CONCAChampions Recap: Rough Night for MLS, as Liga MX Teams Make Their Mark

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If you’re reading this (and you’re an MLS fan) it’s too late.

Last week, CONCACAF Champions League action got back underway after a four-month hiatus with the start of the knockout round. Early results reflected Liga MX teams’ superior budgets and better youth development academies. Last night, Mexican regional hegemony made its mark yet again; DC United drew level at one apiece with Querétaro (losing 1-3 on aggregate), and the LA Galaxy experienced an absolute thrashing, 4-0 at the hands of Santos Laguna (4-0 aggregate).

Querétaro entered the first match of the night with a 2-0 first-leg advantage, and sealed the deal with an Ángel Sepúlveda strike after only four minutes of play. Tie (virtually) over. Goalkeeper Tiago Volpi was in fine form between the posts for the home side, denying Chris Rolfe from the penalty spot in the early goings of the second half.

Giovani dos Santos’ visit to Santos Laguna is where things really start to get interesting; after a goal-less first leg at StubHub Center, LA displayed its shocking inability to defend set pieces and lost in exceedingly dramatic fashion. By the 36th – yes, you read that right … 36th – minute Gio and co. were already down 3-0. Um …

Santos’ first goal of the game came in the 19th, when Jesús Molina popped a ball into the fiery feet of Martín Bravo, who struck gold and never looked back. Four minutes later, Ulises Dávila saw his shot deflected before gracefully gliding into the back of the net. Round two of calamitous corner defending came in the 36th, when Djaniny headed through to put his squad up by three. Wow. Finally, Bravo got his brace off a brilliant breakaway in the 61st. Game, blouses.

With regional dominance in full effect, the question of Liga MX teams’ inability to perform on the world club competition stage becomes increasingly important. For now, we look forward to a potential Liga MX final four. Today it’s Club América and Tigres’ turn, with Santos slotted to face the winner of the former’s battle against the Seattle Sounders and Querétaro of the latter’s vs. Real Salt Lake.