MIAMI, Florida – Verdes FC have made history by becoming the first club from Belize to win a series in the Scotiabank Concacaf League after earning a 2-2 draw with Platense of El Salvador in the second leg of their 2022 SCL Preliminary Round series on Wednesday night at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador.
The result made for a 2-2 draw on aggregate, with Verdes advancing via the away goal tiebreaker to face Alianza of El Salvador in the Round of 16.
Verdes kept their cool after an early Platense charge and found the Platense defense out of sorts on a counterattack, allowing Edwin Villeda Bernal to play a ball across to Luis Ibarra, whose finish gave Verdes a 1-0 lead in the 19’.
Platense went right to work to find an equalizer, but once again Verdes landed a big blow via the counterattack and doubled their lead to 2-0 in the 38’. This time Villeda Bernal played the role of goalscorer by galloping through the Platense defense and using the outside of his right boot to beat Platense GK Jose Gonzalez.
Platense had no choice but to commit numbers forward in the second half, and after missing a header in the opening minutes, Jhon Machado was left unmarked and smacked home a header off a corner kick in the 61’ to cut the gap to 2-1.
The Platense goal opened up things at both ends, with Platense pushing hard for a second, but also leaving themselves vulnerable to another Verdes counterattack. Machado came within a whisker of finding a second score via another header in the 75’, only to be denied by the crossbar.
A second goal for Platense would come, though, on a Verdes handball in the area in the 83’, resulting in a penalty. A minute later the score was tied 2-2, as Jaime Ortiz’s penalty rolled off the fingertips of West and into net.
The penalty conversion set up a grandstand finish, with Platense needing one more goal in the final minutes to advance, but the Verdes defense held on until the final whistle to record the history-making result.