CCL Preview: Austin FC looks to rebound, Union poised to advance, and more
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CCL Preview: Austin FC looks to rebound, Union poised to advance, and more

Major League Soccer’s quest to crown a second straight Concacaf Champions League winner continues on Tuesday with its second-leg matches of the Round of 16, starting in Austin, Texas.

Tuesday’s two-match slate will feature Austin FC, which hosts Haitian side Violette AC in the opening match of the night. After a 3-0 loss in the first leg, Austin FC and its home crowd will need a serious turnaround in order to advance.

On the East Coast, the Philadelphia Union host Costa Rican side Alianza FC, the Union hope to keep their home winning streak alive in what is expected to be a defensive affair.

Wednesdays’s three-match slate starts with a trip to Costa Rica as the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Real España as the Caps look to advance into the next round. After winning 5-0 in the first leg, the Caps are in a prime position to advance.

While in Florida, Orlando City SC takes on Liga MX giants Tigres. The first leg ended in a 0-0 draw after a defensive battle in Mexico. Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese delivered a Man of the Match performance in the first leg, saving the Lions from defeat on multiple occasions.

The last match of the night takes place in Los Angeles, where Los Angeles FC faces LD Alajuelense. The defending MLS Cup Champions go into the second leg match with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Steve Cherundolo’s side is in great form, opening its title defense campaign with two wins in two games. Striker Denis Bouanga will look to extend his goal scoring streak against a familiar defense in LD Alajuelense.

Here’s a closer look at the matchups facing the five MLS teams in the Round-of-16 second legs:

Austin FC vs Violette AC

(Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET)

After a shocking result in the first leg Austin FC returns home down 3-0 on aggregate to Haitian side Violette AC.

After winning on the road against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Austin FC faces a quick turnaround for the second leg of its CCL Round of 16 match. The Verde & Black need to overcome a 3-0 deficit accrued in last Tuesday’s first leg loss to Violette in the Dominican Republic.

Philadelphia Union vs Alianza FC

(Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET)

The Philadelphia Union hope to keep its momentum going after a league win this weekend, when El Salvadoran side Alianza FC travels to Subra Park for its second leg of the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. The teams go into the match tied 0-0 on aggregate after a cagey affair in El Salvador last week. 

Alianza FC is unbeaten in Primera Division play this season, winning five of its nine league matches to date. After a 1-1 draw over the weekend the stubborn defense has only allowed three goals in 890 minutes of play. After a stellar performance last go around from defender Alexander Larin the Union will hope to break the unbreakable.

Everything is sunny in Philadelphia, after summer signing Joaquin Torres picked an opportune moment to score his debut goal in the 90th minute against a ten-man Chicago Fire to collect a hard fought three points.

Following the chippy 1-0 win Saturday night the Union have won 13 straight home matches (including playoffs), one away from the MLS record. Talk about home field advantage.

Jim Curtin and his side have created a fortress under the bridge the past two seasons and hope the home field advantage is enough to see his side through into the quarterfinals of the CCL.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real España

(Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. ET)

After steamrolling Real España 5-0, Vanni Sartini and his Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Honduras comfortably in the driver’s seat for their second-leg matchup.

Four different Players found the back of the net for the Whitecaps, who also benefited from a second-half own goal from Real España’s Devron Garcia in its Concacaf Champions League Round 16 opener. 

Defender Tristan Blackmon opened the floodgates in the first leg half-way through the first half with fellow defender Ryan Raposo shortly following pursuit scoring the second in the 59th minute of play. Forwards Pedro Vite and Brian White were able to score two insurance goals to ensure a Whitecaps lopsided victory.

Though the Caps have only one point and three goals after three matches in league play the five goal advantage should be enough to see Sartini and the Whitecaps through.

The Honduran side have won one of their last five league matches and are 12 points behind Honduran leaders CD Olimpia coming into the second leg. Real España’s match over the weekend was postponed, giving Players extra time to recover for their visit to Vancouver.

Orlando City SC vs Tigres UANL

(Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. ET)

A 0-0 draw in Mexico last week leaves Orlando City in control of its own destiny as Liga MX’s third placed Tigres UANL travel to Exploria Stadium Wednesday night.

The Lions have yet to lose in their first three MLS matches of the season, defeating the New York Red Bulls 1-0 and tying FC Cincinnati 0-0 and D.C. United 1-1. Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has posted shutouts in two of his starts this season, totaling 12 saves in between the posts. 

While in Mexico, Tigres dropped an important three points to rivals Club America. The third placed Liga MX side is goal-less in its last two matches, in desperate need of a goal or two Wednesday night.

Los Angeles FC vs LD Alajuelense

(Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET)

The defending MLS Cup winners return to Los Angeles for its second leg match with a comfortable 3-0 lead on aggregate. LAFC’s hat trick hero Denis Bouanga bagged three second half goals to earn the Black and Gold a convincing Round of 16 first leg win over LD Alajuelense.

Denis and the Black and Gold continued their goal scoring form as they routed New England FC over the weekend 4-0. The Gabon international has scored 5 goals in his last two matches, as he collected a brace from the spot this weekend.

While in Costa Rica, seconded placed LD Alajuelense took a devastating to sixth placed Santos de Guapiles. Putting them one point behind the league leaders.

 Steve Cherundolo and his side went into the second half of the first leg guns blazing when defender Ryan Hollingshead and forward Denis Bouanga linked up for two identical goals in the 47th and 70th minutes respectively. The Gabonese striker ended all hopes of a comeback for the Costa Rican side when he slotted his third goal of the night.

Here’s the remaining Concacaf Champions League first legs:

Atlas (MEX) vs CD Olimpia (HON) (Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. ET) 

Club Leon (MEX) vs Tauro FC (PAN) (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET) 

Pachuca (MEX) vs CD Motagua (HON) (Thursday, 10:15 p.m. ET) 

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