two losses in 19 outings, reached the fourth spot with a 3-1 win over DC United and Real Salt Lake (11-4-6) is in at number six with league-leading Los Angeles two spots behind them and New York rounding out the Top 10.

The biggest mover in the top quarter of the list, however, was Alajuelense. The Costa Rican side won a battle of unbeaten clubs against Barrio Mexico, which moved up as well given their narrow 2-1 defeat on the road against a perennial power, to reach the 13th spot from 23rd. Fellow Costa Rican side Herediano also made a big move up the list from 67 to 53 with a 3-1-0 record. Previously unranked Santos de Guapiles (2-1-1) entered the list at 64 by stunning powerhouse and Champions League club Saprissa 2-0.

Puerto Rico climbed ahead of Austin with a 2-0 victory over the then league leaders. Other big movers in USSF Division-2 were Tampa Bay, which posted a 1-1 draw in Puerto Rico and 3-3 draw in Miami, and Crystal Palace Baltimore, which pulled themselves off the edge with an upset win over Carolina.

Opening their season late midweek to cap the opening round of Honduran action, Deportes Savio debuted on the list at 65 after a 1-1 road draw against Champions League side Marathon and a 2-1 win against Vida.

Deportes Savio and Santos de Guapiles were among six clubs moving into the top 100, knocking out Perez Zeledon (CRC), Vida (HON), Suchitepequez (GUA), Atletico Balboa (SLV), Real Maryland Monarchs (USL2) and Harrisburg City Islanders (USL2).

Central America Round-Up

With several clubs preparing for the beginning of the CONCACAF Champions League group phase, the weekend put tough decisions in front club managers with hopes of advancing from their group as they balanced league play with resting players for the midweek fixtures.

Costa Rica

The Primera Division’s fourth round was a bit quixotic as all six Group A clubs suffered defeats at the hands of teams from Group B. Among the leading storylines from the fixtures was the number of send-offs that played a factor in the results. Nine players, in total, were dismissed from the pitch in six matches.

Monday, August 16

Mexican Primera Review

Domination continued for Santos Laguna. They posted a fourth straight victory in league play and sixth overall. Christian Benitez continued his scoring streak, having netted in every league contest. Jaguares, despite losing, became the first Mexican side to keep Santos from scoring at least three goals with only San Juan Jabloteh matching the 1-0 effort in Champions League play in Trinidad. San Luis registered the upset of the week as they picked up their first win, 1-0, against Morelia, which came in with wins in both contests this season by an aggregate score of 7-0.

Friday, August 13 (Home-Away)

Necaxa 1-1 Queretaro
Promoted side Necaxa continues to perform well, posting a third positive result in four matches. The hosts were unlucky in the 13th minute on Friday the 13th when Carlos Bossi headed it off the post and watched teammate Luis Padilla send the rebound off the same upright. Thirteen minutes later Pablo Quattrocchi sent the ball inside the left post for the lead. In the 56th minute Sergio Orteman fired a shot that deflected off a Necaxa defender before slamming off the crossbar. Four minutes later Hector Altamirano leveled terms with a free kick into the upper left corner. Scoring – NEC: Pablo Quattrocchi 27; QUE: Hector Altamirano 60

Saturday, August 14

Cruz Azul 4-1 Pachuca
Cruz Azul’s domination began just seven minutes in when Javier Orozco put away a corner kick from Christian Gimenez. Emanuel Villa played a give-and-go with Gimenez to leave himself all alone to double the lead three minutes before the break. Five minutes into the second half Orozco netted his second and 10 minutes later Raul Martinez sent an accidental header past his own keeper to push the lead to four. Edgar Benitez would spoil the shutout in the 66th from the spot. Scoring – CA: Javier Orozco 7; CA: Emanuel Villa 42; CA: Javier Orozco 50; CA: Own goal (Raul Martinez) 60; PAC: Edgar Benitez (penalty) 66

