MLS Team’s Return Home For 2nd Leg With CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals in Sight

Posted By Peter Nolan on February 25, 2020

With the notable exception of LAFC, MLS teams emerged from the first leg of CONCACAF Champions League play with positive results. They will hope to use strong leg 1’s to catapult their sides into the quarterfinals of the regional club championship.

With all five MLS teams opening on the road, domestic watchers can only be pleased with an aggregate away record of one win two draws and just that one loss from Los Angeles.

Atlanta United vs. CD Motagua
Round of 16, Leg 2
Fifth Third Bank: Stadium Kennesaw, Ga.
Tuesday, February 25
8:00 PM ET

Atlanta entered year 2 of the Frank de Boer era with a hard fought 1-1 draw against CD Motagua in San Pedro Sula, Honduras last Tuesday.

Atlanta Shorthanded

It was a solid start to CCL play for a depleted Five Stripes side that was missing Miles Robinson, George Bello, and Edgar Castillo through injury. A pair of newcomers, Matheus Rossetto and Jake Mulraney remained unavailable due to visa delays.

That left the Atlanta bench with just six subs, one less than the usual compliment. De Boer was also forced to field a lineup with several players out of position, so when Roberto Morena shot Motagua into the lead in the 34th minute, things looked somewhat grim for Atlanta.

But then Josef Martinez did what Josef Martinez does and his goal leveled the match just one minute later and that 1-1 scoreline would hold out.

Atlanta returns home with a valuable road goal in its pocket and will now be expected to advance to the CCL quarterfinals.

NYCFC vs San Carlos
CCL – Round of 16, Leg 2
Red Bull Arena: Harrison, NJ
6:00 PM ET

NYCFC – On the Road Again?

Spurred on by a hattrick from Brazilian striker Heber, CCL debutantes NYCFC claimed Major League Soccer’s lone win, topping Costa Rica’s San Carlos 5-3 in Ronnie Delia’s first competitive match behind the Pigeons bench.

Returning home with a two goal advantage, NYC would seem a sure bet to advance to the CCL quarterfinals but just how much of a boost NYC will get from its “home” crowd is an open question, given that the match will be played in Harrison, New Jersey at Red Bull Arena, the home of rival New York Red Bulls.

With Yankee Stadium and NYCFC second home, City Field both unavailable and CONCACAF ruling out a couple of other potential sites, NYC was left with no choice but to play at RBA.

(Too) Many Rivers To Cross

Will New York City supporters show up for their team or will playing at the home of the Red Bulls make crossing the Hudson River a bridge too far?

Montreal Impact vs. Deportivo Saprissa
Round of 16, Leg 2
Stade Olympique: Montreal, Canada
February 26, 8:00 PM ET
TV: FS2, TUDNxtra 1, TSN, RDS

Henry is Back in MLS

Arsenal and New York Red Bulls legend Thierry Henry’s debut was wild affair that saw Montreal jump out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes, lose three players, including both goalscorers to injury, and then concede a pair of goals to surrender the lead, and just about escape with a share of the spoils.

Henry who flamed out in his only previous head coaching assignment after just 20 matches with Monaco set out his new team in an innovative 5-2-3 formation. Already leading 2-0, the Impact saw a third goal wiped from the scoreboard on replay, when officials spotted a foul behind the play on Maxi Urruti’s would-be goal.

Can Impact Overcome Injuries?

So, what to make of Montreal’s chances Wednesday night at Stade Olympique?  Saprissa were pushing hard for the equalizer when Montreal welcomed the final whistle and Henry will have to replace some key components, still two away goals provide a nice cushion, so we the home team should be fairly confident.

LAFC vs Leon
CCL – Round of 16, Leg 2
Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Ca.
10:00 PM ET

LAFC Disappoint – Again

Few would deny that Bob Bradley is building something impressive in the City of Angels but if LAFC cannot climb out of the 0-2 hole it dug for itself last week versus Leon then tongues will start wagging with word that LA can’t get it done in the big games.

After setting an MLS points record L.A. fell to eventual champions Seattle in the 2019 Conference finals, unable to crown its record setting season by raising the MLS Cup. That followed a debut season which ended with a Knockout Round loss to Real Salt Lake, a side that finished eight points behind LAFC during the season.

No MLS club facing a 0-2 deficit after the first leg has advanced in CCL, although with Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and more L.A. certainly has the firepower to be the first.

Seattle Sounders FC vs. CD Olimpia
Round of 16, Leg 2
CenturyLink Field: Seattle, Wa.
THU, February 27
10:00 PM ET
TV: FS2, TUDNxtra1

In its quest to add to their trophy case the 2019 MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders had to settle for a 2-2 draw after jumping out to a two goal lead on the road versus Honduran club CD Olimpia.

Strong 1st Impression from Paulo

Seattle’s new DP Joao Paulo wasted little time introducing himself to Sounders fans, heading home a fine Jordan Morris cross to give his new team a sixth minute lead, just part of fine overall performance from the 28 year old Brazilian.

Jordan Morris added an goal to go with his assist when he fired the Sounders to a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute, a lead Seattle would be unable to hold.

Yustin Arboleda saw to that with a pair of goals to spoil Seattle’s night, setting the stage for a thrilling second leg Thursday night at CenturyLink.

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Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan has been on the soccer beat for many years now, covering the United States Men's and Women's teams, from the SnowClasico to Azteca and back again. Along with the US national teams, Peter will provide insight into the MLS and NWSL, with a focus on the NY Red Bulls and NYCFC.

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