CONCACAF Signals – May 1, 2012

Monterrey repeats as CCL champion

Neri Cardozo gave Monterrey its second straight title in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, scoring with eight minutes remaining in a 2-1 loss against Santos that earned the Rayados a 3-2 aggregate win.

Monterrey, which has been held without a goal in only one of its last 18 matches, lost for only the second time in 12 away matches in the Champions League.

Playing at home in Estadio Nuevo Corona where it had scored six goals in three of its last four Champions League matches, Daniel Luduena gave Santos the lead in the third minute of first-half injury time.

Oribe Peralta doubled the lead and equalized the aggregate six minutes after the break.

In the 82nd minute, Cardozo scored his second goal of the Champions League after sending a short ball to Ayovi and getting it back immediately, taking the ball off his chest and pushing it past goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

Despite being suspended on Wednesday, Humber Suazo won the Golden Boot, the award given to the tournament’s top goal scorer. The Chilean was even with Santos’ Peralta with a tournament-high seven goals, but took home the trophy on the tie-breaker: most goals scored over the two-leg final (2-1).

Peralta won the Golden Ball, the award given to the tournament’s top player.


Central American clubs look to qualify for the 2012/13 Champions League

Mexico

Following 17 weeks of league play, the Mexican Torneo Clausura has reached the quarterfinal stage of its playoffs. On Wednesday, the “Liguilla” will kick-off with two games: Pachuca hosts America and Tijuana welcomes CCL champion Monterrey. The sides will face-off in their second legs on Saturday. On Thursday, Jaguares will entertain first-place Santos, while Tigres travels to Morelia. The second legs of those two series will be played on Sunday. The two Clausura finalists will qualify for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League.

Costa Rica

On Sunday, Saprissa grabbed a 1-0 lead over Santos in the first league of their semifinal series in Costa Rica. A day earlier, Herediano tied visiting Perez Zeledon 1-1 in the other Torneo de Verano semifinal. The series’ resume on Sunday with second-leg play. The winner of the summer tournament will qualify for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. Alajuelense had previously qualified after winning the 2011 Invierno title.

El Salvador

Isidro Metapan erased a 2-0 first-leg deficit in its Clausura semifinal series against FAS with a 3-0 win on Saturday to advance to the final 3-2 on aggregate. In Sunday’s championship match, it will meet Aguila, which dropped its semifinal, second-leg encounter 2-1 to Luis Angel Firpo 2-1, but won the series 5-2 on aggregate. If Aguila wins the league title, it will qualify for the next CONCACAF Champions League, joining Metapan. If Metapan repeats as Salvadoran champion, the team with the most points over both regular seasons will qualify for the Champions League.

Guatemala

Xelaju will face Heredia (Wednesday), while Suchitepequez will meet Municipal (Thursday) in the two-leg Clausura quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the winner of Xelaju-Heredia will meet Marquense, and Comunicaciones will await the survivor of Suchitepequez-Municipal. The Guatemalan champion will earn a berth in the next CONCACAF Champions League. Municipal wrapped up Guatemala’s other CCL spot by winning the Torneo Apertura in December and, if the Rojos repeat, the team will the team with the most points over both regular seasons will qualify for the Champions League.

Honduras

On July 2nd and 5th, Marathon will face Motagua while on July 3rd and 5th Real Espana and Olimpia will meet in the quaterfinals of the semifinals of the Torneo Clausura in Honduras. Olimpia and Motagua earned byes to the semifinals of the Torneo Clausura and will face the winners. The winner of the current season will also qualify for the Champions League. However, if Olimpia wins, the team with the most points over the two regular seasons will qualify.

Teams prepare for Women’s U-17 Championship

The CONCACAF Under-17 Championship starts Wednesday in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and will run through May 12.

Defending champion Canada wrapped up an eight-day pre-tournament camp in Sunrise, Florida, USA, on Monday. The most-experienced player on the roster is captain Ashley Lawrence, who represented the Maple Leafs at the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago, when she was only 15-years-old.

Trinidad & Tobago arrived in Central America on Monday following a three-day camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The junior Soca Princesses tied 0-0 against local side South Florida United Wednesday, before defeating Plantation Eagles FC 3-0 two days later.

Mexico closed out a camp in Mexico City on Thursday with a 6-1 win over the U-20 women’s national team. Hallie Hernandez scored two goals, while Taylor Alvarado, Luz Duartes, Michelle Gonzalez and Mariana Cadena added one apiece for the winners.

The United States missed out on the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, but is looking for a swift return under the guidance of head coach Albertin Montoya, who will be coaching in his first qualifying tournament. Montoya was a member of the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team and played in the first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup in Italy in 1991 (previously it was a U-16 tournament).

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