Advertisement

FC Dallas knocked out of CONCACAF Champions League by Pachuca's injury-time goal

FC Dallas didn’t need to become the third American club team to win a competitive game on Mexican soil.

All it had to do was become the ninth to tie a game there. That would have done the trick, preserving the 2-1 lead Dallas had established in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal first leg at home three weeks earlier.

[ Follow FC Yahoo on social media: Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr ]

Instead, the 2016 MLS regular season champions and U.S. Open Cup winners – one of the best teams Major League Soccer has produced in its 21 seasons – became the 39th to lose in Mexico. On a heartbreaking, injury-time goal.

Chucky Lozano’s second goal of the game in the second and final minute of injury time, a trickler that skipped in at the far post untouched, made it 3-1 to Pachuca and 4-3 on aggregate. That sent the Mexican side through to the final and prevented the Texans from becoming just the third MLS team to get there.

Chucky Lozano
Chucky did the most damage to FCD. (CONCACAF)

For a spell, things had looked promising for Oscar Pareja’s team, as it created chances. Even when it went down 2-0, Cristian Colman’s out-of-nowhere goal in the 86th minute appeared to send the contest to extra time.

But then things turned out the way they almost always seem to when an MLS team ventures south of the border in search of the respect the league craves from finally wresting a continental title from Liga MX – which has produced all eight winners in the CONCACAF Champions League era, and the three before that as well. No matter the considerable effort Dallas had made in preparation for the second leg, arriving in Hidalgo a week before the game to acclimate.

Pachuca, three-time CONCACAF champions in the last decade, threatened first. In the 18th minute, a free kick by Jonathan Urretaviscaya was nodded just over Chris Seitz’s goal by Raul Lopez.

Dallas, undaunted, began to create chances, though. Colman went first. Sent through by Roland Lamah on a counterattack, he blasted a rocket at Alfonso Blanco, but the goalkeeper parried as the Paraguayan should have done better.

Then, Carlos Gruezo got to the back line and had two teammates to cut back for with an open goal. Instead, he sent a square ball to nobody.

In the 38th minute, Lozano created the goal that put the home team ahead on aggregate, courtesy of its away goal in Dallas. He swung in a bouncing cross and Franco Jara nodded in his second goal of the series.

There were suspicions of offside, although the goal was allowed to stand.

Dallas regrouped in the second half. And after the hour, Lamah found the streaking and excelling Kellyn Acosta, whose hard, low cross was just out of the reach of Michael Barrios and rolled behind instead. Or maybe Barrios should have done better with it and scored.

Walker Zimmerman then had a header cleared off the line by Emmanuel Garcia. But in the 80th, Lozano seemed to deliver the final blow with a long blast to the near post that surprised and beat Seitz.

But six minutes later, Colman redirected a long shot by Gruezo.

As all American soccer endeavors in Mexico seem to be, however, the entire thing was ultimately doomed. In the 92nd minute, Lozano dropped a cross behind the line, and it wasn’t touched by anyone as the defense bungled its offside trap (What in the world was Maynor Figueroa doing? and was then preoccupied by Victor Guzman’s run.

The ball bounced in behind Seitz.

On April 19, Pachuca will face the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal second leg between Tigres and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who must overcome a 2-0 deficit at home.

Barring some miracle, it will be the seventh all-Mexican final in nine editions of the North- and Central-American tournament in this format.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.