2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, Group B, Match Day 4.
Columbus Crew (13-7-5, first in MLS Eastern Conference) vs. Santos Laguna (6-0-2, first in Group 1 of Mexican Primera División Apertura) at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
All-time series: Santos lead 1-0.
Tuesday 8 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer Channel
With the group stage of the Champions League past the halfway point, Santos are first in the four-team group with seven points (2-0-1); the Crew are second with six (2-1). The top two teams advance to the knockout stage and the winner Tuesday can almost assure passage.
In the first meeting, Columbus fell controversially in Torreón, Mexico, 1-0 on Aug. 24, on a goal three minutes into extra time by Jorge Estrada.
A goal by the Crew’s Andy Iro was disallowed in the 23rd minute on a decision that still baffles Robert Warzycha & Co. Emilio Renteria was deemed to have illegally entered the field before setting up the goal. He had changed into an unnumbered jersey and the Crew said they were told that was why the score did not count.
Later, the referee stated Rentería had not been given permission to re-enter despite video proof to the contrary. The Crew are champing at the bit for a bit of revenge.
Los Guerreros were stunned in their last CCL match when Municipal of Guatemala overcame a two-goal deficit to tie visiting Santos 2-2 on Sept. 14. In league play, however, Santos are riding some momentum.
They defeated visiting Necaxa 2-1 last Saturday and are tied with Monterrey atop the league table. Santos trailed 1-0 before Panamanian Felipe Baloy scored in the 45th minute and, on a familiar-sounding note to Crew fans, the winner came in the 93rd minute by Ecuadoran Christian Benítez for his team-high ninth goal.
It really shouldn’t be a surprise since Santos have scored 25 percent of their league goals from the 80th minute and beyond.
Backup 'keeper Miguel Becerra has been in goal since relieving the injured Oswaldo Sánchez earlier this month. Becerra has also started all the Champions League matches this year.
The Crew’s last CCL venture was a relatively easy 3-0 win over Joe Public of Trinidad on Sept. 14 in Crew Stadium.
Leandre Griffit scored in the 47th minute with a clever bending ball from the left side of the box. Garey followed four minutes later on a snap header off an Emmanuel Ekpo service and Steven Lenhart added a 79th-minute tally.
After last Saturday’s embarrassing 4-0 home loss to Seattle Sounders FC, Columbus want quick redemption.
“Any time you go on the field, the last game is ancient history,” midfielder Eddie Gaven. “It’s good we have another game [Tuesday].”
Heroes & Villains
Oribe Peralta vs. Crew back line: The Torreón-born forward usually starts for his hometown Santos in Champions League matches and may again in Columbus. He was a handful in their first meeting, and his elbow to Rentería’s right eye went unpunished and started the whole bloody mess with the jersey fiasco.
Stat that makes you go, “Hmm...”
Santos' tie last week at Municipal snapped their four-game winning streak in the Champions League.