Players from Pachuca (pictured) celebrate after scoring against Santos in their Liga MX semifinal, second leg match on May 10, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
Defending champion Leon and Pachuca will meet in the Liga MX final, Cruz Azul will return to the CONCACAF Champions League and defending Major League Soccer champion Sporting Kansas City picked up a win.
CONCACAF.com recaps the weekend’s domestic action from Liga MX and MLS.
(2014-15 CCL qualifiers in BOLD)
Pachuca prevailed over Santos on the away-goals rule after their semifinal series ended level at 4-4 to clinch places in both the Clausura final and the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
After losing Wednesday’s first leg 2-0 on the road, Santos jumped out to a 1-0 lead at home on Saturday. Rafael Figueroa struck first in the 10th minute for the host, which was reduced to 10 players following the dismissal of goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez just 10 minutes later. Pachuca took advantage of its extra man, going ahead 2-1 before the half as Enner Valencia (27’) and Dieter Villalpando (45+3’) got on the scoresheet.
In the 64th minute, the Tuzos’ Walter Ayovi was ejected, setting the stage for a furious Santos rally. Goals by Juan Pablo Rodriguez (68’), Javier Orozco (77’) and Rafael Figueroa (90+3’) saw Santos tie the game, but Pachuca held on to reach its eighth Mexican league final.
Leon, which entered the Clausura playoffs as the eighth and last seed, will contest its second straight Liga MX final after beating Toluca 2-0 on aggregate in the other semifinal series.
On Thursday, Luis Montes (24’) scored the opener’s lone goal at home. Three days later, in the second leg, Carlos Peña (51’) confirmed the Esmeraldas’ berth with a full-volley strike.
Since Leon had previously secured its place in the 2014-15 CCL as the 2013 Apertura champion, an extra slot was opened for the team accruing the most regular-season points of the 2014 Clausura non-finalists. Cruz Azul secured that spot by virtue of finishing first with 36 points. La Maquina is the competition's defending champion, overcoming Toluca last month on the away-goals rule to capture a record sixth confederation title.
FINAL SCHEDULE (all times local)
Thursday – May 15, 2014
Leon v Pachuca, 8:06 p.m.
Sunday – May 18, 2014
Pachuca v Leon, 8:00 p.m.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
(2014-15 CCL qualifiers in BOLD)
Dom Dwyer scored a brace and Paulo Nagamura added a goal to lift visiting Sporting Kansas City (17 points) to a 3-0 win over 10-man Montreal Impact (6 points) on Saturday. Dwyer put the defending MLS champion in front from the penalty spot in the 18th minute after Collen Warner was sent off for handling the ball on the line. Nagamura doubled SKC’s lead in the 34th minute and Dwyer put the game away with his second 30 minutes later.
Chris Rolfe’s goal in the sixth minute was all D.C. United (14 points) needed to extend the Philadelphia Union’s (8 points) winless streak to nine straight games. It was the veteran’s 50th goal of his MLS career.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (39’, 67’, 78’ pen) netted his second hat-trick of the season, but the New York Red Bulls (14 points) fell to the Chicago Fire (9 points), 5-4, on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
Harrison Shipp (4’, 53’, 58’) scored three goals for the visitors, who went ahead 5-2 after Patrick Nyarko’s 64th minute strike.
New York’s Australia international Tim Cahill had made it 1-1 in sixth minute, while Quincy Amarikwa (49’) also got on the scoresheet for Chicago.
Diego Valeri struck five minutes into second-half stoppage time to secure a share of the points for the Portland Timbers (9 points) in a 1-1 draw with the visiting LA Galaxy (9 points) on Sunday.
Ireland international Robbie Keane gave the Galaxy the lead in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, before Valeri leveled dramatically.
- Javier Morales struck for a hat-trick to lead Real Salt Lake to a 5-2 win over the Houston Dynamo.