Arabe Unido players (pictured) celebrate after scoring against host Monterrey in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on August 17, 2016, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo: Mexsport)
MIAMI – Arabe Unido produced one of the most significant results in Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League history, highlighting Week Two play in the 2016/17 edition with a 3-2 win at three-time champion Monterrey. CONCACAF.com takes a look back at some of the most memorable moments.
Arabe Unido 3, Monterrey 2: Arabe Unido, the only Panamanian side ever to qualify for the SCCL quarterfinals, took a step toward doing so for a third time with an impressive win at three-time champion Monterrey. Jose Gonzalez scored an early goal from distance and Fidel Caesar netted ahead of the break, before Edgar Yoel Barcenas’ strike off a blistering solo run ensured that the Expresso Azul could overcome Edwin Cardona’s brace for its first-ever SCCL win on Mexican soil.
Suchitepequez 1, Real Esteli 0: Out of seven teams making their SCCL debut in the 2016/17 tournament, Suchitepequez became the only one to earn all three points in its debut match. It didn’t come easy though, with Manuel Sosa having to make four saves, including an 18th-minute penalty stop. The host then got its winner at the death, with Kevin Ruiz’s long-range free kick deflecting off a Real Esteli defender on its way past goalkeeper Justo Lorente.
Eduardo Herrera, Pumas (v Honduras Progresso): Pumas stayed perfect in Group A with a 2-0 victory, and Herrera’s fifth career SCCL goal was a big reason for the result. In the 67th minute, Pablo Barrera crossed to Herrera, who chested with his first touch and then thumped a 14-yard bicycle kick between goalkeeper Woodrow West and the left post.
Jose Gonzalez, Arabe Unido (v Monterrey): Gonzalez’s fourth all-time SCCL goal was one to remember, and one that helped the Panamanian’s pull off a 3-2 away win in Group D. After reaching a half-clearance of Edgar Yoel Barcenas’ corner, Gonzalez opened the scoring when he let fly on a left-footed strike that curled away from goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco and inside the right post.
Marvin Angulo, Saprissa (v Dragon): Of all the goals scored in the Monstruo Morado’s 6-0 victory over Dragon, none were prettier than Angulo’s flick-on header in the 19th minute. Mariano Torres played an early, in-swinging ball from the left, and Angulo ran onto it in perfect stride, before his slight nod redirected it from near the penalty spot inside the left post.
Alex Larin, Alianza (v New York Red Bulls): Larin’s wonderstrike in the 54th minute of a 1-1 draw was worthy of the historic moment. With the score tied, Larin blasted a free kick around the defensive wall, beyond diving goalkeeper Luis Robles and into the top left corner to send the home crowd into delirium. The goal was Alianza’s first in its three-match SCCL history.
Manuel Sosa, Suchitepequez (v Real Esteli): Sosa made four saves to help the Guatemalan side win in its SCCL debut. None were bigger than his penalty stop in the 18th minute, when he dove low and left to deny Real Esteli’s Samuel Wilson. That set the stage for Kevin Ruiz’s dramatic match-winner 73 minutes later in second-half stoppage time.
Oscar Arroyo, Alianza (v New York Red Bulls): With his side clinging to a one-goal lead, Arroyo sprawled to his left to deny Justin Bilyeu’s 57th-minute screamer. The Red Bulls would ultimately equalize through Omer Damari, but Arroyo’s stop still ensured the hosts of their club’s first-ever point earned in SCCL play.
TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE
Marvin Angulo, Saprissa (v CD Dragon): The SCCL player of the week was instrumental in the Costa Rican side’s rampant start to its Champions League campaign. The center midfielder’s corner kicks helped set up early goals by Rolando Blackburn and Francisco Calvo, and then he struck the back of the net himself with a perfectly placed flick-on header from Mariano Torres’ cross.
TOP TEAM PERFORMANCES
Arabe Unido (v Monterrey): Not only did the Panamanians earn their first-ever SCCL victory on Mexican soil, it secured the first such victory of any club from Panama at a Liga MX ground. And they did it against the most decorated side in SCCL history, one that still has more championship trophies (3) than home losses in the competition (2).
Suchitepequez (v Real Esteli): Suchitepequez may have proven itself in its domestic league, but the difficulty of winning in a club’s first-ever SCCL match should not be underestimated. Just ask the Venados’ opponent. In defeating Real Esteli, Suchitepequez sent the Nicaraguan giants to an 18th consecutive SCCL match without a victory.
ONE LAST THING:
Looking to Week Three, no one is yet able to guarantee a spot in next year’s quarterfinals with a good result, but two teams could be eliminated. Dragon and Real Esteli both need 3 points in their next matches against Saprissa and FC Dallas, respectively, if they are to preserve any chance of advancing. Both squads will be at home.