Monterrey 5-2 Pumas UNAM
Pumas has two wins at home. On the road, it’s a whole other story as Saturday’s result leaves them with a pair of losses 9-2 on aggregate. This week, the send off of goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios led to the defeat as the club had the advantage at the time. After Humberto Suazo opened the scoring by burying his own rebound nine minutes in. Leandro Augusto tied it up in the 18th off the left post and Dante Lopez gave Pumas the lead when he put away a Javier Cortez shot that rebounded off the base of the post. The hosts leveled before the half through a Sergio Santana header. Four minutes into the second stanza Palacios was sent off and Suazo converted the subsequent penalty to retake the lead. Osvaldo Martinez put the game out of doubt with a long-range effort in the 77th and Aldo De Nigris rounded out the scoring in the final minute. Scoring – MON: Humberto Suazo 9; PUM: Leandro Augusto 18; PUM: Dante Lopez 24; MON: Sergio Santana 45; MON: Humberto Suazo (penalty) 52; MON: Osvaldo Martinez 77; MON: Aldo De Nigris 90

Santos Laguna 1-0 Chiapas Jaguares
Santos kept their high-flying act going with a rare close contest on the young season. Christian Benitez scored his league-leading sixth goal of the campaign when he slashed through the defense seconds into the second half before beating goalkeeper Jorge Villalpando. Jackson Martinez had three close efforts for the visitors but was unable to find the equalizer. Scoring – SAN: Christian Benitez 46

San Luis 1-0 Morelia
A Miguel Sabah penalty saved by Cesar Lozano in the 52nd minute proved critical as Wilmer Aguirre nodded a corner home five minutes later for the victory . Scoring – SL: Wilmer Aguirre 57

Sunday, August 15

Puebla 1-1 Atlante
Deadlocked at the break, the visitors opened the scoring nearly 10 minutes into the second stanza when Jeronimo Amione floated a shot into the corner. Puebla were unable to break down the defensive stance of Atlante until four minutes were left on the board when Rodrigo Salinas sent a cross from the right to Edgar Lugo, who tapped in at the near post. Scoring – ATL: Jeronimo Amione 54; PUE: Edgar Lugo 86

Toluca 1-1 Tigres
Preseason favorites Toluca are still without a win after four games, playing to a third consecutive 1-1 draw. Toluca took the advantage at home in the 61st minute off the foot of Antonio Rios. Victory was snatched from Toluca in the final moments when Alberto Acosta was fouled in the area by Manuel de la Torre, leading to a penalty converted by Itamar Batista. Scoring – TOL: Antonio Rios 61; TIG: Itamar Batista (penalty) 90

America 1-1 Atlas
The match was decided, in part, on nearly identical corner kick situations that had decidedly different results. An America corner 17 minutes in was headed home by Matias Vuoso, flying just centimeters above the head of a defender on the post who was a fraction of a second late in attempting to nod it wide. An identical play later in the match from Atlas saw Nestor Vidrio head the ball toward goal only to see Rosinei Adolfo clear it off the line with a header. Atlas would, however, find the equalizer through Fabricio Fuentes on the hour mark. Scoring – AME: Matias Vuoso 17; ATL: Fabricio Fuentes 60

MLS in Review

With two games on the week, Real Salt Lake was hoping to make a serious dent in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s league lead, but were only able to make up one point as they registered a draw Wednesday and a win Saturday while the Galaxy snared a 1-0 win in New York on the weekend. RSL’s victory Saturday also kept Columbus at bay as they downed the Crew, 2-0.

Saturday, August 14 (Away-Home)

Colorado Rapids 1-1 Philadelphia Union
Alejandro Moreno’s effort for Philadelphia off the post in the 32nd minute nearly broke a stalemate that stood until Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz, a Pennsylvania native, buried a miscleared ball from 20 yards out. For the second straight match Sebatien Le Toux set up Danny Mwanga for the lone Union strike, tracking down a long ball and slipping a low cross into the area for Mwanga’s finish. Scoring – COL: Jeff Larentowicz 59; PHI: Danny Mwanga (Sebastien Le Toux) 73

Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 New York Red Bulls
Edson Buddle added to his league-leading goal total his 13th of the campaign, running onto a through ball from Juninho 10 minutes into the contest, making up for Chris Birchall’s effort went off the crossbar three minutes earlier. New York’s Juan Pablo Angel also put one off the woodwork, hitting the post with a header off a Rafa Marquez free kick in first half stoppage time and allowing Bruce Arena to leave with a win despite spending it in a suite after being hospitalized earlier in the week for an illness. Scoring – LA: Edson Buddle (Juninho) 10

