Concacaf Champions Cup: Crew captures Tigres, US beats Revs

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Liga MX has the lead over MLS after two games in the first leg of the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinals.

After a two-hour delay due to inclement weather, MLS Cup holders Columbus Crew settled for a 1-1 draw with Mexican counterparts Tigres in the first leg of a home-and-home on Tuesday, with aggregate goals leveling the series in the Ohio capital. Won – a result that would allow Tigres to advance to the semi-finals despite a scoreless tie south of the border next week.

In the New England rain, Liga MX titan Club America demolished the MLS Revolution 4-0, a victory that will surely advance the record seven-time regional champions to the Final Four.

The other remaining MLS-Liga MX series begins on Wednesday when Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami hosts CF Monterrey (kickoff at 8 p.m. ET on FS1 and the Fox Sports app).

Here are three quick thoughts on Tuesday’s games.

Crew couldn’t find a winner

Even without Colombian international and main headliner Cucho Hernandez (more on him below), the Crew had to fancy their chances of beating Tigres at home.

But the visitors’ attack has been led for years by former France national team forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, who, at 38, remains one of Concacaf’s most lethal finishers. He proved it with a brilliant strike that took the hosts into the opening hole on Tuesday.

Columbus eventually pulled it out with an equalizing goal from Diego Rossi just before halftime. They were better in the 90 minutes. But they still couldn’t get the first-leg winner they wanted and perhaps deserved.

Now there will be nothing but victory at the Estadio Universitario next week. That’s not at all impossible for a team as good as the Crew, but it won’t be easy in a country where MLS sides rarely prevail – especially after key midfielder Aiden Morris was shown a second yellow card late in Tuesday’s encounter. Has been suspended after.

There is a ray of hope in the shameful night of raves

This Champions Cup run was the only bright spot in New England’s disappointing start under first-year coach Caleb Porter, whose team was in last place among MLS’s 29 teams five weeks into the domestic league’s 2024 season.

That ended quickly on Tuesday. In the opening 24 minutes at wet Gillette Stadium in suburban Boston, the U.S. scored two potential tie-breaking goals, putting the aggregate home-and-home series over before it really even started. Veteran striker Henry Martin opened the scoring just after the quarter-hour mark, and U.S. men’s national team player Alex Zendejas doubled the score. Eagles‘ Long before the end of the first half, he took the lead with a brilliant left-footed strike, much to the delight of the thousands of American fans present there.

The exclamation mark was added after two more goals after the break.

Sure, crazy things happen in football. But expecting the Revs to go 7,200 feet above sea level and beat Mexico’s richest and most successful club by four or more goals at the iconic Azteca Stadium is not realistic. The New England race is over. And if that fact allows Porter’s side to prioritize slowly climbing up the MLS Eastern Conference standings and into playoff contention, perhaps that’s for the best.

Where was Kucho Hernandez?

The most interesting subplot of any game Tuesday was Crew coach Wilfred Nancy’s apparent decision not to even dress star Colombian striker Cucho Hernandez for the crucial opener in the Ohio capital. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Nancy benched Cucho in the MLS regular season contest over the weekend, which the boss described as a violation of “team policy.” The unspecified violation appears to be so serious that it extends to the biggest match the Crew – who have never reached the Concacaf Final Four – have played since winning the MLS Cup last December.

It was no doubt a bold decision, but at the same time it put the hosts at a clear disadvantage without their match-winning talisman. It also makes you wonder what will happen next. Will Cucho return to Nancy’s squad for next week’s decider in Monterrey? Is the damage beyond repair? There were no clear answers in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s stalemate, leaving the Crew needing an unexpected win south of the border in the rematch to advance to the semi-finals.

Doug McIntyre is a football writer for Fox Sports. Before joining Fox Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and has covered United States of america Men’s and women’s national teams at several FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @By DougMacIntyre,

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