MIAMI, Florida – The action in the Scotiabank Concacaf League resumes this week with the Round of 16 taking center stage. While the SCL is just in its fourth year of existence, the Round of 16 has already produced a number of memorable clashes dating back to the tournament’s inception in 2017.
Here are the five most memorable SCL Round of 16 contests.
2017: Aguila 1-1 Real Esteli (4-3)
This hard-fought series tested the goalposts of both stadiums, as a slew of shots from both teams struck the woodwork over the course of the 180 minutes. A Victor Garcia header in the 89’ that glanced off the post and in gave Salvadoran side Aguila a dramatic 1-0 win at home, but back home in Nicaragua, Real Esteli pulled level 1-1 in the series when Nahum Peralta redirected in a shot that had struck the post. Things had to be resolved in a penalty shootout, and Aguila GK Benji Villalobos made the winning save to secure a 4-3 victory from the spot.
2018: Perez Zeledon 2-3 CD FAS
This series was proof that every second counts. After pulling out a thrilling comeback 2-1 victory at home in El Salvador in the first leg, FAS traveled to Costa Rica for what would prove to be an unforgettable second leg. Anthony Lopez’s sensational left-footed strike gave the Ticos a 1-0 lead in the 62’, and as the clock rolled into second half stoppage time, it looked like Perez Zeledon were sure to advance. But FAS never gave up and on the last kick of the game in the 90+5’, a deep cross took a deflection off Perez Zeledon DF Edder Monguio and rolled into net, giving FAS an improbable 3-2 series victory.
2018: Portmore United 3-3 Santos de Guapiles (7-6)
It is not often in an SCL series that the away team wins, but in each leg of this match-up, the visiting team came away with the triumph. In the first leg in Costa Rica against 2017 SCL finalist Santos de Guapiles, Jamaica’s Portmore United scored two goals in a span of four first half minutes to help nail down a 2-1 win. The Ticos came storming back in the return leg in Kingston, collecting a 2-1 victory that resulted in a 3-3 draw on aggregate. It took eight rounds of penalties in the shootout to determine the winner, and in the end Portmore United GK Kemar Foster’s save on Reimond Salas’ attempt punched the Jamaicans’ ticket to the next round.
2019: Herediano 2-2 Waterhouse (6-7)
Herediano of Costa Rica kicked off their 2019 SCL campaign with their sights set on repeating as champions after taking the crown in 2018, but Jamaican side Waterhouse had other ideas and a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Jamaica suggested as much. Margins were just as thin in the second leg on Costa Rican soil and another 1-1 draw between the teams resulted in a 2-2 final and a penalty shootout. The hero would turn out to be Waterhouse GK Akeem Chambers, who converted the decisive kick for Waterhouse, ultimately giving the Caribbean side a 7-6 penalty shootout win.
2019: Independiente 3-2 Robinhood
History was made in the 2019 SCL when Robinhood of Suriname won their Preliminary Round series to advance to the Round of 16. Never before had the winner of the Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield won the Concacaf League Playoff and then won their first round series of the SCL until Robinhood achieved that feat a year ago. Facing 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League quarterfinalists Independiente of Panama, the amateur club from Suriname showed their fighting spirit to earn a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg thanks to Shaquille Cairo’s equalizer in the 90+3’. In the return leg in Panama, the Canaleros raced out to an early 2-0 lead, but Robinhood would once again mount a comeback that came up just short, falling 2-1 in the match and 3-2 in the series.