FC Dallas rallies to defeat Suchitepequez, advances to SCCL quarterfinals

Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match between visiting FC Dallas (red jersey) and Suchitepequez on October 20, 2016, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. (Photo: Mexsport)

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – FC Dallas (2W-2D-0L, 8 points) emerged from an early two-goal deficit to earn a 5-2 win over 10-man Suchitepequez (1-2-1, 5) and secure a berth in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on Thursday at a rain-soaked Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores.

The result gave Dallas the top spot in Group H with eight points, three more than runner-up Suchitepequez, which needed to win in order to progress.

After the host Venados grabbed a 2-0 lead, the visitor responded by scoring five unanswered goals.

Atiba Harris netted what proved to be the game-winner in the 51st minute, when goalkeeper Manuel Sosa pushed Mauro Rosales’ left-sided free kick directly into the chest of the St. Kitts & Nevis international and the ball ricocheted into the net.

Ecuador international Carlos Gruezo struck for FCD’s first goal in the 27th minute. After breaking free in the right side of Suchitepequez’s box, Tesho Akindele whipped in a cross that goalkeeper Manuel Sosa appeared to deflect with his hands into the middle of the area. Waiting there was Gruezo, who lifted a header just over Sosa’s outstretched hand and under the crossbar.

Eight minutes later, another header leveled the score at 2-2. Suchitepequez’s Rene Maltes was whistled for a handball in his own half on the right wing. Rosales lofted the subsequent free kick towards the left post, where Matt Hedges powered the ball home from four-yards out.

Proceedings started so brightly for Suchitepequez. It went ahead 1-0 in the sixth minute as Kevin Ruiz’s header from Maltes’ left-sided corner kick took a wicked deflection off Akindele and squeezed inside the right post despite the flailing effort of goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.

Wilson Morales doubled the advantage in the 22nd minute, hammering in from 10-yards out after he ran onto a ball that he initially played to Julian Lalinde.

An own-goal by Suchitepequez’s Miguel Gonzalez in the 87th minute made it 4-2 and Carlos Lizarazo completed the scoreline with a laser in the final minute of normal time.

In the 65th minute, Suchitepequez was reduced a player after Maltes was shown a straight red card for a hard tackle on Michael Barrios.