2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League gets underway
The 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League kicked off Tuesday as two-time defending champion Monterrey opened with a 5-0 home victory over Chorrillo FC (Panama). Angel Reyna (45', 78', 88') became the second-ever player from Monterrey to score three goals in a CCL game (Dario Carreno accomplished the feat first in a 5-0 win over Herediano on Aug. 17, 2011).
Later that night, host Herediano (Costa Rica) knocked off 2010-11 runner-up Real Salt Lake (USA) 1-0 on a goal by Elías Aguilar (14') in a game played at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose.
On Wednesday, Toronto FC (Canada) started its campaign with a 5-1 home win over Aguila (El Salvador). Bermuda-international Reggie Lambe (17', 48') scored twice to lead the way for the Reds, which have scored two or more goals in five of their last six CCL outings.
Tigres (Mexico) made its tournament debut a winning one at home, defeating Real Esteli (Nicaragua) 4-0. Edno (35'), Fernando Navarro (40'), Taufic Guarch (80') and José Rivas (90') scored for Monterrey-based club.
Nicolas Munoz (51', 59', 88') scored three goals as Isidro Metapan (El Salvador) upended the visiting Puerto Rico Islanders 3-1 in a rematch of last year's Preliminary Round series.
The first week closed on Thursday with three matches, including a thrilling 2-2 stalemate between DirecTV W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago) and Xelajú (Guatemala) in Marabella, Trinidad & Tobago. The host took a 2-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Hachem Arcia (23') and Rennie Brito (33'). Two late strikes from Edgar Chinchilla (73', 88'), however, leveled the score and gave the 2012 Guatemalan Clausura champion its second draw in three all-time CCL games.
Olimpia (Honduras) defeated FAS (El Salvador) 3-0 in a rain-soaked match that featured goals from Luciano Emilio (2'), Jose Carlos Garcia (17') and Roger Rojas (75'). It was Emilio's 4th career CCL tally, but his first for the Lions after netting three with D.C. United (USA). T
he Seattle Sounders, making a third-consecutive CCL appearance, posted a 3-1 win over Caledonia AIA (Trinidad & Tobago). Sammy Ochoa (19'), Fredy Montero (30') and Andy Rose (43') scored the goals for the 2011 U.S. Open Cup champion. Kareem Joseph (50') grabbed a consolation goal for the Caribbean champion.
The second week of the Champions League will begin August 21. For a full schedule, please click here.
U.S. women defeat Canada in thriller to reach gold-medal match; Canada goes for third
The United States advanced to the Women's Olympic Football Tournament final against Japan, outlasting Canada 4-3 after extra time in a breathtaking semifinal encounter at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Alex Morgan (123') scored the winning goal in added time of extra time with a remarkable header off a cross from Heather O'Reilly.
The Americans had not led until the final seconds, but still managed to maintain their record of reaching every Olympic final since the women's competition started in 1996. Christine Sinclair (22', 67', 73') netted a hat-trick, taking her tally at London 2012 to six goals and putting Canada ahead on three separate occasions, only for Megan Rapinoe (54', 70'), twice, and Abby Wambach (80' pen) to equalize and keep USA hopes alive. T
he Americans will now face reigning world champions Japan, who beat USA to win the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2011, in the gold medal match at Wembley on Thursday, while Canada have the chance to earn a bronze medal against the other beaten semi-finalists, France, in Coventry earlier that day. W
ith the U.S. women and Mexican men guaranteed a medal and Canada in contention, CONCACAF is the only confederation that can win three medals and both gold medals.
Mexico reaches Olympic final
Mexico will face Brazil in Saturday's Men's Olympic final after rallying from a one-goal deficit to defeat Japan 3-1 Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London. It will be the first Olympic final for the Mexicans.
