Concacaf Champions League: Haiti's Violette ousts Austin FC, Philadelphia Union romps

Haiti's Violette pulled arguably the biggest upset in the history of the Concacaf Champions League when it ousted Austin FC in the opening round of the 2023 competition.

A pair of goals by Argentine star Sebastian Driussi gave Austin FC a 2-0 win on Tuesday night, but it was not enough to overcome Violette's 3-0 win in the first leg played last week in the Dominican Republic.

In the early days of the Concacaf Champions League, Caribbean teams enjoyed success against MLS teams with Joe Public and W Connection from Trinidad & Tobago and the NASL's Puerto Rico Islanders eliminating MLS teams, but they were all in the preliminary round.

Violette is the first Haitian team to win a series in the Concacaf Champions League and first Caribbean team to advance to the quarterfinals in the tournament's 15 seasons.

Violette was awarded the 1984 Concacaf Champions Cup when the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms and Guadalajara failed to agree on dates for their semifinal series and both were kicked out of the tournament. It qualified the Concacaf Champions League in 2023 as the 2022 CFU Club Championship winner.

Visa entry issues prevented Violette from bringing a full team to Austin, where it dressed only 14 players and no backup keeper. One of the starters was 21-year-old winger Maudwindo Germain, who was signed as an emergency call-up from New Jersey amateur power FC Motown. Another starter, Dumy Fede, played for FC Motown in 2022.

Violette keeper Paul Robert Decius was kept busy all game -- Austin FC finished with a 35-6 edge in shots -- and made a diving save on Driussi on the final kick of the game in the 11th minute of stoppage time.

The added time included a lengthy delay for a Video Review of a possible foul on Gyasi Zardes in the penalty area. Jamaican referee Oshane Nation refused to award a foul and penalty kick that could have brought Austin FC all the way back from the 3-0 aggregate hole it dug itself.

March 14 in Austin, Texas
Austin FC 2 Violette 0. Goals: Driussi 51, 63.
Austin FC -- Stuver, Vaisanen (Lima 78), Kolmanic (Lundkvist  58), Gallagher (Bruin 81), Ring, Pereira, Finlay (Fagundez 46), Rigoni, Driussi, Wolff, Zardes.
Violette -- Decius, Oracius, D.Pierre, Ciceron (Saint-Louis 90+5), Saint-Félix, Saba, Germain. L.Pierre (San Millan 75), Fede, Guillaume (Lambert 81), Chery.

The Philadelphia Union became the first MLS team to clinch a berth in the quarterfinals when it beat El Salvador's Alianza, 4-0, at home after the first leg ended in a 0-0 tie.

Alianza lost Alexis Montes with a red card in the 41st minute. The first Union goal came five minutes later from Damion Lowe in stoppage time.

The Union will meet Mexico's Atlas in the quarterfinals. Atlas had better luck than Austin FC, coming back from 4-1 down in the first leg to beat Honduran club Olimpia, 4-0, in the second leg and advance to the quarterfinals.

March 14 in Chester, Pa.
Philadelphia Union 4 Alianza 0.
Goals: Lowe 45+1, Gazdag 62 pen. Perea 81, 84.
Philadelphia Union -- Bendik; Wagner, Lowe, Harriel, Glesnes, McGlynn, Martinez (Bueno 66’), Bedoya (Perea 65), Gazdag (Donovan 83), Carranza (Sullivan 76), Torres (Uhre 66).
Alianza -- Gonzalez, Mancia, Romero, Montes, Canales, Rivas, Orellana, Portillo, Mercado (Hernandez 88), Maldonado, Zelaya (Murillo 70).

1 comment about "Concacaf Champions League: Haiti's Violette ousts Austin FC, Philadelphia Union romps".
  1. Andrew Megas, March 15, 2023 at 11:55 a.m.

    Violette FC. What a great story. Knocking out Precourt FC in Austin is a classic. Garber should send a sympathy to card to his handshake agreement expansion team.

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