The Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League came to Orlando’s Exploria Stadium with a pair of matches. It’s the first time Orlando City’s venue has hosted the event, which kicked off with a double-header that featured CD Olimpia of Honduras against the Montreal Impact, followed by Tigres UANL of Liga MX in Mexico against New York City FC.
By the end of the night, both Major League Soccer teams were out of the competition. The Impact won their game, but lost on the away goals tiebreaker, while New York City FC got clobbered by Tigres.
CD Olimpia 0-1 Montreal Impact
The Impact needed to overturn a 2-1 deficit on aggregate and blew an early chance to get level on goals in the seventh minute when a ball over the top found Mason Toye, but he failed to make good contact on it and goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar had no trouble collecting it. Jerry Bengtson from CD Olimpia returned the favor by missing the net with a diving header from point-blank range in the 14th minute.
Romell Quioto had a couple of good opportunities to score for Montreal in the first half hour, but he hit a left-footed shot over the bar early and later fizzed a shot just wide of the post. Edwin Rodriguez saved a Luis Binks header off a set piece off the line for Olimpia as the Impact continued to come close without actually scoring.
The first half ended scoreless, with Olimpia holding a 13-5 advantage in shots, but most of the Honduran side’s attempts were hopeful rather than dangerous. Montreal had more good opportunities but failed to capitalize, getting only two shots on target to Olimpia’s one. The Impact held 61.6% of the possession, as Olimpia was content to absorb pressure and look to break in transition, and Montreal was more accurate in passing (83%-78%).
The Impact got their goal in the 57th minute when Amar Sejdic ran onto a loose ball outside the top of the area and blasted a shot into the lower right corner to make it 1-0 in the match and 2-2 on aggregate.
Quioto continued to be wasteful with opportunities in the second half. The Montreal star finished with five shot attempts but failed to get any of them on target. He found space on the left side at the top of the area in the 63rd minute but blasted his shot wide of the far post. Three minutes later, Zachary Brault-Guillard’s cross found Quioto in the area but he sent his header over the bar.
From there, Olimpia just made the game messy, committing fouls, kicking the ball out, and keeping the Impact from finding any rhythm. The match ended in a 1-0 Montreal win, but the Honduran side went through to the semifinals on away goals.
Olimpia fired more shots (18-13), with Montreal getting more on target (5-1). The Impact held 64.6% of the possession and out-passed Olimpia (83%-75%).
“Obviously we’re disappointed not being in the next round, but when you look at the opportunity that we created in the first game, we should have had control,” Montreal Head Coach Thierry Henry said after the match. “You don’t put the ball in the back of the net in football, you don’t win the game.”
Tigres UANL 4-0 New York City FC
NYCFC entered the match needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit after a home loss in the first leg. Instead, following Tigres’ 4-0 win, the Pigeons will fly home from Orlando after being eliminated from a competition for the third time in 2020. New York City FC was also eliminated from the MLS is Back Tournament and the MLS Cup playoffs here.
The opening 25 minutes were rather dull, with few chances for either side, though New York City held the bulk of possession in the attacking half. A couple of shots by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi were only mildly interesting but neither held much threat.
Instead the opener came from Tigres, seemingly against the run of play. The first sign of danger was a throw-in on which NYCFC switched off defensively, allowing Luis Quinones to nearly walk the ball into the net. Backup goalkeeper Luis Barraza, starting in place of Sean Johnson, with Orlando City loanee Mason Stajduhar on the bench, came off his line to snuff out the danger in the 26th minute. However, four minutes later, Tigres broke through. Quiñones crossed from the right and found Andre-Pierre Gignac, who beat Maxime Chanot and headed inside the right post to make it 1-0 in the 30th minute.
“It was even in the first half but they showed real quality in that goal,” NYCFC Head Coach Ronny Deila said. “The first goal was a really good cross and the finish was top, top class.”
The goal not only gave Tigres the lead in the match, but increased the Mexican’s side aggregate advantage to 2-0, making NYCFC’s job that much tougher. New York City struggled to break down Tigres and the Liga MX side went to the break with a 1-0 lead.
NYCFC had more shots (8-2) but Tigres got more on target (2-1). New York City FC held a slight possession advantage (53.7%-46.3%) and was more accurate in passing (83%-81%).
Tigres put the game away four minutes after the restart. Quiñones roasted Ronald Matarrita down the wing, then crossed in to Leonardo Fernández, who finished in style with a backheel flick to make it 2-0 in the match and 3-0 on aggregate in the 49th minute.
“We give away an early goal and then that’s going to be tough,” Deila said.
Chanot had an opportunity to pull a goal back moments later with a free header off a corner kick but he hit his shot straight at goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.
Any faint hope NYCFC might have had left was crushed in the 64th minute, when Quiñones set up Rafael Carioca’s goal, making it 3-0.
Whether Tigres relaxed after that or NYCFC simply fought to get one back quickly, the Pigeons managed to make a few plays after Carioca’s goal, but still couldn’t get on the board. Tajouri-Shradi fired a beautiful curling shot that forced a good save from Guzmán in the 66th minute.
Gignac looked to score his second of the night in the 77th when he broke in alone on goal, but he went for a cheeky chip past Barraza, but the young goalkeeper stuck out his right hand at the last second and stopped the shot. Five minutes later, Chanot got his second free header of the night on another set piece but again Guzmán made the save.
Javier Aquino finished things off with a goal in the 85th, taking a pass from Gignac, slicing inside of Chanot, and slotting home past Barraza to make the final score 4-0 and 5-0 on aggregate across the two legs.
The whistle ended the pain for New York City FC after just one minute of stoppage time. It was an absolutely clinical night for Tigres. Despite being out-shot 15-6 in the match, the Mexican side was a perfect 6-for-6 in getting shots on target, while NYCFC got just four of its 15 attempts on frame. New York City held slight edges in possession (51.2%-48.8%) and passing accuracy (84%-83%).
“If you do simple mistakes against teams like this then you get punished,” Deila said. “And I think when we did something bad on the ball or didn’t defend the way we wanted, we got punished hard.”
“Tigres was the much better team tonight. Much better quality,” Barraza said after his first pro start. “We’ll just have to learn from this and move on.”
Olimpia will face Tigres in the semifinals on Saturday at Exploria Stadium. The other semifinal will be determined by what happens in Wednesday night’s quarterfinal match-ups, which will feature Atlanta United facing a 3-0 deficit against América and LAFC facing Cruz Azul in a single-elimination match.