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U.S. hopes end with Tijuana exit
by Paul Kennedy, April 9th, 2014 11:19PM
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TAGS:  americans abroad, concacaf champions league, mexico


[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] For the fifth time in six tournaments, the Concacaf Champions League will be an all-Mexican affair. Carrying the last remaining U.S. hopes  with three Americans in the starting lineup, Tijuana, which started three Americans, couldn't hold on to its lead and fell to Liga MX leader Cruz Azul, 2-0, in the second leg of their semifinal series. Cruz Azul, a 2-1 winner on aggregate, will meet Toluca in the final.

Concacaf Champions League Finals:
2009 Atlante 2 Cruz Azul 0
2010 Pachuca 2 Cruz Azul 2
(Pachuca wins on away goal)
2011 Monterrey 3 Real Salt Lake 2
2012 Monterrey 3 Santos 2
2013 Monterrey 4 Santos 2
2014 Cruz Azul vs. Toluca

An own goal by Xolos midfielder Javier Guemez in the first half and defender Julio Dominguez's goal at the start of the second half were the difference.

Dominguez made the key play of the game, clearing a shot by Edgar Castillo off the line. Seconds earlier, Castillo had tracked down a ball at the end line and rolled a ball tantalizingly close to the goal line across the goalmouth without a Tijuana player getting on the end of the pass.

Joe Corona started his fourth straight game in the CCL knockout stage, the only American to do so for Xolos. Teenager Paul Arriola also made a surprise start. Both Corona and Arriola left the game after Cruz Azul went ahead 2-0. Herculez Gomez did not dress for Tijuana.

A pair of California-born players, Isaac Brizuela and Miguel Ponce, started for Toluca in its 2-0 win over Alajuelense on Tuesday to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory. Both moved to Mexico as children and are candidates to represent Mexico at the 2014 World Cup.

Cruz Azul was the losing finalist of the first two editions of the Concacaf Champions League. It won the old Concacaf Champions Cup five times, tying Club America for the most titles. Toluca won the Concacaf Champions Cup twice.

A Mexican club is assured of winning the Concacaf club championship a 30th time in 49 editions.

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