Sporting Kansas City was pushed to the brink in a 3-0 win over Independiente de la Chorrera but finally broke through to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League 4-2 on aggregate on Thursday.
The MLS side came into the match trailing 2-1 after the first leg in Panama and was far and away the better team throughout the first half but failed to find an opening goal.
Graham Zusi came closest in first-half stoppage time, forcing a fine save by Independiente keeper Jose Carlos Guerra from a curling 25-yard free kick as the teams went into halftime tied 0-0.
Sporting was again forcing all the action after the break with Zusi forcing another save from Guerra and then turning Johnny Russell away on the doorstep from the rebound.
The hosts finally found the goal they needed in the 74th minute when Krisztian Nemeth redirected a Botond Barath header following a corner past Guerra.
Roger Espinoza doubled Sporting’s lead soon after, blasting a close-range shot into the roof of the net and Nemeth scored his second before full-time to put the match away for good.
Sporting KC will join three Mexican clubs in the semifinals. The lone MLS team remaining will face Monterrey and Tigres is paired with Santos, with the first legs set for Wednesday, April 3.