SCCL draw lifts FC Dallas into top spot in Group H

Action from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match between visiting FC Dallas (red jersey) and Real Esteli on August 24, 2016, in Esteli, Nicaragua. (Photo: Mexsport)


ESTELI, Nicaragua -- A 1-1 draw between FC Dallas and Real Esteli resulted in contrasting fortunes for each club in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday night.

FC Dallas (1W-1D-0L, 4 points) moved atop Group H, while Real (0-1-2, 1) was eliminated from the competition at Estadio Independencia.

El Tren del Norte has never won a SCCL game in 19 attempts (0-6-13) in six tournament appearances since making its debut in 2008-09 and is the only team in SCCL history to play 10 or more games and not register a victory. FC Dallas improved to 3-1-1 in SCCL road matches.

Both goals were scored during a 90-second span early in the match.

Real Esteli got on the scoreboard first in the fifth minute as Elvis Figueroa headed home Emilio Lopez's free kick from the left side past goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez at the near post for a 1-0 lead.

The crowd had barely finished celebrating the goal before FC Dallas equalized on a similar play from the right side. Mauro Rosales sent in a free kick that Saint Kitts & Nevis international defender Atiba Harris leaped among a scrum of players and headed it past keeper Justo Lorente from seven yards to pull the visitors into a 1-1 tie in the seventh minute.

While the game promised to be a high-scoring affair, it never quite blossomed into one as dangerous scoring opportunities were quite rare.

Both teams had chances to take the lead in the second half. Lorente denied second-half substitute Michael Barrios at the left post in the 79th minute.

Three minutes into stoppage time, Franklin Lopez had a last-ditch effort as his shot from distance sailed over the crossbar, only 40 seconds before referee Jaime Herrera whistled the game over.

Franklin Lopez was awarded his second yellow card of the group stage in the 50th minute, which means he will miss Real Esteli’s final match against CD Suchitepequez on September 13. FC Dallas will welcome the Guatemalan club on September 28.