04 April, 2012

CCL Semifinals Preview

Wednesday night, the two finalists for the CONCACAF Champions League will be decided. Toronto FC could only manage a draw against Santos Laguna at home last week, with Herculez Gomez continuing his scoring streak in a 1-1 draw. April 4 the two teams will meet in Torreon, Mexico, and Santos Laguna should kick butt, despite missing their other great forward, Colombian Carlos Quintero, who will be suspended because of this red card received after the final whistle in Toronto:

If you missed it, Quintero head-butted TFC defender Ashtone Morgan after the ball was cleared away to earn the ejection. The referee didn't see it but the linesman did. Herculez Gomez claims that Morgan hit Quintero in the face first, but no one except Gomez seems to have seen that. Gomez has promised a "dogfight" in Torreon tonight.

As you can see, the other finalist will most likely be Monterrey, who defeated UNAM Pumas at home 3-0 in the first leg. Last year's superstar of the CCL, Chilean Humberto Suazo, assisted all three goals and was clearly the best player on the field last week. It is unlikely Pumas will be able to make up their 0-3 hole on April 4, so your finalists are almost certainly going to be Santos and Monterrey, which is a rematch of the 2010 Torneo Apertura final, nicknamed "Duelo del Norte" featuring the two northernmost teams in the Mexican League (excluding newcomers Club Tijuana, who joined the Primera the follwing year for the 2011 Apertura.

PS - subscribe to the CONCACAF YouTube Channel if you don't already

02 April, 2012

Mexico Downs 10 Man Honduras in OT

Better get to know this guy. That is Jose Mendoza, Honduras U-23 goalkeeper and absolute stud. Mendoza stopped everything Mexico shot at him for the first 115 minutes of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament final, except one laser beam by Marco Fabian that no one could have stopped. Honduras played the entire extra time period ten against eleven following the ejection of Luis Garrido for a vicious tackle on Marco Fabian (second yellow) and Mendoza was called upon to make about a million saves. But, in the 116th minute, just four minutes away from a penalty shootout, American-Mexican Miguel Ponce of Guadalajara Chivas found himself unmarked on the far left post and volleyed it into the open net. Mexico 2-1 over Honduras.

Honduras seized the lead over Mexico 1-0 in the 48th minute, when Rommel Quioto out-leaped everyone and solidly headed a Honduras corner into the net. But Marco Fabian, also with Guadalajara Chivas, became the tournament's leading goal scorer with his fifth goal in the 74th minute to tie the game and send it to overtime. Marco Fabian moved past the USA's Joe Corona, who had four goals in two fewer games. Marco Fabian scored in both the semifinal and final matches, as did Miguel Ponce.

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