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CCL Rewind: Club America eliminates Timbers in quarterfinals

The Portland Timbers saw their Concacaf Champions League run end at Estadio Azteca on Wednesday night, after a 3-1 loss to Club America.

A Diego Valeri penalty kick in the 65th minute made the score 2-1, and gave the Timbers hope of snatching a surprise series win on away goals, but that hope lasted just five minutes before a Leo Suarez finish in the 70th minute effectively put the series out of reach.

Club America seized early control on the night when Federico Vinas headed home a 21st minute goal, elevating to meet a cross from Mauro Lainez after out-jumping the Timbers defense.

The Timbers were still just one goal away from tying the overall series, but Club America pulled ahead on a Vinas penalty kick following a questionable penalty call issued in the 55th minute. Timbers fullback Claudio Bravo was whistled for a foul on Suarez, though replays appeared to show minimal contact. A VAR review of the call upheld the initial decision, leading to Vinas converting the penalty for his second goal of the night.

Valeri’s subsequent penalty kick, which came on a soft call for a foul against Timbers striker Felipe Mora, gave the visitors some hope in Mexico City, but that hope didn’t last very long.

Suarez ended Portland’s hopes in the 70th minute when he dribbled free at the top of the penalty arc and unleashed a left-footed shot that took a deflection before beating Jeff Attinella to the far post, making the score 3-1 on the night, and 5-3 on the series for Club America, which has advanced to the semifinals, where Las Aguilas will face off against the Philadelphia Union.

The CCL final four is set, with three Mexican clubs (Club America, Monterrey and Cruz Azul) and the Philadelphia Union as the lone remaining MLS participant.

The CCL semifinals will begin in late summer, with the first legs set for August, and second legs to be played in September.


  1. This years CCL confirms that the 2018 edition was the best! When MLS teams aren’t competitive vs MX, makes for a boring tournament. The Union’ have to beat 2 out of 3! The opponents: God, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit of Liga MX, good luck!

    • I’d say last year’s bubble was the best since MLS has a better chance in one offs on a neutral field. Philly does now get the advantage that for semis LigaMx will have just started season and Philly will be in full form.

  2. Stu Holden kept saying in the first half that Portland needed to press players sooner in the final third and then the first goal came on a good header where the nearest defender to the player making the cross was about 5 feet away. In both games Portland didn’t really show up until the second half. I think America is beatable , so Philly has a decent chance to advance to the final.

  3. and i should have added that of all the teams, I expected portland to overcome america because saverese is somewhat aware of the tactical nature of these games but i think i gave him way too much credit….

  4. I agree that the talent gap is narrowing but these quarter final games have shown the mls coaches are not prepared on how to coach in these types of tournaments. There is a tactical way to approach each the two game series…and it may require playing a different style (or hybrid of the usual style) particularly when the team is not in good enough shape to play a run-and-gun/press style….also on several occasions all the teams showed a lack of situational knowledge, that also comes down to coaching….in the early years of mls, the talent gap was obvious but now its the difference in coaching….these mexican teams go to club world cup and do not dominate, they still can’t hang with the south american and euro teams but their better coaches keep them in the game….

  5. Part of me These Mexican teams are very good, obviously and the MLS teams are very close. I realize it ended up being 3-1 final and winnning in Azteca would always be very tough, but watching the game the Timbers had chances down 1 goal, with advancing on the tie.
    Part of me, seems like it has been that way for a while now.
    Either way, I dont want Portland to win CCL, so what do I care if it is America or Cruz Azul….just enjoy the soccer.

    • If by very close you mean losing the quarterfinals 13-5. I’m not saying liga mx is lightyears better but if it was really as close as you say an MLS team would have won it by now. Instead most finals are all liga mx finals.


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