BAYAMON, Puerto Rico -David Horst scored two second-half goals – the winner in injury time – to rally Puerto Rico to a 3-2 victory over Toluca on Wednesday and boost its chances of reaching the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Horst’s goals, both headers from corner kicks, gave Puerto Rico eight points and moved it one point past Toluca and Olimpia atop Group D. Two teams from each of four groups advance to the knockout stage. Olimpia was to play last-placed FAS on Thursday in their fifth-round match.
Puerto Rico fell behind 2-0 on a pair of goals by Hector Mancilla in the first 23 minutes and then had to rally.
David Foley, who has eight goals in 26 games in USSF D2 league play this season, pulled Puerto Rico within 2-1 in the 54th with his fourth goal in the Champions League in the 54th. He lifted a ball inside the area and struck it with his right foot from 10 meters to beat Toluca keeper Alfredo Talavera.
Horst added a header from Josh Hansen’s corner kick from the right side in the 70th, setting off a scramble by both teams over the final 20 minutes.
Twenty-one seconds into injury time, another Hansen corner – this time from the left – was met by Horst crashing through the area.
Puerto Rico will travel to Honduras to play Olimpia on October 20 in its last match while Toluca will be at home against FAS the same night.
Puerto Rico was the more aggressive from the start with Kendall Jagdeosingh spinning to put a shot that Talevara failed to field cleanly and created some nervous moments for the Mexican side until he was able to control it.
But Mancilla gave Toluca the lead in the 10th minute, running diagonally onto a low rolling ball from Antonio «Zinha» Naelson and striking it two steps inside the penalty area to beat goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
Gaudette blocked a header with his feet over the bar from an unmarked Mancilla in the 23rd, but the Chilean got his revenge less than 45 seconds later, jumping on a rebound while Gaudette lay on the ground.
A corner kick was sent outside the penalty area by Zinha to Diego Novaretti, whose pivoting shot skipped and forced Gaudette to push onto the right post. But the ball bounded to Mancilla standing only meters away and he easily converted with a tap in.
The goals were Mancilla’s second and third in the Champions League and gave him seven in all competitions this season.
Toluca manager Jose Manuel De La Torre made only two changes to his starting lineup from Sunday’s 2-1 victory Morelia, while Puerto Rico, playing its eighth game in 25 days, had to do without injured second-leading scorer Nicholas Addlery and suspended Noah Delgado, ejected from last week’s game against FAS.
Both teams had to negotiate a field at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel that was worn in several places, with brown patches of dirt scattered throughout the pitch.
The victory was only the Islanders’ second in their past nine matches in all competitions while Toluca lost for only the second time in its last 13.