Recent Mexican champ Tigres UANL Seattle’s quarterfinal foe
By Michael Ligot
Instead of going to Texas for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, the Seattle Sounders FC will cross the Rio Grande to earn their stripes against Tigres UANL.
The third-ranked Sounders landed the matchup when fellow MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy scored a hard-earned 3-2 victory at Metapán of El Salvador. Los Angeles’s win vaulted them to fourth place on the CCL seeding list with 10 points. That pushed Tigres (eight points) down a slot to sixth, making them Seattle’s opponent instead of the MLS Houston Dynamo, who also had eight points but a worse goal differential than the Nueva León team.
Joining Tigres (2011 Mexican Apertura champion) and the MLS trio in the quarterfinal round in March are Mexican teams Santos Laguna and defending CCL champions Monterrey, Costa Rica’s Herediano, and Guatemala’s Xelajú, surprising victors of a Group 8 that included Mexican powerhouse Chivas of Guadalajara.
Little-used Jack McBean twice gave the lead to the reserve-heavy Galaxy, which had already clinched Group 5 but were playing for seeding. Twice, however, Metapán erased those leads through Paolo Suárez and Nicolas Muñoz. Michael Francis, another benchwarmer, delivered the full points for Los Angeles 11 minutes from time, when he knocked in a rebound off a cross from ex-Sounder Pat Noonan.
In the last game of the round, Chivas beat Xelajú 2-1, and both finished Group 8 with seven points. But while Chivas had a better goal differential (+4 to +1), the CCL uses head-to-head results as a tie-breaker, and the Guatemalans earned the nod through away goals (1-0).
As only the eight group winners advanced, you can imagine the devastation in Guadalajara when Allan Alemán notched the game’s final goal with 11 minutes left off a Goats defensive lapse.
The first legs of the quarterfinal round will take place March 5-7, with the return legs the next week, March 9-11. Also in two legs, the semifinal round occurs April 2-4 and 9-11, while the championship series is set for April 24 and May 1.
Match-ups for the quarterfinals:
1. Monterey v. 8. Xelajú
4. Los Angeles v. 5 Herediano
2. Santos Laguna v. 7. Houston
3. Seattle v. 6. Tigres
As the CCL uses a bracket for the semifinal match-ups instead of re-seeding, the Monterey-Xelaju winner will face the LA-Herediano winner, while the Santos-Houston winner faces the Seattle-Tigres winner.
|Updated Combined CCL Standings|
* Xelaju top Guadalajara based on their head-to-head record within their Group
Guadalajara 2 : 1 Xelaju (Thu)
Isidro Metapan 2 : 3 LA Galaxy (Thu)