Jose Gonzalez (pictured) has scored one goal in each of Arabe Unido's three matches in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)
MIAMI -- The 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals are taking shape, with two clubs – Arabe Unido and the Vancouver Whitecaps -- already booking their spots and others on the verge of advancing. CONCACAF.com takes a look back at the best from Week Four.
Sporting Kansas City 1, Vancouver Whitecaps 2: Vancouver defeated Sporting Kansas City to win Group C and advance to its first-ever SCCL quarterfinals, but not without adversity. The visitor endured a two-hour weather delay for torrential storms and then overcame Diego Rubio Kostner’s second-half equalizer. The hero, though, was 15-year-old Alphonso Davies, who scored the winner in second-half stoppage time for his first professional goal.
Arabe Unido 2, Monterrey 1: Arabe Unido secured its third trip to the SCCL quarterfinals and wrapped up the Group D title with a second victory over three-time champion Monterrey. Just after halftime, Jose Gonzalez slalomed through midfield to score what proved to be the eventual match-winner; his third goal of the current tournament. An 85th-minute save of Angel Lopez’s header by goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd ensured the Expresso Azul would celebrate with its own fans.
Honduras Progreso 2, Pumas 1: Stubborn Honduras Progreso prevented Pumas from sealing quarterfinal passage while making history with their first SCCL victory. Substitute Victor Moncada was the hero, twice scoring from set pieces to lead the second-half fightback and keep the tournament debutant’s hopes of progressing alive.
Victor Moncada, Honduras Progreso, 57’ (v Pumas): After Jose Nieto put the Liga MX visitor ahead in the 27th minute, Moncada responded with the answer his side needed in the 57th minute. Only moments after coming on for Raimundo Calix, Moncada drew a foul to the left of the penalty arc. On the ensuing set piece, he smashed a right-footed effort over the defensive wall and into the top left corner.
Victor Moncada, Honduras Progreso, 90’+1 (v Pumas): With the match seemingly destined to end in a stalemate, Moncada stepped up again to deliver a dramatic winner and give a major boost to Honduras Progreso’s SCCL advancement prospects. Jorge Cardona earned the foul at the very top of the penalty arc and Moncada picked out the right corner with his right foot. His strike bent around the wall and inside the right post.
Jose Gonzalez, Arabe Unido, 46’ (v Monterrey): Gonzalez has scored one goal in each of Arabe Unido’s three group matches, but none was better than this effort. With space in midfield on a slick surface at the Estadio Maracana, Gonzalez weaved past not one, not two, but three Monterrey defenders, before driving a low finish inside the left post. The goal was Arabe Unido’s 10th in just three group matches.
Adrian De Lemos, Herediano, 72’ (v Plaza Amador): The Costa Rican host was already on its way to a Group G triumph, but Lemos’ close-range denial of Delano Welch helped stifle any Plaza Amador comeback hopes. While Lemos mishandled an initial strike from distance by Sergio Ortega, he showed superb reflexes in reacting in time to thwart Welch’s opportunistic rebound attempt and keep the score 2-0.
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls, 61’ (v Alianza): The Red Bulls consolidated their position atop the Group F table thanks a 1-0 victory over visiting Alianza, and Robles is a big reason why. The 32-year-old made three saves, but none were bigger than his denial of Carlos Portillo, who headed a curling service back across goal, only for Robles to react in time to push away from danger.
Miguel Lloyd, Arabe Unido, 85’ (v Monterrey): A draw would have been satisfactory for Arabe Unido in Group D thanks to its 3-2 win at Monterrey in August. Instead, Lloyd made sure the Panamanians preserved a 2-1 victory with a superb reaction stop at the left post to deny Angel Lopez an equalizer. It was one of the Dominican Republic international’s seven saves.
TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE
Hirving Lozano, Pachuca (v Police United): Lozano’s four-goal night on Tuesday set a club record for most goals scored in a single SCCL match and pushed him into the 2016/17 tournament lead with five. Lozano netted two goals on either side of halftime, helping Pachuca set the all-time tournament record for goals scored in a single match in an 11-0 win, surpassing Club America’s 10-1 triumph over Puerto Rico Bayamon in 2014.
TOP TEAM PERFORMANCE
Saprissa (v Portland Timbers): The Monstruo Morado opened a four-point lead atop Group B with a 4-2 home victory over the MLS champion. Although Diego Valeri scored early for Portland, the host responded with a barrage of pressure that led to Ulises Segura’s equalizer, two penalties converted by Marvin Angulo and Fabrizio Ronchetti’s second-half strike. The Costa Rican side just needs a point in its final match -- away to Portland on October 19 -- to seal a quarterfinal return.
ONE LAST THING
Of all the remaining storylines in SCCL group play, the most intriguing may be in Group H, where FC Dallas and Suchitepequez play each other twice in the group’s final two matches. Since they currently sit even on four points, the matches essentially will be a two-leg, total-goals series, beginning with the first match at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on September 28.