Concacaf Champions League: Manotas rescues Houston, Toronto FC exits quietly

There were no surprises on Tuesday for the two MLS teams in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.



The Houston Dynamo advanced to the quarterfinals when it beat Guatemala's Guastatoya, 2-1, to sweep the series, 3-1, on aggregate, but not before Guastatoya went ahead in the 72nd minute of the second game, whose start was delayed 144 minutes because of bad weather.

But five minutes later, forwards Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, who both began the second leg on the bench, combined to restore the Dynamo's series lead, and Manotas who had signed a new three-contract on Friday, added a second goal in the 85th minute to put the series away.

"The guys came in with a very good energy, mentality and good goals at the end," said Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera. "They changed the game and in 15 minutes we could change the game in our favor. We could have scored two more goals on one-vs-one opportunities, but I’ll take the fight. I’ll take that the guys reacted very well."

Houston will face Mexican giant Tigres in the first leg of the quarterfinals next Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Feb. 26 in Houston
Houston Dynamo 2 Guastatoya 1. Goal: Manotas 77, 85; Navarro 72.
Houston Dynamo -- Willis; DeLaGarza, Struna, Figueroa, Beasley; Vera, Ceren, McNamara (Boniek Garcia 79); Pena (Manotas 69), Hairston, Quioto (Elis 60).
Guastatoya -- Calderon; Dominguez, Gallardo, Corena, Pineda, Cincotta; Marquez, Aparicio, Navarro; Martinez (Reyes 85), Acuna.
Att.: 10,021.

Toronto FC came into the second leg of its series against CAI with only a faint hope of advancing after a 4-0 defeat in Panama.

Jordan Hamilton's goal in the 19th minute gave the Reds the lead, but a second goal never came and Omar Browne took advantage of some poor defending by Laurent Ciman to even the send leg and send the CCL newcomers through to the quarterfinals by the unimaginable scoreline of 5-1 on aggregate.

Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney said the plan definitely was not to go out in the first round, but TFC's exit will make the start of the MLS season more manageable.

"At the end of the day," he said, "it does put your focus in one place and it doesn’t spread your players over a number of places. You don’t have to travel the extra games and our schedule is much more open for the next two months. Hopefully, in that time we can get some guys healthy and at full fitness. We have some time now to work as a group and games we can focus on to get better."

Feb. 26 in Toronto
Toronto FC 1 CAI 1. Goals: Hamilton 19; Browne 67.
Toronto FC -- Bono; Auro (Moor 76), Ciman, Mavinga, Morrow; Delgado, Bradley, Osorio (Endoh 76), DeLeon; Hamilton, Akinola (Boyd 63).
CAI -- Guerra; Cordoba, Negrete, Torres, Vence; Browne (Corpas 85), Ayarza (Avila 83), Bolivar, Ivey; Gonzalez, Aguilar (Barrow 71)

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