The first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals is over and the LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo, and Seattle Sounders are all still in good positions to move on in the competition. The Galaxy played Herediano to a scoreless draw and will head back to the Home Depot/StubHub Center for the return leg. The Houston Dynamo got an 89th minute goal from Brad Davis to take the 1-0 lead into Mexico for the second leg against Santos Laguna. Seattle will have a chance to play to their home field advantage down one goal against Mexica Clausura leader Tigres. The teams will be given this weekend off from league play to rest and focus on the task at hand.
Houston started the week by pressing well against Santos Laguna. They had multiple opportunities in their home stadium for a break through with Santos unable to connect on that one final pass. The Santos backline was able to withstand most of the pressure although Corey Ashe was incessant along the left sideline for most of the match. Davis entered the match as a second half substitute and teamed up with Ashe before cutting the ball back across along the ground and in the net. The win ran the Dynamo home unbeaten streak to 32 across all competitions. The return leg in Mexico will be March 13th. If Houston can managed an away goal in the first half they will tip the scales in their favor.
Herculez Gomez played well for Santos but the attack was unable to find the net. Tally Hall almost gifted a few with horrible clearances, but the best attempts all night were right to the stomach of the Houston keeper. Led by Felipe Baloy, the Santos defense should come out physical next week in looking for the early goal.
Mar 6, 2013; Monterrey, MEXICO; Tigres UANL goalie Enrique Palos (left) makes a save against Seattle Sounders player Eddie Johnson during the match at Estadio Universitario. Mandatory Credit: Miguel Sierra/EFE via USA TODAY Sports
Seattle entered the match against Tigres as an underdog to the Liga MX leaders and Jose Torres. The Sounders will take the 1-0 loss having been outshot 18-3 and on the short side of possession all night. Michael Gspurning made six saves on the night. Zach Scott was a bit of a liability and was the Sounders defender that kept the goal scoring play onside. The Sounders forwards Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle and Mauro Rosales were frustrated as they often had to try to beat the Tigres defense 1-on-1 or 1-on-2. The return leg in Seattle will be March 12th. The Sounders still have an uphill battle.
The Galaxy played Herediano to a 0-0 draw despite atrocious officiating and a penalty opportunity for the Costa Rican team. Both teams hit the crossbar, which was the fate of the spot kick from Ismael Gomez after flailing to draw a penalty from Sean Franklin. The match was also played on an extremely hard artificial surface that took some getting used to for the Galaxy. Mike Magee scored but was called for offside that was clearly a bad call. The second leg is the 13th with the Galaxy in the driver seat and a potential semifinal match with defending champion Monterrey.