Concacaf Champions League: Late drama results in home ties for both Crew and Timbers against Mexican foes

None of MLS's three teams will head to Mexico for the return games in the lead in their Concacaf Champions League series, but at least the Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers came back from first-half deficits to salvage ties.

That's where the similarities ended.

Columbus Crew-Monterrey (2-2). Not only did the Crew come back against Monterrey, it appeared to have won the game with a goal by Argentine star Lucas Zelarayan in the 87th minute. But it could not hold on to the lead, allowing Alfonso Alvarado to equalize for Los Rayados with an open header in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The Crew will head to Monterrey without Zelarayan, who picked up his second yellow card in three games.

The call to sanction Zelarayan was one of four singled out by head coach Caleb Porter, who said the Crew deserved more than a draw.

In his postgame press conference, he referred to the officiating as a "joke" four times as well as "ridiculous" twice and "sad" twice and a "disaster" he saw coming.

The quarterfinals marked the first time VAR has been used in the Concacaf Champions League, and Porter took aim at American Chris Penso, the game's video review assistant, for two VAR decisions.

-- A play in the 34th minute when Crew forward Gyasi Zardes was wiped out by Monterrey keeper Luis Cardenas. Porter wanted a penalty kick or at least a review; and
-- A go-ahead goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips overturned for an offside call on teammate Josh Williams. Porter said there was no offside and it was certainly not clear and obvious.

“Why don’t they get the officiating sorted out?” Porter concluded. “It’s a joke."

April 28 in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Crew 2 Monterrey 2. Goal: Valenzuela 66, Zelarayan 87; Loba 9, Alvarado 90+4.
Columbus Crew -- Room; Afful, Keita, Williams, Valenzuela (Francis, 90); Diaz (Matan, 85), Artur, Nagbe, Santos, Zelarayan; Zardes (Wright-Phillips 67).
Monterrey -- Cardenas; Grijalva (Alvarado 79), Mora, Vegas, Gallardo; Layun, Kranevitter, J.Gonzalez (Ortiz, 55), Loba (Pabon 79); Hurtado (Rodriguez 56), Funes Mori.

Portland Timbers-Club America (1-1). The ending was just the opposite at Providence Park. The Timbers needed a penalty kick in the seventh minute to earn a draw with America.

On a wild scramble in the penalty area,  Costa Rican sub Marvin Loria whacked a ball that hit a Club America player on the ground and the play was whistled for a handball.

Chilean Felipe Mora converted the penalty kick to earn the Timbers the draw.

April 28 in Portland, Oregon
Portland Timbers 1 Club America 1. Goals: More pen. 90+7; Martinez 45+1.
Portland Timbers -- Attinella, Van Rankin, Mabiala, Zuparic, Bravo, D.Chara, Williamson (Paredes 70; Zambrano 77), Y.Chara, Valeri (Loria, 85), Asprilla (Bodily 85), Mora.
Club America -- Ochoa, J.Sanchez, Valdez, Caceres, Fuentes, Aquino, R.Suarez (Benedetti 78), Sanchez, Fidalgo, Lainez, Martinez (Vinas, 85)

4 comments about "Concacaf Champions League: Late drama results in home ties for both Crew and Timbers against Mexican foes".
  1. Donald Lee, April 29, 2021 at 12:36 p.m.

    Porter needs to stop whining.  The calls were right.  And I was rooting for CLB.  Perhaps he could focus on better team defense and not letting forwards go unmarked on his 6' line.

  2. Carlos Drake replied, April 29, 2021 at 1:06 p.m.

    Agreed...he's always been a whiner!  His arrogance doesn't do him any favors either.

  3. Michael In Bruges replied, April 29, 2021 at 2:01 p.m.

    There were defensive issues (as neither starting CB was first choice, due to injuries) but if you think there weren't major issues with the refereeing in that game, I'm not sure what you were watching

  4. beautiful game, April 29, 2021 at 2:03 p.m.

    Both concacaf games had delinquent refree crews and the NFL knucklehead camera crews are cluesless with their constant close-ups of pitch or bench facials or ground level disorientation. F rating for both.

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