FC Dallas 3-1 DC United
DC United woes continued as they were unable to find the net on their own in Frisco. Eric Alexander and David Ferreira helped lead the hosts to their 10th straight without a loss. In the 36th minute Alexander sent a through ball to Brek Shea, who found Ferreira for a tap-in. Four minutes into the second half Ferreira returned the favor as Alexander fired inside the post from 18 yards. DC’s lone tally came with 10 minutes remaining when Santino Quaranta’s cross toward Andy Najar was redirected into the net by defender Jair Benitez. Jeff Cunninham struck for his 128th career goal when he beat Bill Hamid one-on-one for an empty-netter in stoppage time. Scoring – DAL: David Ferreira (Brek Shea, Eric Alexander) 36; DAL: Eric Alexander (Milton Rodriguez, David Ferreira) 49; DC Own goal (Jair Benitez) 80; DAL: Jeff Cunningham 92+

Houston Dynamo 0-1 New England Revolution
The Revolution extended an unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions when Ilija Stolica fired past Matt Reis from the top of the box in the 62nd minute to break the stalemate. Scoring – NE: Ilija Stolica (Sainey Nyassi) 62

Columbus Crew 0-2 Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales stunned the Crew 11 minutes in on a short corner from Fabian Espindola when he fired a shot inside the far post instead of crossing into the box. After a few diving saves from Nick Rimando to keep Columbus off the board Morales doubled the advantage on the hour mark, striking a free kick through the wall. Scoring – RSL: Javier Morales (Fabian Espindola) 11; Javier Morales 60

Kansas City Wizards 0-1 San Jose Earthquakes
Jamaican international Khary Stephenson made the most of his debut, connecting with Chris Wondolowski for the lone tally of the night, lofting a pass from 35 yards out in the 35th minute that was volleyed past Jimmy Nielsen. Scoring – SJ: Chris Wondolowski (Khari Stephenson) 35

Seattle Sounders 0-0 Chivas USA
The scoring summary was empty, but the disciplinary report carried plenty of drama as both clubs finished a man short. The closest chance of the night came around the hour mark when the Sounders’ Sanna Nyassi sent a header off the right post. The match came to a close with a bench-clearing scuffle when Leo Gonzalez was hit with an elbow from Mariano Trujillo, sparking the incident. Both men would be sent off.

Wednesday, August 11

Toronto FC 0-1 New York Red Bulls
Thierry Henry nearly put the hosts on the board in the 21st only to be taken goalkeeper Stefan Frei without a whistle for a penalty. Two minutes later, however, Henry started the play on the lone tally of the night. His ball was chipped by Seth Stammler over the defense to Joel Lindpere. Scoring – NY: Joel Lindpere (Seth Stammler, Thierry Henry) 23

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Philadelphia Union
Sebastien Le Toux continues to be the primary producer of the Union offense, setting up Danny Mwanga eight minutes into the match. It took the defending MLS Cup champions only nine minutes to answer against the expansion side courtesy of a fantastic effort from Fabian Espindola, who beat two defenders before unleashing the equalizer. Scoring – PHI: Danny Mwanga (Sebastien Le Toux) 8; RSL: Fabian Espindola (Tony Beltran) 17

Sunday, August 15

USSF Division-2 in Review

Three of the four contests Wednesday finished in draws, but the big result of the night was a 2-0 win by Rochester in Carolina that had implications beyond that night as Austin was idle. The three points put the Rhinos within striking range of Austin, allowing Rochester to move into first overall in the league Saturday evening with their 2-1 victory over rival Montreal as the Aztex fell, 2-0, in Puerto Rico. It was only the third defeat of the year for Austin, which has three games in hand on the Rhinos, who now lead by a single point.

Saturday, August 14  (Away-Home)

Austin Aztex 0-2 Puerto Rico Islanders
The Islanders eliminated MLS-leading Los Angeles from the CONCACAF Champions League the previous week and followed it up with a victory over USSF Division-2 leading Austin, which was unbeaten on the road and in the midst of a seven-game undefeated run. David Foley found the lower left corner in the 32nd minute for a halftime lead and Daniel Keon provided some insurance by beating goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo one-on-one in the 68th. Both goals were set up by Nicolas Addlery. Scoring - PR: David Foley (Nicolas Addlery) 32; PR: Daniel Keon (Nicolas Addlery) 68

Portland Timbers 1-0 AC St Louis
Dike netted his third goal in four games as Steve Cronin posted his eighth shutout. Keith Savage found Dike at the top of the box, where he created some space with a quick move left before drilling aroller inside the left post four minutes before the half for what held as the winner. Scoring - POR: Bright Dike (Keith Savage) 41

