With a five-goal lead already in their back pocket, Vancouver Whitecaps FC cruised into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, 7-3 on aggregate, despite losing 3-2 to Real CD Espana on Wednesday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
After winning 5-0 at home in the first leg of the clubs’ opening-round matchup last week, the Whitecaps’ focus in the second leg was keeping Espana from getting early momentum. And that’s exactly what Vancouver goalkeeper Thomas Hasal did.
In the fourth minute, Hasal made a diving stop on a Mayron Flores’ header to keep the game scoreless, then did the same to Getsel Montes in the 24th minute. One more big save just before the half kept the game scoreless, and Brian White’s goal for Vancouver in the 66th minute erased any doubt.
That didn’t keep Espana from trying, however, as Montes put away a loose ball in front of the net to even the match one minute later. Eight minutes later, Espana took the lead when substitute Ramiro Rocca converted a corner kick into a goal in the top corner.
That still left Vancouver up four on aggregate, and Simon Becher made it five when he took a pass from Sebastian Berhalter, dribbled past a defender and into the box, then beat Espana goalie Luis Lopez in the 83rd minute to make it 2-2.
Espana offered another quick response, retaking the lead with another Montes goal — also off a corner — in the 86th minute. But by then the overall result was well in hand.
The Whitecaps will next face the winner of the opening-round tilt between reigning MLS Cup champions Los Angeles FC and LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica.
Orlando City 1, Tigres UANL 1
An early goal by Francisco Cordova proved decisive as Tigres UANL played to a draw at Orlando but advanced after a 1-1 aggregate draw thanks to the away-goals tiebreaker.
The teams played to a scoreless draw last week in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico.
In the 20th minute, Cordova chested down a looping cross in the box and calmly slotted home a left-footed shot inside the near post.
Orlando City pulled level on the night when Ercan Kara scored in the 89th minute, and Tigres’ Samir received a second yellow card deep in second-half stoppage time, but the visitors held on to advance to the quarterfinals.
–Field Level Media