Club América upset the Philadelphia Union 2-0 in the first leg of their Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League series thanks to a first-half goal from Richard Sanchez and a penalty in the second half converted by Emanuel Aguilera.
The win gives América the leg up as it looks to reach the SCCL final for the third time in its history, though the Union will still hope to put in a strong showing in the second leg and move on.
The first goal came in the 17th minute. Sanchez didn’t let the fact that teammate Sebastian Cordova’s free kick hit the wall discourage him. The América midfielder stepped up and smashed the deflection back on goal, with his shot glancing off Philadelphia midfielder Daniel Gazdag’s back and flying past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake for the opening goal of the series.
Just before halftime, América pushed for a second goal, as Mauro Lainez dashed to the end line and put in a low cross, but Jakob Glesnes coped with the danger with a strong clearance.
In the 76th minute, Sanchez went down in the box, felled by contact from Jose Martinez. Martinez had dashed back into his own area after giving away possession to América’s Álvaro Fidalgo. Fidalgo quickly found Sanchez, whose move to get the ball on his left foot was interrupted by a sliding Martinez. After a review triggered by the Video Assistant Referee, a penalty was awarded.
América defender Emanuel Aguilera stepped up and sent the kick to Blake’s right as the goalkeeper dove to his left, doubling the advantage for Las Águilas, who then were able to control possession for the majority of the remaining time as the Union made modifications to try and find a critical away goal, with the best opportunity a late header from Alejandro Bedoya that brought América goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa into action in stoppage time.
Instead, their task at home on September 15 is that much more difficult. The teams meet that night at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania for the second leg of the tie with the winner advancing to face either Monterrey or Cruz Azul in the single-match final.