MEXICO - One of the biggest goals of Major League Soccer is to have one of its clubs win the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) and participate for the first time in the FIFA Club World Cup. That goal will have to wait at least one more year; all MLS teams have been eliminated from the competition by Mexican Liga MX clubs.
This year’s CCL quarterfinals saw the three remaining MLS teams matched up against the remaining three Liga MX teams. The American clubs know that if they want to dream of winning the competition they must be able to get through the Mexican sides; as a Mexican club has always won the CCL under its new format. Only once has the final not featured two Mexican clubs against each other.
Tijuana Xolos 4-3 LA Galaxy
Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente were able to turn around a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in LA and beat the LA Galaxy with a 4-3 aggregate score. This one was seen as the most even match up of the three, especially because of the inconsistency that the Xolos have been suffering from in the league. But three goals in less than 30 minutes in the second leg quickly decided this series in favor of Tijuana.
Cruz Azul 5-2 Sporting Kansas City
Cruz Azul also took a 1-0 loss in Kansas City during the first leg. But just like the Xolos, Cruz Azul returned home and overran their MLS opposition. They too like Tijuana scored their first goal in the opening minute of the match to set the tone. By the time the match was over Argentine striker Mariano Pavone had scored a “Hat-Trick” to lead the Liga MX league leaders past the reigning MLS champions.
Toluca (5) 2-2 (4) San Jose Earthquakes
The matchup that seemed to be the most heavily balanced in favor of the Mexican team turned out to be the closest. The first leg match in San Jose, Calif ended in a 1-1 draw. The away goal gave Toluca a big advantage for the returned leg at home. In the decisive match, the visitors came out with a very defensive game plan that frustrated Toluca the majority of the match. SJ Earthquakes were able to get a goal off of a free kick and dropped even further back to defend their lead. Toluca were able to tie the match with a long distance shot from San Jose, Calif native Isaac Brizuela. Toluca could not break through the MLS’ side’s defense and the game would go into the PK shootout where the Mexican side were able to edge out the Americans after six kicks each.
Cruz Azul vs Club Tijuana
Toluca vs Alajualense / Arabe Unido