Three Major League Soccer teams and several U.S. Men's National Team players engage in moral combat for the second legs of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals this week.
All of the MLS teams enter the second leg with everything to play for.
Seattle Sounders FC and USMNT forward Eddie Johnson host USMNT midfielder Jose Tores' Tigres de la UANL. Tigres won the first leg at home 1-0. Without an away goal, the Sounders need to win while not conceding an away goal. If Tigres score, the away-goals rule put the Sounders in the position of needing to win by at least two goals. Coming home to one of the best home crowds in MLS will boost the Sounders' confidence.
USMNT midfielder Brad Davis scored the lone goal in the Houston Dynamo's 1-0 first-leg win over Santos Laguna and USMNT forward Hercules Gomez. The Dynamo possess the opposite circumstance of the Sounders, any away goal puts the pressure on Santos to win by more than one on their home pasture. MLS teams typically struggle in Liga MX climes, however, so the Dynamo will need something special to keep their first-leg margin.
The LA Galaxy still miss USMNT superstar Landon Donovan, but USMNT halfback Omar Gonzalez was dominant in their away leg at Herediano. The sides played to a 0-0 draw in Costa Rica and the Galaxy hope to draw a friendly home crowd to pull out a win and advance to the semifinals.
Check back for updates as the results come in.
Tigres came out confident, trotting out their B-side on the road. Tigres started USMNT fullback Jonathan Bornstein but left Jose Tores on the bench.
Both teams set a physical tone early in the game as the Sounders pressed high on defense and held possession on offense. Seattle generated some pressure on the Tigres goal while fending off counterattacks.
Tigres finally found some possession in the second quarter and put the Sounders deeper in arrears when they found an away goal in the 23rd minute.
The Tigres' bees were clearly relishing the chance for game minutes. But their enthusiasm gave the Sounders a glimpse of hope in first-half stoppage time when Viniegra was sent off for boorish behavior in first-half stoppage time.
Both sides came out cagey in the second half but Seattle soon pressed their an advantage to gain the upper hand.
Teenager DeAndre Yedlin opened the first crack in Tigres with a 30-yard strike in the 53rd minute that took a slight deflection into the left goal post.
The goal put a charge in the Sounders as Tigres retreated all nine remaining players behind the ball knowing the Sounders needed two goals.
Seven minutes later Jimmy Traore did Yedlin one better with a 35-yard blast that thumped off the crossbar and into the Tigres' goal.
The Sounders had their tails up now and pushed Tigres back into their final third with wave after wave of attack.
Finally in the 75th minute USMNT hero Eddie Johnson stuffed a cheeky shot low and inside the keeper's near post sending Seattle through to the semifinals. Johnson was a handful all night and it was only a matter of time before he hit his target.
USMNT fans might be surprised to hear that Bornstein was not responsible for any of the Sounders goals and actually played a pretty good game.
(My apologies for the late update, foxsoccer2go had technical problems this morning and I had to see the comeback for myself before commenting on it)
Houston couldn't hold a 1-0 lead and crashed out in Mexico with USMNT forward Hercules Gomez getting the aggregate score winner.
Omar Gonzalez gets an 18th minute header to open the scoring as the Galaxy roll to a 4-1 win and a spot in the semifinals.