Raul Nava, the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League top scorer with six goals, strikes from the penalty spot in Toluca's 3-0 Liga MX win over Puebla on March 7, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
Just days after Major League Soccer opened the 2014 season, the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) resumes this week with the start of the knockout stages. CONCACAF.com takes a look at how the six North American quarterfinalists fared this past weekend, plus other news and notes from around the continent.
League-leading Cruz Azul (25 points) suffered its first defeat of the season, falling to 10-man Tigres (11 points), 3-0, on Saturday night. Brazilian Juninho scored from the penalty spot to give the host an eighth-minute lead, while Alan Pulido doubled the advantage 20 minutes later. United States international Jose Francisco Torres completed the scoreline seven minutes from full time.
Club Tijuana (14 points) snapped a three-game winless streak with a 2-0 win over visiting Guadalajara, which played the last 11 minutes with only 10 players after Nestor Vidrio’s ejection for a second bookable offense. Dario Benedetto (23’) and Jaime Ayovi (73’) scored in each half to spark the Xolos.
On Friday, second-place Toluca (22 points) bounced back from a loss to Cruz Azul with a 3-0 triumph over Puebla. Wilson Tiago Mathias (27’), Raul Nava (55’ pen) and Carlos Esquivel (77’) were on target in a winning effort. The Red Devils are unbeaten at home in the Clausura (4 wins, 1 draw), posting four consecutive shutouts at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. Nava is the 2013-14 CCL’s top scorer with six goals.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Sporting Kansas City opened its season with a 1-0 loss at the Seattle Sounders on Saturday before 39,240 fans at CenturyLink Field. Chad Barrett, who has three career CCL goals, scored the game-winner four minutes into second-half stoppage time on an assist from United States international Clint Dempsey.
Joao Plata struck in the 80th minute to lift visiting Real Salt Lake to a 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Saturday night.
The San Jose Earthquakes were idle.