Maybe playing in Mexico is becoming less daunting for Major League Soccer squads.
Sporting Kansas City made short work of Liga MX side Toluca Thursday night, winning 2-0 in the second leg of a Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 tie at Estadio Nemesio Diez. Sporting advanced to the quarterfinals after winning the series 5-0 on aggregate.
Sporting became the fifth MLS team to win a CCL game in Mexico and the third in the last two years to emerge victorious in the knockout round.
A year ago, the New York Red Bulls survived an onslaught to defeat Xolos, 2-0, in Tijuana in the opening leg of the quarterfinals. It was the first multi-goal win by an MLS team in Mexico — until Thursday night.
Toronto FC then won 2-1 after 90 minutes in Guadalajara, a result that forced penalty kicks to decide last year’s final. Chivas lifted the hardware after a 4-2 edge in the shootout.
These are the other two MLS wins in Mexico:
- FC Dallas 1, Pumas UNAM 0 (goal by Marvin Chavez), Group C, Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Mexico City, Aug. 17, 2011
- Seattle Sounders 1, Monterrey 0 (goal by Alvaro Fernandez), Group D, Estadio Tecnológico, Monterrey, Aug. 16, 2011
SKC’s two-legged dominance over reeling Toluca made more history.
Liga MX squads still have a distinct advantage, winning 41 of the 55 all-time competitive meetings. But MLS sides are 3-3-1 in the last seven CCL knockout round games.
Sporting KC win at Toluca brings MLS record to— Jonathan Yardley (@jtyardley) March 1, 2019
5-41-9 at Mexican teams in competition
7-32 in 2-leg series
3-22 in series when 2nd leg is in Mexico
Atlanta, Houston, Red Bulls are next up in #CCLFever quarterfinals!
There are three more MLS-Liga MX showdowns set for the quarterfinals, with the Red Bulls meeting Santos Laguna, Houston Dynamo taking on Tigres and Atlanta United tangling with Monterrey.