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Concacaf Champions League: Houston Dynamo eliminated by Tigres UANL

Carlos Salcedo of Mexico's Tigres (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the second game of the quarterfinal of the CONCACAF Champions League football match between Tigres and US Houston Dynamo AJ at the Universitario stadium in Monterrey, Mexico on March 12, 2019. (Photo by Julio Cesar AGUILAR / AFP)

The Houston Dynamo fought hard until the end, but it wasn’t enough to overpower their experienced rival. After falling to Tigres UANL 1-0 at Estadio Universitario Tuesday night in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico, the Dynamo were eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League.

Houston had an uphill fight even before kickoff of the second-leg quarterfinal match. La Naranja had to score at least two goals to keep the dream alive and three goals to get to the next round, but once again the Mexican team denied them any scoring celebration. Carlos Salcedo scored Tuesday’s lone goal in the 68th minute to help Tigres close out the tie with a 3-0 aggregated score.

Tigres will advance to the CCL semifinals for the third time in four years and face fellow Liga MX side Santos Laguna, which eliminated MLS’ New York Red Bulls earlier in the night.

During the first 45 minutes of Houston’s match, the score was even, but Tigres UANL had the majority control of the ball. The Dynamo still found several pockets to threaten goal. Tommy McNamara had the final touch on the two most dangerous plays in the first half, but he failed to finish.

The first attempt was a gift from Tigres’ defense, but McNamara couldn’t control the ball and executed poorly. A similar situation occurred on the second attempt. After precise passes from his teammates, McNamara awkwardly hit the ball and it slowly headed to the goal — an easy target for Salcedo to clear for a corner kick.

MONTERREY, MEXICO – MARCH 12: Julián Quiñones of Tigres fights for the ball with Alberth Elis of Houston Dynamo during the CONCACAF Champions League at Universitario Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) 

Los Felinos didn’t have many opportunities to open up the scoreboard, but in the second half took advantage of their rival’s vulnerability when Maynor Figueroa, vital to the Dynamo’s defense, left the field to recuperate from a hard fall. Salcedo capitalized on the man advantage and blasted the ball into the net from just outside the six-yard box.

With two more MLS teams eliminated from the tournament, once again questions have been raised about the quality of Major League Soccer and whether the league schedule poses a problem for players participating in international tournaments. By the time the MLS season begins, Liga MX has been playing for a month. 

Two MLS teams remain in the tournament: Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City, last year’s MLS Cup champion and Western Conference leader, respectively.

Atlanta will host Mexico’s CF Monterrey at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday. The Five Stripes trail 3-0 entering the match. Sporting KC hosts Club Atlético Independiente de la Chorrera of Panama at Children’s Mercy Park for an 8 p.m. ET match. SKC trails CAI 2-1 in the aggregate score.

MONTERREY, MEXICO – MARCH 12: Fans of Tigres cheer the team during the match between Tigres UANL and Houston Dynamo as part of the CONCACAF Champions League at Universitario Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) 

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