MIAMI, Florida – The Round of 16 of the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League is in the books and there were many top performances from players of all positions.
Here is the Best XI of the 2021 SCCL Round of 16.
GK Rocco Rios Novo, Atlanta United
Pressed into duty following a red card to starting GK Brad Guzan right before halftime of the first leg at Liga Deportiva Alajuelense of Costa Rica, the 18-year-old Rios Novo performed with aplomb. Rios Novo recorded an Atlanta United SCCL six saves in a 1-0 win in the first leg and then followed that up with another clean sheet in the 1-0 second leg victory.
DF Jonathan Mensah, Columbus Crew SC
Mensah was a steady presence on the Columbus back line, helping the MLS side register back-to-back clean sheet wins (4-0 and 1-0) against Real Esteli of Nicaragua. Mensah also provided some punch going forward with a goal in the first leg victory.
DF Josue Reyes, Cruz Azul
After a scoreless draw in the first leg of their series with Arcahaie of Haiti, Reyes helped guide La Maquina to a convincing 8-0 win in the second leg in Mexico. Reyes scored a goal and had two ball recoveries in the second leg victory at home.
DF Justin Morrow, Toronto FC
Morrow ended up scoring the winning goal for Toronto FC in their 3-2 series win against reigning Liga MX champions Club Leon. Morrow’s score in the 72’ was the decisive goal in a 2-1 second leg win and was part of a Toronto FC that kept the Club Leon attack under wraps in the final minutes.
DF Jakob Glesnes, Philadelphia Union
The Union were playing in their first ever SCCL series against stalwarts Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica but the MLS side showed no signs of nerves, thanks in part to the efforts of Glesnes. Over the course of the two legs, Glesnes had eight steals, including six in the 4-0 second leg win, and nearly got on the scoresheet himself with a shot off the post.
MF Jamiro Monteiro, Philadelphia Union
Adding to the Union’s sparkling debut was Monteiro, who opened and ended the scoring for Philadelphia in their 4-0 second leg win against Saprissa. Monteiro was also a key figure without the ball, making seven ball recoveries over the course of the two legs.
MF Yimmi Chara, Portland Timbers
It is not often that a player in his first SCCL series scores a goal, yet Chara managed to triple that feat with a hat trick in Portland’s 5-0 second leg win over Marathon of Honduras, helping seal the Timbers’ 7-2 aggregate win. Chara also contributed with three steals in the second leg.
MF Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers
Portland’s second goal in the 2-2 first leg draw at Marathon was officially an own goal, but it was all down to Valeri’s magical long-range free kick which forced the deflection into net off Marathon GK Denovan Torres. The veteran Argentine also chipped in a goal of his own, along with an assist in the 5-0 second leg triumph.
FW Walter Montoya, Cruz Azul
Cruz Azul’s eight-goal evening in the second leg against Arcahaie was highlighted by a second half brace for Montoya. After several close calls in the 0-0 first leg draw, Montoya’s two goals and assist helped pave the way for a convincing second leg win.
FW Gyasi Zardes, Columbus Crew SC
Any potential nerves for Columbus in their first SCCL since 2010-11 were put to bed thanks to the play of Zardes, who bagged a first half brace in the 4-0 win in the first leg at Real Esteli of Nicaragua.
FW Vincent Janssen, Monterrey
Janssen found the back of the net in both legs of Monterrey’s 6-1 aggregate win over Atletico Pantoja of the Dominican Republic. Janssen scored the first goal for Rayados in the 3-0 win away in the first leg, before notching the second of the night for Monterrey in their 3-1 second leg win.