Major League Soccer’s long and painful wait for a Concacaf Champions League title will have to wait another year after the Philadelphia Union’s bid to win the competition was put to an end by Mexican powerhouse Club America.
A pair of late goals were enough to eliminate the Union from the semifinal series, securing Club America’s place in the final, and extending the MLS Concacaf club title drought to 21, including all 13 editions of the current Concacaf Champions League format.
Faced with the daunting task of trying to overturn the 2-0 first-leg defeat suffered at Estadio Azteca, the Union stood toe-to-toe with Club America for 70 minutes, unable to break through for a goal to threaten the series before the visitors silenced the crowd at Subaru Park with Nicolas Benedetti goal in the 79th minute that effectively ended the Union’s hopes.
The Union did have their chance to make things interesting in the 51st minute after Kacper Przybylko drew a penalty kick, but Guillermo Ochoa denied Jamiro Monteiro’s ensuing penalty kick to keep the series aggregate score at 2-0 to Club America.
That was as close as the Union came before Benedettti’s dagger in the 79th minute left Jim Curtin’s men needing four goals to turn things around. By the time Henry Martin converted a late goal to make the score 2-0, the outcome of the series had already been decided.
Club America will now move on to the Concacaf Champions League final, and will face the winner of the Monterrey-Cruz Azul semifinal, which will be decided on Thursday. Monterrey holds a 1-0 aggregate lead heading to the second leg in Mexico City.
Club America will be searching to extend its own record for most Concacaf club titles by adding an eighth trophy, and first since winning the 2015-2016 Concacaf Champions League final.
As for MLS, the league will have to go back to the drawing board as it continues its quest to capture its first title of the Concacaf Champions League era, and first Concacaf club title since the LA Galaxy won the Concacaf Champions Cup in 2000.
What did you think of the Union’s performance on Wednesday? Do you see any current MLS teams being able to end the Liga MX dominance in the Concacaf Champions League?
Share your thoughts below.