The ghost of Concacaf Champions League failure’s past seemed to bite Toronto FC on Tuesday night, as they lost 2-1 at home in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League final. Chivas scored just a couple minutes in, stunning Toronto FC and their fans. Toronto got back in the game in the 19th minute with a goal by Jonathan Osorio. But Toronto gave up a goal late in the second half, largely precipitated by an error by Alex Bono. Bono has been excellent in this competition, but last night was not his night. Toronto has been tremendous in this tournament, but they have dug themselves a real hole in this series, and will need an impressive effort in Mexico in the second leg to claim this title.
Rafa Marquez has had a storied career, both on the club level and international level. One of his less successful stops though was his time with the New York Red Bulls, which he joined after his time at FC Barcelona. Marquez was there during the era when the Red Bulls imported successful stars who had made their names in Europe, like Thierry Henry, Tim Cahil, and Marquez. Marquez was the least impressive of the three, never really worked out, and he acknowledged as such in an interview. “When I left Barcelona I became frustrated in New York because I was used to a standard and requirement, a high level of training and intense games. Coming to a different standard, I was honestly out of place. I couldn’t do it.” Marquez also expressed how he hopes to be playing for Mexico in the 2018 World Cup, but he is still working to clear his name after being sanctioned for an alleged connection to drug traffickers. Marquez has enjoyed a nice stint in Liga MX since he left the Red Bulls, and another World Cup trip would be a testament to Rafa’s rejuvenation.
In another expression of how far ahead in terms of quality Bayern are over the rest of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich smashed Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 to reach the DFB Pokal final. Thomas Muller had a hat trick, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery put on vintage performances, and the whole team seemed to just click and ran rampart of a Bayer team that had been doing well up to this point. Bayern will be happy to be in another final, and will hope this good form continues as they get set for their Champions League match up against Real Madrid.
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