MLS clubs endured a mixed day in the CONCACAF Champions League with DC United advancing and New York Red Bulls crashing out.
United booked their spot in the quarter-finals with one Group Four fixture remaining after accounting for Panama’s Tauro 2-0 on Wednesday.
Chris Pontius and substitute Eddie Johnson were on target as the MLS Eastern Conference leaders made it three wins from as many games in the group stage.
Tauro languish at the foot of the group, without a win from three outings.
After a scoreless opening half at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which saw both teams hit the crossbar, United made the breakthrough three minutes into the second half in Washington.
Pontius got on the end of Samuel Inkoom’s inch-perfect cross, heading across Tauro goalkeeper Eric Hughes.
It got better for the home side just seven minutes later as Johnson doubled the lead within two minutes of his introduction.
Johnson – a 53rd-minute replacement for goalscorer Pontius – fired the ball in off the crossbar and into the net after running onto David Estrada’s back heel.
It was bad news for MLS rivals the Red Bulls, who were knocked out of the competition following their goalless draw against FAS in El Salvador.
Needing a win to keep pace with Group Three leaders the Montreal Impact, who sit five points clear, New York could not make the breakthrough at the Estadio Cuscatlan.
The visitors did have the chance to take a 35th-minute lead, but Saer Sene skied his penalty over the bar after Ambroise Oyongo was fouled in the area.
New York have only collected four points from three games and are out of contention ahead of the final group match against Montreal, who officially qualified for the last eight as a result of the Red Bulls’ draw.
In Group One, Mexican outfit Pachuca also secured their passage into the knockout round thanks to a resounding win over Municipal.
Diego de Buen, Ariel Nahuelpan, Diego Buonanotte and Jurgen Damm all scored as Pachuca routed their Guatemalan opponents 4-1.
Pachuca are five points clear of Municipal, who have already played their four allotted fixtures.
Meanwhile, Herediano qualified from Group Seven ahead of Mexico’s Leon after winning 2-1 in Costa Rica.
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