Sporting held to a draw and Earthquakes defeat Impact in CCL Action
Sporting Kansas City 1 Real Esteli 1 – 17 September
The hosts saw their perfect record go after being held to draw by their Nicaraguan visitors in Group 2 of the CONCACAF Champions League. Having defeated them away 2-0 in their opening fixture it was seen as a formality that a win would be achieved on home territory against a team that had never won a CCL encounter.
Real took the lead 9 minutes into the second stanza when Rudel Calero scored their first goal in this years competition. Samuel Wilson, who’s previous shot had being punched over the bar by Sporting goal-keeper Eric Kronberg took the resulting corner kick and Calero climbed highest to head home as Sporting conceded their first goal in this years tournament.
Despite constant pressure from the home side and delaying tactics from the away team KC finally equalised 12 minutes from time when substitute Jacob Peterson who had replaced Soony Saad only 4 minutes earlier found the net.
Graham Zusi swung in a low corner kick and Peterson’s shot when through the legs of keeper Justo Lorente to spare the hosts blushes. Sporting almost grabbed a winner in stoppage time after a weak Lorente punch fell to Peterson again, but this time he shot wide and the visitors held out for a draw.
That leaves Sporting still topping the Group four points clear of Olimpia who have a game in hand so they know when those two sides meet the MLS outfit will just need a draw to qualify for the Quarter Finals and they do have home advantage as well.
San Jose Earthquakes 3 Montreal Impact 0
The hosts claimed their first Group 5 victory as they avenged their opening game lost by a single goal when the two sides met in Canada. Chris Wondolowski set the home side on their way as he scored after 21 minutes.
Steven Lenhart flicked a ball on from a throw-in by Dan Gargan and Wondolowski got in ahead of Impact defender Hassoun Camara to find the target to register the Earthquakes first CCL goal this term.
12 minutes after the interval and San Jose had doubled their lead. Marvin Chavez took a advantage of a poor clearance for Montreal’s keeper Evan Bush and hit a shot from just outside the penalty area that found the mark.
The points were secured 6 minutes from time when Shea Salinas a 74th minute substitute for Chavez found the onion bag.
After another weak clearance by Bush the ball fell to Salinas and after going round Jeb Brovsky he slid the ball under Bush to complete the rout. The win moves San Jose above Montreal into second place three points behind leaders Heredia who still have a game in hand and a point from their game next week in Canada would see them win the group and seal a Quarter Finals spot.
A win for Montreal draws them level with their Guatemalan visitors and a win for San Jose when they face the current leaders would leave all sides on six points so out would come the slide-rules and calculators to decided who advances.