MEXICO CITY – CCL Fever has once again become CCL Free space. On Thursday night, a toothless Philadelphia Union went into the Estadio Azteca and lost the CCL Semifinal first leg 2-0 to Club America.
Toothless Union Lose CCL Semifinal First Leg at the Azteca
The first half went poorly for the MLS side, who were luckily only down 1-0. Club America had 73% possession. The limited the visitors to 61% passing accuracy in that first half.
Just two minutes into the game, Kai Wagner had a backheeled shot from inside the box but the shot rolled wide of the far post.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake made a great save on a header from Richard Sánchez on 11 minutes. Sánchez had several good looks as the Jamaican international kept his team in the game.
The striker would get his revenge minutes later on a second chance off a free kick. The Union wall blocked the initial shot but Sánchez got to the rebound and shot the ball off the shoulder of Daniel Gazdag and into the back of the net.
Philly had to make a sub, as Olivier Mbaizo had to be subbed out after two stoppages for injury. He lost a tooth after taking a forearm to the face on the first.
There was a penalty shout in the 76th minute as Jose Martinez slid into Sánchez in the box. After VAR had referee Walter López Castellanos go to the monitor, the play was ruled a penalty. Emanuel Aguilera stepped up, sending Blake the wrong way to make it 2-0. The match ended by that score line.
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Three Key Takeaways:
Sánchez makes it happen: Richard Sánchez scored the first goal of the game and drew the penalty for the second. He was fantastic throughout the game and a constant danger. MOTM for sure.
Toothless Union: Mbaizo had a rough night as did most of the team. The team had trouble getting and keeping the ball. They had long stretches without the ball in the final third. The best chance of the night might have been that shot by Wagner in the opening minutes.
A mountain of a second leg: It bares reminding that we are technically at halftime. The Union are going home to Subaru Park where they are comfortable and capable of playing well. They have a mountain to climb and it will take of their best performances of the year to make the final.