If we had ranked Major League Soccer’s trio of Champions League survivors by order of best chance to advance in the regional tournament after one leg, it would surely look like this.
L.A. Galaxy first, and easily so, followed by Seattle and then Houston. (We know how Seattle turned out now. Congrats, Sounders!)
Indeed, Dominic Kinnear’s team has 90 minutes of hell ahead. And the situation is probably more daunting than it appears at first glance.
Yes, the Dynamo takes a 1-0 lead into Mexico for Wednesday’s second-leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. That was courtesy of Brad Davis’ late goal in last week’s first leg. “Not bad,” you may say.
But the reality says that is one skinny puppy of a lead, considering a big stack of history that spells out exactly what Kinnear’s team is up against tonight down in Mexico.
The last time an MLS team carried a slim lead into Santos’ Estadio Corona, they got absolutely clobbered by U.S. international Herculez Gomez and his mates. It wasn’t even close, as the Sounders lost a year ago in Torreon in the quarterfinal second leg by a 6-1 score.
Pull the lens back and we see that no MLS team has ever eliminated an Mexican side from Champions League knockout play. Former Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson, now a broadcaster for the club, said holding Santos scoreless would be “one of the greatest achievements in the history of the organization.”
I think if the Dynamo get through the first 15 minutes without conceding up a goal, I think there is absolutely a chance the Dynamo can advance. That being said, the Dynamo are going to need to get a goal. Because Santos, you look at what they’ve done to MLS team in CONCACAF Champions League play, they are a goal-scoring machine. I love the Dynamo, but Santos is going to score.”
So what’s the formula, according to Robinson? Score a goal, hold Santos to one or two and advance. (Houston would go through off a 2-1 loss on the away-goals rule.)