The CONCACAF Crown has been officially handed to Chivas of Guadalajara. After a rollercoaster tournament, Chivas will officially represent the region at this year’s Club World Cup, thanks to a penalty shootout win over Toronto FC.
The match started out with Chivas controlling the rhythm of the game, and after 19 minutes, Rodolfo Pizarro found a cutting Orbelín Pineda in the box. The pass was just right, as Pineda took a touch and slotted home the go-ahead goal. It looked like it could’ve been the dagger, but Toronto FC had a response of their own six minutes later. Jozy Altidore received the ball in front of goal and tapped in the equalizer.
Things for Chivas got even more uneasy when Sebastian Giovinco put home a shot to give Toronto FC a 2-1 lead just before halftime. The 2-1 scoreline meant that if Toronto FC scored one more, Chivas would need two goals, otherwise, the 2-1 would send the teams to penalty kicks.
Despite a poor ending to the first half, Chivas began to control the game. There were a lot of opportunities to get the advantage on Toronto FC, yet, nothing transpired. After 90 minutes, it all came down to penalty kicks.
Defender Oswaldo Alanís stepped up first and converted with ease. For Toronto, Sebastian Giovinco hit the ball just right to even the kicks, 1-1. After El Rebaño went up 2-1, Jonathan Osorio took a shot and hit the crossbar to give Chivas a glimpse of hope at ending victorious.
As Ángel Zaldívar stepped up and made it a count of 4-2, Chivas only needed a stop to claim the CONCACAF title. Midfielder Michael Bradley was up for Toronto and his shot sailed over the crossbar, solidifying Chivas as champions of the CONCACAF.
Along with being crowned champions, Guadalajara helped continue Liga MX’s streak in the tournament, which dates back to 2006. This edition of the CONCACAF Champions League was an intriguing one, filled with intense matches. Not many people could’ve predicted Toronto FC reaching the final by getting past two strong Liga MX sides, just as many couldn’t have predicted a struggling Chivas side taking out Toronto FC.
If there’s one thing we walk away with after the 2018 tournament, it’s that CONCACAF Champions League fever is going to remain until the next edition kicks off.