By Giovanni Savarese
CONCACAF.com Guest Analyst
The second round of matches in the CONCACAF Champions League again left Major League Soccer’s four teams unable achieve a point.
Three of the four matches were away games, with the exception of the Seattle Sounders, who lost 2-0 to Monterrey at Qwest Field field thanks to goals from Neri Cardozo and Aldo de Nigris. All faced tough opposition.
But following a round, such as the one that just concluded, anyone who simply reviews the results and statistics might be misled. What happened in the games demonstrates the MLS clubs have shown a great amount of growth.
If we take the match between Real Salt Lake and Cruz Azul as an example, we realize the day that an MLS club wins its first match on Mexican soil is not far away.
The players coached by Jason Kreis fought to the final whistle in an attempt to make history, and even led 3-1 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Only an inspired Javier Orozco, who scored four goals to lead an incredible comeback for Cruz Azul, was able to cancel out a great match from Alvaro Saborio. The Mexican club showed a great sense of resilience in a match where rain beat down on the field at Estadio Azul.
The match between Santos and the Columbus Crew was also very hard fought.
The Mexican team was able to beat a hard-working Crew side thanks to a single goal by Ivan Estrada.
The match wound up being controversial due to a disallowed goal by Andy Iro, in which Panamanian referee Luis Rodriguez penalized Venezuelan striker Edgar Renteria for entering the field illegally.
Renteria had provided the cross right after being attended by the team doctor on the sideline.
Toronto looked apathetic against an improved Arabe Unido side that could have won by a wider margin due to the numerous opportunities that it had. In the end Fidel Caesar grabbed the goal that gave three points to the Panamanians.
Other results from this round were the dominant victory of Toluca 4-0 over an Olimpia side that was overwhelmed by the Mexican champion. The result came at a good moment for Toluca, raising the morale of a team that needed such a victory
Saprissa defeated Marathon of Honduras 4-1, rallying after Marathon led on a goal by Mario Berrios. Alejandro Sequeira equalized, and Armando Alonso, Jairo Arrieta and Josue Martinez won it with second-half goals.
Joe Public obtained a miraculous draw as the visiting team in the 93rd minute when Municipal thought that it had already locked up the three points thanks to a goal scored by Mario Rodriguez.
The team that continues to surprise is the Puerto Rico Islanders, who defeated FAS 4-1. Nicholas Addlery once again got on the board for the Islanders.
For the upcoming round of the CONCACAF Champions League , the MLS teams will be obligated to get positive results. However, the two games to watch appear to be Toluca against the Puerto Rico Islanders and Arabe Unido and Cruz Azul.