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 NSC Minnesota Stars
The Whitecaps continue on their run of good form finishing their fifth without defeat and posting their ninth consecutive contest on the road without a loss. Captain Martin Nash first-timed the ball at the top of the box in the 15th minute for what stood as the winner of the contest, which was extended due to a lightning delay in the second half. Scoring - VAN: Martin Nash (Cornelius Stewart) 15

Carolina RailHawks 1-2 Crystal Palace Baltimore
Santiago Fusilier helped facilitate the downfall of his former club, setting up Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who slipped the ball by Eric Reed 21 minutes in. Gary Brooks fired a rocket into the back of the net to double the advantage four minutes into the second half. Matt Watson cut into the deficit in the 76th but the rally was not enough for Carolina. Scoring - CPB: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Santiago Fusilier) 21; CPB: Gary Brooks (Pat Healey) 49; CAR: Matt Watson 76

Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-3 Miami FC Blues
A thriller ended level between the Florida rivals. The visitors got off to a quick start only to see chances from Ricardo Sanchez and Pascal Millien go off the woodwork before Miami answered in the 19th with a header from Chuckwudi Chijindu to take the lead. New addition Maykel Galindo, on loan from Chivas USA, tied the match up in the 33rd. Miami again took the advantage when Danilo Martins tallied off a ball that came to him on a fortunate deflection off the referee, but the Rowdies fired right back as Gerson Mayen was charged with an own goal after the ball deflected off of him to level terms in the 45th. Tampa Bay took its first lead courtesy of Aaron King but with eight minutes remaining Martin Nunez beat goalkeeper Darryl Sattler one-on-one for an empty-netter. Scoring - MIA: Chukwudi Chijindu 19; TB: Maykel Galindo 33; MIA: Danilo Martins 42; TB: Own goal (Gerson Mayen); TB: Aaron King (Jonny Steele) 56; MIA: Martin Nunez 82

Montreal Impact 1-2 Rochester Rhinos
Defender Frankie Sanfilippo gave the Rhinos the advantage in the 36th minute when he put the ball off the far post, but Montreal would answer just before the break with Eduardo Sebrango nodding it in to level the game. Isaac Kissi fired a close-range effort from six yards for the winner six minutes from time. Scoring - ROC: Frankie Sanfilippo (Andrew Hoxie) 36; MON: Eduardo Sebrango (Leonardo DiLorenzo) 45; ROC: Isaac Kissi (Darren Spicer) 84

Wednesday, August 8

Rochester Rhinos 2-0 Carolina RailHawks
Fifteen minutes in, Tyler Rosenlund collected the ball from Isaac Kissi and beat the Carolina defense to give the visitors the early lead. With 11 minutes remaining Ryan Heins secured the victory. Scoring - ROC: Tyler Rosenlund (Isaac Kissi) 15; ROC: Ryan Heins (Adam West) 79

Crystal Palace Baltimore 0-0 Montreal Impact
Despite missing two defenders to suspension (Nevio Pizzolitto and Adam Braz) and another two to injury (Stephen deRoux and Simon Gatti), the Impact held firm on the goalkeeping of Matt Jordan, who needed just saves, in the scoreless draw. At the other end, Evan Bush was peppered with 24 shots, making 13 saves in a great performance.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-1 Puerto Rico Islanders
New addition Ricardo Sanchez scored his third goal in three games with the Rowdies two minutes into stoppage time for a stunning draw in Puerto Rico, who held the lead since Josh Hansen’s strike in the 31st. Sanchez rang his effort, coming off the rebound of an Aaron King shot, off the underside of the crossbar. Scoring - PR: Josh Hansen (Kevon Villaroel) 31; TB: Ricardo Sanchez 92+

NSC Minnesota Stars 2-2 Portland Timbers
Andrei Gotsmanov helped extend Minnesota’s unbeaten run to six games, chipping a ball that Ely Allen poked in 24 minutes into the contest and found Simone Bracalello with a corner kick at the six for a header in the 73rd for the tie. For the Timbers, Ryan Pore was the hero as he headed the ball into the path of Bright Dike for the equalizer a minute before the break and then converted a penalty in the 62nd after being taken down in the box. Scoring - MIN: Ely Allen (Andrei Gotsmanov) 24; POR: Bright Dike (Ryan Pore) 44; POR: Ryan Pore (penalty) 62; MIN: Simone Bracalello (Andrei Gotsmanov) 73