Yuki Otsu (12') put the Japanese ahead with his third goal of the competition, but tallies from Marco Fabian (31'), Oribe Peralta (65') and substitute Javier Cortes (90'+3) gave Mexico an opportunity to win its first-ever gold medal on Saturday against either Brazil or Korea Republic
Mexico had advanced the semifinals with a 4-2 extra-time win over Senegal on Saturday in London's Wembley Stadium. Jorge Enriquez (10') and Javier Aquino (62') gave the CONCACAF champion a 2-0 lead, before Senegal tied the match late in the second half. Giovani Dos Santos (98') and Hector Herrera (109') put the match out of reach for Mexico in the first extra-time period.
Nine-man Honduras pushed Brazil to the limit on Saturday, but lost 3-2 in a tense quarterfinal meeting that saw the Catrachos take the lead twice. Mario Martinez (12') and Roger Espinoza (48') scored for the Central American side, but a Leandro Damiao (38', 60') brace and Neymar (51') penalty saw the Brazilians through to the semifinals. A
fter defeating South Korea 3-0 in today's other semifinal, Brazil will continue to look for its first Olympic gold medal, the only major international soccer competition that it has not won.
CONCACAF and UNCAF to hold INTERPOL-FIFA Integrity in Sport Workshop in Guatemala
CONCACAF and the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) will co-host an INTERPOL-FIFA Integrity in Sport workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The purpose of the gathering is to raise awareness regarding the issues and threats posed to football by match fixing, to examine best practices and to identify areas for development.
The presidents, general secretaries and other representatives from each of the seven football federations that comprise the Central American region (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama), as well as Mexico, have been invited to attend. General Secretary Enrique Sanz and Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard will represent CONCACAF at the event. UNCAF will be represented by Rafael Tinoco and Mario Monterrosa, its president and general secretary, respectively.
"Match fixing in football must be tackled in the strongest possible way and CONCACAF is taking a proactive approach on this subject," said Sanz. "The confederation, under the leadership of President Jeffrey Webb, has declared that football's integrity is paramount and that means we must take all the steps necessary to safeguard our sport. With INTERPOL's guidance, we are sending a clear message that the game, itself, is of the highest importance."
UNCAF announces U-20 suspensions
UNCAF suspended 18 different players from Guatemala and Panama a total of 94 games on Thursday for their part in a post-match brawl after Panama's 1-0 victory Sunday that earned it a place in the 2013 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
Three players from Guatemala: Alvaro Tuna, Junior Andrade and Albert Barrientos received 12-game suspensions.
Seven Panamanian players: Jairo Jimenez, Joseph Vargas, Richard Peralta, Rigoberto Esquivel, Miguel Camargo, Luis Fraiz and Jorman Aguilar were handed six-game suspensions. Jose Pinto of Guatemala also was suspended six games.
Lighter penalties of two games each were issued to Mynor Padilla and Franklin Garcia of Guatemala, along with Abdiel Arroyode of Panama.
Single-game bans were issued to Jose Abreu of Guatemala, and Alfredo Stephens, Pedro Jeanine and Amet Ramirez of Panama.
The game was the third and final match of Central American qualifying Group 2 that also included El Salvador. All three teams finished with three points, and identical goal differences of zero, but El Salvador and Panama qualified for the CONCACAF finals in Puebla, Mexico, February 18-March 2 based on goal scored.
Barbados qualifies to the U-17 finals
Barbados claimed the last Caribbean berth in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, clinching the spot Thursday with a 3-1 victory over host St. Kitts & Nevis.
Shaquille Boyce scored all three goals to give Barbados its second win in three days, finishing atop Group 5 to join fellow group winners Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago in next year's 12-team CONCACAF Championship finals in April 6-19 in Panama.
St. Kitts finished in second place in Group 5 with three points, ahead of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which lost both of its games in the three-team group.
The five Caribbean qualifiers join host Panama and automatic North American qualifiers Canada, Mexico and the United States in the finals, leaving only three Central American berths undecided.
Barbados also beat the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, getting a pair of second-half goals from Shakille Belle in a 4-1 victory.