Mexican, Central American teams close on 2012-2013 berths
With the four U.S. berths already decided, the Mexican and Central American leagues moved closer to determining their first qualifiers for next year's CONCACAF Champions League field. Panama will be the first to decide a qualifier on Friday when it stages its one-game title match for the Apertura crown.
Tigres will face Queretaro, and Santos will meet Morelia in the semifinals of the Apertura playoffs. Queretaro eliminated regular-season winner Chivas, holding Guadalajara to a 0-0 draw Saturday for a 2-1 aggregate victory. Also Saturday, Morelia beat Cruz Azul 2-1 for the second time in a week to complete its win. On Sunday, Tigres defeated Pachuca 3-0 to finish a 4-0 victory, while Santos beat Jaguares 2-1 to win 4-3 on aggregate. Morelia and Santos will face off Wednesday and Saturday while Tigres and Queretaro will play Thursday and Sunday. The winners will advance to the finals and secure a spot in the Champions League.
Chorrillo will play Plaza Amador on Friday for the Apertura crown and a berth in the Preliminary Round of the Champions League. Chorrillo needed extra time to advance past San Francisco. Chorrillo won the first leg 2-0 on November 18 and trailed 2-0 Friday in its home leg after 90 minutes. Luis Ovalle scored with a minute remaining in extra time to send Chorrillo to the final. Plaza Amador completed a 5-3 aggregate victory with a 2-1 win over Sporting San Miguelito on Friday. Jair Carrasquilla scored in both legs.
It will be Municipal vs. Marquense, and Heredia vs. Comunicaciones when the quarterfinals of Torneo Apertura beginning Wednesday. Regular-season champion Suchitepequez and runner-up Xelaju will receive byes into the semifinals where they will await the quarterfinal survivors. The playoff champion will qualify for the Champions League.
Herediano defeated Cartagines 4-0 on Sunday, and Alajuelense beat Saprissa 1-0 in the first legs of their respective Invierno semifinal series on Sunday. The return legs will be played this coming Sunday. The Invierno champion will be assured of a berth in the Champions League Preliminary Round.
Isidro Metapan beat Juventud Independiente 4-1 on Sunday to finish atop the Apertura regular-season table, and lead FAS and Once Municipal into the semifinals of the Salvadoran playoffs. The remaining semifinal berth will be decided Wednesday in a one-game playoff between Aguila and Firpo, who finished tied for fourth with 29 points each. The Apertura champion will qualify for the Champions League Preliminary Round.
Vida will face Real Espana to open the Apertura semifinals on Wednesday, with Olimpia to play Marathon on Thursday. Vida and Real Espana will meet again on Saturday, while Olimpia and Marathon will decide their series on Sunday. The playoff winner will qualify for the Champions League.
Cuba, Trinidad fill out eight-team qualifying finals
Cuba and Trinidad & Tobago advanced Monday to the CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying finals, completing the eight-team field. Cuba drew 1-1 with host St. Kitts & Nevis to finish atop the Caribbean's final four-team round of qualifying in Basseterre with five points.
Trinidad routed Suriname 9-1 in the first game of the night, climbing to four points and edging St. Kitts on goal difference (plus 5 to plus 2).
The Caribbean sides join automatic qualifiers United States, Mexico and Canada and Central American sides Panama, El Salvador and defending champion Honduras.
Panama to face Costa Rica for U-17 women's berth
Marta Cox scored her third goal in two games to lead Panama to a 2-1 win over Nicaragua on Sunday and sent her country into a two-leg playoff for a berth in the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship.
The result in Managua, Nicaragua, completed an 8-1 aggregate victory after Cox scored the eventual winner in the 71st minute to give Panama a 2-0 lead.
Panama will face Costa Rica on December 7 and December 11 to claim Central America's second berth along with host Guatemala in the May 2-13 tournament.
The first leg is set for Panama with the second in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica reached the playoff by holding El Salvador to a 0-0 draw on Saturday in San Salvador for a 2-0 aggregate victory. Karolina Duran scored once in each half on Wednesday to lead Costa Rica to a 2-0 victory in Heredia, Costa Rica. Three Caribbean berths to be decided this week
The final three berths for the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship will be decided this week in Jamaica as four teams vie for the remaining spots.
Jamaica will host Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas beginning Tuesday at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex in Arnett followed by matches on Thursday and Saturday.
The top three sides will join host Guatemala, Canada, Mexico, the United States and either Costa Rica or Panama in Guatemala City for the finals May 2-13.