Marathon, Islanders set pace
The second round of matches in this year's CONCACAF Champions League has drawn to a close and, in a real turn up for the books, the most remarkable performances have not come from Mexican or US sides. In a genuine shot in the arm for football's "little guys", Honduras' CD Marathon and the Puerto Rico Islanders are the only two sides with 100 per cent records thus far. Here we take a closer look at all the action from this week's games.
Group A: Catracho power
Before the group action got underway, who would have predicted that established regional forces Cruz Azul, Deportivo Saprissa and DC United would be trailing in the wake of CD Marathon of Honduras? Nevertheless, that is exactly what is happening after the Catracho outfit followed up last week's 2-0 home victory over Cruz Azul with another 2-0 success over visitors DC United at their fortress-like stadium in San Pedro Sula.
Goals from Milton Nunez and Erick Norales put paid to DC's hopes in Wednesday's clash and ensured the Hondurans continued to set the Group A pace. Their closest challengers are the Mexican Clausura 2008 runners-up, who thumped Saprissa 4-0 in Mexico City. The 2005 CONCACAF champions slumped into third place after this heavy defeat, though they remain three points clear of DC United, who are yet to pick up any points thus far.
Group B: Giving youth its head
The second section is led by Pumas UNAM of Mexico, who currently lie second in their domestic championship. Much credit is due to coach Ricardo Ferreti, who has successfully blended a number of talented youngsters with the club's established stars.
And it was two of these youngsters who paved the way to a 3-0 victory over El Salvador's Luis Angel Firpo on Wednesday, David Cabrera scoring a brace and Orlando Pineda also finding the net. In the group's other match, USA's MLS champions Houston Dynamo came away from their visit to Panama City with a valuable 0-0 draw against San Francisco FC.
Group C: Impact making presence felt
Canadian sides are not known for making a splash in regional club competitions, but Montreal Impact are proving an exception to the rule. Having beaten Trinidad and Tobago's Joe Public 2-0 in their first game, on Wednesday they followed it up with a notable home 0-0 draw against Mexican outfit Atlante.
The Azulgrana themselves lie second behind the Canadians on goal difference, with Honduras' Olimpia a point behind after a vital 3-1 away win over bottom side Joe Public in Port of Spain.
Group D: Islanders out on their own
A few years ago the thought of a Puerto Rican side battling toe-to-toe with the region's big boys would have been unthinkable. Not anymore. The Puerto Rico Islanders have made a 100 per cent to Group D after building on their opening 2-1 home win over Tauro of Panama with Tuesday's 3-1 success on home soil in Bayamon over Mexican champions Santos Laguna.
The defeat sends the Torreon powerhouses into third place in the section, after Tauro overtook them with a 2-1 home win over Guatemalan champions Municipal. The Guatemalans have yet to earn a point so far, but have the opportunity to reclaim lost ground in their next game when they welcome the high-flying Islanders to Guatemala City.
Marathon 6 points (+4)
Cruz Azul 3 pts (+2)
Deportivo Saprissa 3 pts (-2)
DC United 0 pts (-4)
Pumas UNAM 4 points (+3)
San Francisco 2 pts (0)
Houston Dynamo 1 pts (0)
Luis Angel Firpo 0 pts (-3)
Montreal Impact 4 points (+2)
Atlante 4 pts (+1)
Olimpia 3 pts (+1)
Joe Public 0 pts (-4)
Puerto Rico Islanders 6 points (+3)
Tauro 3 pts (0)
Santos Laguna 3 pts (-1)
Municipal 0 pts (-2)