Darlington Nagbe (red/black jersey) scored a key goal in the Portland Timbers' win over host Dragon in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on September 27, 2016, in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo: Mexsport)
The 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League returns to action Tuesday night for the first time since September 29 with a trio of Week Six games, two of which will determine the sides to join Arabe Unido, the New York Red Bulls and the Vancouver Whitecaps in the quarterfinals.
In order to get you back up to speed, CONCACAF.com take a look back at the best of Week Five.
Portland Timbers 2, Dragon 1: Needing an away victory to keep its Group B hopes intact, Portland fell behind after Kevin Melara’s 54th minute goal. The 2015 MLS Cup champion responded with Fanendo Adi scoring his second goal of the competition to level affairs in the 79th minute and Darlington Nagbe adding his first with a stunning, match-winning free kick in the 90th. The Timbers will advance to their first quarterfinals with a home win over Saprissa in Week Six.
Plaza Amador 1, Tigres 0: In search of its first SCCL victory, the Plaza Amador got the goal it needed in the 37th minute, when Ricaurter Barsallo struck from distance. The Liga MX viistot led 13-7 in shots and came closest to an equalizer in the 43rd minute, but Julian Quinones’ chip struck the right post and Fernando Fernandez’s rebound was cleared off the line. Tigres can still advance to the quarterfinals with a win or draw against visiting Herediano in Week Six.
John King, Police United FC (6’ v Olimpia FC): Police United scored only one goal while losing all four matches in its SCCL debut, but what a beauty it was. John King ran onto Daniel Jimenez’s pass down the right and then lofted a deft chip over goalkeeper Donis Escober to give the host a 1-0 lead. It didn’t last, as Olimpia rallied to win 5-1 and stay alive in Group E.
Ricauter Barsallo, Plaza Amador (37’ v Tigres): Plaza Amador had already been eliminated from quarterfinal contention, but its debut SCCL appearance ended brightly thanks to Barsallo’s blistering matchwinner. His right-footed half volley from 22 yards out put the hosts up eight minutes before halftime, and kept Herediano alive entering its match at Tigres in Week 6.
Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers (90’ v Dragon): A 25-yard free-kick rocket by Nagbe bent over Dragon’s defensive wall and into the top left corner to lift the Timbers to a 2-1 away victory and keep their Group B hopes alive. Portland won both matches over Dragon on last-minute goals, with Diego Valeri scoring in the 90th minute in the first match in Portland.
Sean de Silva, Central FC (44’ v Vancouver Whitecaps): Central FC couldn’t prevent Vancouver from finishing its Group C campaign with a perfect record in a 4-1 road loss. Sean de Silva’s bending free kick strike before halftime, however, was still a sight to behold as it sailed over the defensive wall and into the top left corner.
Jesse Gonzalez, FC Dallas (75’ v Suchitepequez): Although Gonzalez wasn’t as busy as counterpart Manuel Sosa, his soaring denial of Amaury Escoto’s 75th-minute missile ensured that the host preserved a 0-0 draw. Dallas now only needs a draw in the final match at Suchitepequez to advance from Group H. Suchitepequez would progress with a victory.
Jake Gleeson, Portland Timbers (21’ v Dragon): With Portland’s quarterfinal hopes on the line, Gleeson leaped to his left to deny Kenroy Howell his second SCCL goal on a long-range blast. Dragon would eventually score the first goal of the match nine minutes after halftime, but Portland responded with a two-goal comeback in a hard-nosed away victory.
TOP TEAM PERFORMANCE
Olimpia: Needing an emphatic away win to keep realistic quarterfinal hopes alive, the Honduran visitor got just that with a 5-1 victory at Police United. Carlo Costly’s brace led the Lions back from an early 1-0 deficit. Olimpia still has plenty of work to do, needing a victory by at least two goals in Week 6 at home against Pachuca to advance from Group E.
TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE
Cristian Techera, Vancouver Whitecaps: Techera scored his second brace of the competition to help Vancouver finish its second SCCL group stage with a perfect record of four victories in four contests. The Uruguayan also set up the first goal for the Whitecaps, and is now tied with Pachuca’s Hirving Lozano for the tournament goal-scoring lead with five.
ONE LAST THING
Five of the quarterfinalists are yet to be decided heading into Week Six, the final round of group matches in the 2016/17 SCCL. Of the 16 teams that played in Week Five, only the New York Red Bulls clinched a quarterfinal spot with their 0-0 away draw versus Antigua GFC. Vancouver Whitecaps and Arabe Unido had already secured their progression in Week Four.