Two of three Liga MX clubs claim wins in first leg of CCL quarterfinals

Motagua goalie Marlon Licona parries aside a shot during Wednesday's Concachampions match between the Honduran club and Tigres. The Liga MX team escaped with a 1-0 road win. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images)
Motagua goalie Marlon Licona parries aside a shot during Wednesday's Concachampions match between the Honduran club and Tigres. The Liga MX team escaped with a 1-0 road win. (Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images) /
Concacaf Liga MX quarters
Atlas defender Anderson Santamaría (center) tumbles over Philadelphia Union forward Daniel Gazdag during Tuesday’s Concacaf Champions League match. Santamaría was shown a red card and the Zorros of Liga MX came up on the short end of a 1-0 score. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Two of three Liga MX clubs win in Concachampions

The first leg of the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals is in the books and the three Liga MX clubs earned passing grades … but just barely.

On Tuesday Atlas conceded a late penalty and lost 1-0 to Philadelphia Union. The Zorros spent the final 50 minutes of the match playing with 10 men, so Benjamín Mora & Co might feel satisfied that they escaped with minimal damage.

Atlas enjoyed the better chances in the first half (Julián Quiñones was denied twice and Jonathan Herrera flubbed a glorious opportunity) until defender Anderson SantaMaría recklessly knocked down Daniel Gazdag at the edge of the penalty area to earn a red card in minute 45+4.

The Union dominated the second half, forcing Atlas keeper Camilo Vargas to make several acrobatic saves, but the Colombian keeper was too aggressive in minute 86, crashing into Gazdag inside the box. Gazdag converted the spot kick himself for the 1-0 win.

Philadelphia will travel to Estadio Jalisco for the rematch on April 12 and the Liga MX side will have to win (by 2 goals if the Union finds the net) to advance to the semifinals.

The Zorros will be hoping for a repeat of its Round of 16 series against Olimpia of Honduras. Atlas overturned a 4-1 first-leg deficit with a convincing 4-0 win at home.

Atlas plays at FC Juárez in a Liga MX regular-season match on Sunday while Philly travels to face Cincinnati on Saturday.

León responds after mini-scare

Also Tuesday, León hosted heavy underdog Violette AC (Haiti) and it was obvious the Esmeraldas thought it would be a walk in the park.

Careless passing ruined promising offensive moves and lax defending allowed The Old Tiger to generate a few dangerous counterattacks.

Even after the Liga MX representative found itself ahead thanks to an early Angel Mena goal, the listless play continued.

“La Fiera” came out in the second half with the same indifferent attitude and it almost cost them. Violette’s Roberto Louima nodded home from close range but the Haitian club’s celebration was short-lived as VAR determined that Louima was offside.

The scare seemed to ignite a fire under the Esmeraldas (third place in the Liga MX table) and León scored four more times to secure a very comfortable 5-0 advantage heading into the second leg on April 11.

Tigres sleep-walk through 90 minutes

San Pedro Sula was the site of the Motagua-Tigres match on Wednesday night and the humid lowlands helped turn the game into a lethargic affair.

The conditions likely contributed to the sluggish performance  by the Liga MX giants but there also appeared to be a hint of overconfidence. An objective evaluation might give only left back Jesús Angulo a passing grade (Motagua only managed one shot on goal – a soft roller – so goalie Nahuel Guzmán gets an N/A).

As for the Tigres, “los regiomontanos” got off 7 shots but Marlon Licona was up to the task. The Motagua goalie played a strong game, racing off his line to scoop up long balls and very effective in controlling crosses. Well, all but one that is.

In minute 44, Licona leaped for a Nico López corner kick but only managed to deflect it. Unfortunately, it came down right at the feet of Luis Quiñones and he buried a right-footed volley for the only goal of the match.

The two teams square off on April 12 at the home of “los felinos” of Liga MX – the notorious “El Volcán” – so the Tigres will be favored to advance.

Carlos Vela and LAFC rout MLS rivals

Reigning MLS champions LAFC made quick work of Vancouver Whitecaps, scoring three times in 10 minutes early in the second half to claim a 3-0 win on the road. Vela assisted on the first of Denis Bouanga’s goals in minute 55 before Bouanga fed Kwadwo Opoku for the second (61’). Bouanga completed the scoring in minute 65.

Next. Mohamed joins Pumas; Juárez fires Cristante. dark

The two MLS rivals square off in Los Angeles for the second leg on April 11.