Preparations for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals are in full swing for teams from Costa Rica, Honduras and the USA. Here is an update on all the happenings:
The Columbus Crew opened its 2011 preseason exhibition schedule on Saturday at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Arizona, playing Sporting Kanasas City to a 2-2 draw in a game consisting of three 30-minute sessions. The Black & Gold twice came back from one-goal deficits thanks to goals from Brazilian trialist Alex Fraga and Robbie Rogers from the penalty spot.
Fraga, a center back, powered a header off an Eddie Gaven corner kick past K.C. goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. The Crew’s second goal came after referee Alex Prus awarded a penalty kick when Bernardo Anor was taken down in the box. Rogers stepped up to the spot to put his shot past goalkeeper Jon Kempin in the 83rd minute.
On Tuesday, the Crew lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps with all the goals coming in the second half. A Gaven penalty in the 76th minute was sandwiched by strikes from Atiba Harris and Omar Salgado.
Next up for the Crew is a friendly against the Seattle Sounders on Thursday in Phoenix.
On Saturday, Olimpia lost to Motagua, 2-1, in the Tegucigalpa derby. The Lions trailed after only seven minutes, when Amado Guevara ‘s free kick found the net after deflecting off Douglas Caetano. In the 34th minute, Honduran international Jerry Bengtson made it 2-0 with a well-placed header. A late goal from Alex Lopez halved the deficit, but it was not enough in a match that saw a total of three red cards. Olimpia is in fourth place with seven points after five rounds.
Next game: Sunday at Platense
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake continued preseason training Sunday at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Arizona. The camp is scheduled to run through February 15, only one week prior to the first leg of Claret-and-Cobalt’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against the Columbus Crew.
After releasing five players, Real Salt Lake is currently working with a roster of twenty-five. Three squad members have excused absence for the first half of the Phoenix trip, as Jean Alexandre (Haiti), Arturo Alvarez (El Salvador), and Will Johnson (Canada) have joined their respective national teams in advance of international games on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Real drew 3-3 against the Seattle Sounders in a 110-minute exhibition in Casa Grande, Arizona. The 2009 US champion fell behind twice and lost a lead against the fellow MLS side. Head coach used the majority of his starters in the first 80 minutes.
Down 1-0, Javier Morales leveled the score in the 37th minute with a precise free kick.
Four goals were scored in the final half hour, with Collen Warner netting in the 97th and 99th minutes. A penalty kick by Fredy Montero at the end completed the scoreline.
RSL will close out its camp next Tuesday, when it holds split-squad scrimmages against the RSL-Arizona Academy U-18 team and Chivas USA.
On Saturday, Saprissa routed host Brujas 4-0 in a game that the Purple Monster dominated from the beginning. Two goals each from Alejandro Sequeira and Jairo Arrieta lifted the visitors into second place in Group A with 10 points from six games. Sequeira scored the first (3rd minute) and last goals (56th minute), while Arrieta struck in the 35th (penalty) and 37th minutes.
Saprissa has won two of its last three games, allowing no goals in those victories.
Next game: Wednesday vs. Limon