Ilie Sanchez

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CONCACAF Champions League roundup: MLS 0-4 in 1st legs

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Major League Soccer’s four CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalists require second leg comebacks to find places in the semifinals after Sporting KC and Atlanta United lost on Thursday.

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The New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo both lost 2-0 at home on Tuesday, while Atlanta and KC were on the road for the following setbacks.

Independiente de la Chorrera 2-1 Sporting KC

Peter Vermes’ men were considered MLS’ best bet heading into the round, and remain so after collecting an away goal in Panama.

Sporting mainstay Ilie Sanchez converted a 51st minute penalty kick to level the score line after Romeesh Ivey gave Independiente a halftime lead.

Alexis Corpas restored Independiente’s advantage heading back to Sporting KC.

Vermes’ men face the Philadelphia Union in league play before the second leg next week.

Monterrey 3-0 Atlanta United

A pair of late goals took Atlanta’s poor night to a level of despair as the Liga MX hosts gained a three-goal advantage without conceding an away goal to the Five Stripes.

Atlanta was outshot 17-5 and managed just a single shot on target despite Frank De Boer starting a threatening front three of Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez, and Ezequiel Barco.

And here’s your exclamation point:

Sporting KC locks up four mainstays including Besler, Zusi

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Sporting KC likes its corps.

Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, Ilie Sanchez, and Roger Espinoza have signed new multi-year contracts with the MLS outfit.

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Besler, 31, has appeared in more matches for Sporting than other player in club history, and the 32-year-old Zusi is not too far behind. The latter’s success since being moved to right back under Peter Vermes has been profound.

Coach Peter Vermes isn’t worried about the ages of the quartet. Sanchez is the youngest of the group at 27, but Espinoza is 31 like Besler. From KansasCity.com:

“We think all of them are in their prime,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “We just feel they have a lot of years left to give.”

While Besler hasn’t had an exceptionally strong season, the other three have been quite good for third-place KC. Zusi and Sanchez have played every league minute for the club, while Espinoza’s six assists trail only Daniel Salloi (7) on the team.

Sporting have played the fewest matches in the West, and sit four points back of the Western lead with a match-in-hand on LAFC and FC Dallas. They close the season with matches against each.