Mexican Ruins: Sporting Kansas City routed 5-1 against Cruz Azul

A Pavone hat trick and a second half offensive outburst by Cruz Azul put Sporting KC's Champions League dreams to rest.

After a promising first half, the gates of hell opened up for Sporting KC as they let in three second half goals to give Cruz Azul the 5-1 win in the second leg.

Cruz Azul ended up winning the series 5-2 on aggregate.

Things went bad early for Sporting KC as Cruz Azul broke through in the second minute. Poor defending from Ike Opara and Kevin Ellis left Pavone open at the top of the box, where he broke through the center and powered the ball past Kronberg into the top corner for the series equalizer.

Sporting KC almost got it back a few minutes later when a bad clearance by the Cruz Azul back line left Jacob Peterson all alone on the wing. He drove into the box and took a shot but a nice save from Carona kept Sporting KC off the board in the second leg.

Pavone would continue to terrorize Sporting KC in the 23rd minute when he caught a rebounded Marco Fabian shot and put in the loose ball for his second of the night. Cruz Azul was leading for the first time in the series, up 2-1.

Right as San Jose was eliminated in the other Champions League match of the night, Sporting KC gave hope to MLS' chances. Benny Feilhaber took a short corner in the 43rd minute and fired a shot near post from outside the box to give Sporting KC the goal. The goal tied up the series and gave Sporting KC an away-goal advantage.

That score would hold through the rest of the half as Sporting KC went into the locker room holding the slimmest of leads.

The second half would still belong to Cruz Azul and Pavone. In the 56th minute, Pavone received a low cross and tapped it in near post past Kronberg to grab the lead for Cruz Azul again. They led 3-2 on aggregate and 3-1 in the match itself.

The Mexicans were not done there. In the 65th minute, Fabian got a shot blocked by Kronberg and the deflection fell at the feet of Pavone, whose shot was blocked by Besler but the ensuing deflection was put in the net by Formica. Cruz Azul went up 4-2 on aggregate with that score.

The rout finally became official in the 70th minute. Gimenez found an open ball near the top of the box and put it in off the post to make it a 5-2 aggregate score.

That would be the final highlight of the match as the two teams waited out the last 20 minutes until the official blew the whistle, giving Cruz Azul the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal berth.

Sporting KC now turns their focus towards the MLS regular season with a match against San Jose on Saturday. The Quakes were also eliminated from the Champions League the same night. Meanwhile, Cruz Azul will face off against Tijuana in the semifinals where they will once again be the higher seed. There are now no more MLS teams in the tournament.

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