Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League between host Arabe Unido and FC Dallas (blue jersey) on March 1, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. (Photo: Mexsport)
PANAMA CITY, Panama -- FC Dallas is into its first ever Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League semifinal despite losing the second leg of their quarterfinal to host Arabe Unido, 2-1, on Wednesday night. Dallas triumphed 5-2 on aggregate.
Roberto Chen and Leslie Heraldez scored very late to as the Expreso Azul reversed its one-goal deficit to maintain a perfect home record through three matches in this, its fifth SCCL appearance.
And, on the night, they became one of the rare teams in tournament history to defeat foes from both Liga MX and Major League Soccer in the same competition.
FCD benefitted from Heraldez’s 23rd-minute own goal at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez, one that made Arabe Unido’s already-slim hopes of a second-leg turnaround even more difficult after their 4-0 away defeat last week.
Dallas’ aggregate victory assured that two MLS teams would make the semifinals, each set to play two Liga MX foes. Meanwhile, Arabe Unido failed to progress beyond the quarters for a third time in as many attempts.
The Panamanians were without captain Fidel Cesar due to a yellow-card suspension but they began brightly; twice inside the opening 20 minutes Renan Addles struck long-range efforts that required Chris Seitz to acrobatically push the ball over the crossbar.
Content to let absorb pressure and counter, Dallas got its coveted away goal three minutes after Addles’ second attempt.
Michael Barrios created the pressure, beating Chen around the edge on the right wing and then curling in a cross toward Dallas teammate Maximiliano Urruti.
Heraldez intervened, but deflected it back toward his own net and past goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd. His desperate bicycle kick-attempt clearance only sent the ball smashing into the roof of his own net.
The match slowed after that, and with Dallas opening its MLS season at the LA Galaxy on Sunday, head coach Oscar Pareja removed both Barrios and Urruti at halftime.
Both sides had made all their changes by the 70th minute. Chen's header in the 90th minute tied it and Heraldez scored in second-half stoppage time what would’ve normally been a dramatic match-winner.
Instead it was only consolation, as Dallas still left the pitch easily victorious on aggregate.