Posts Tagged ‘Champions Cup

03
Apr
08

CONCACAF Champions Cup: Houston vs. Saprissa DAY 1

Log line: Robertson stadium is kind but not quite kind enough.

Result: 0-0

Read: Benardo Fallas’ minutes of the match HERE

Notes:

Houston is going to be very disappointed to come out with a 0-0 draw. Away goals isn’t a problem as they aren’t counted in the CCC, but allowing Saprissa to make it a 1 game semi-final in their house isn’t very good.

There were some squandered chances and they frankly owned the game in the second half. I think Saprissa held possession for about 10 minutes at best. If Houston goes on to lose, they are going to be really disappointed that they didn’t have sharper finishing.

Corey Ashe looks like he’s rediscovered the form he had on the U-17 team and surely must be under consideration for the senior team. His pace is blistering and his ball handling is much improved. His crossing was pretty sharp as well. Basically he raised hell all night for Saprissa and very well could be the x-factor in San Jose a week from now.

It’s kinda scary but Houston probably has the best tandem of wide midfielders in the league with Ashe and Holden at their disposal.

7 days from now Houston will have it all to do down in San Jose in a wild and crazy stadium. Many people talk about the difficulty of the surface there since it’s artificial turf, but I don’t see that being as big of a factor for Houston as they often play on that wretched shit in league play.

Though it doesn’t make the job any easier. Costa Rica is a perennial power in CONCACAF and Saprissa is arguably their greatest club so there is no free lunch here.

It should be another exciting end to the tournament like we had last year.

02
Apr
08

CONCACAF Champions Cup: DC UNITED vs. Pachuca Day 1

Log line: preseason form, playing at altitude and a slightly less deep bench lose out to perfect tactical plan.

Result: DC United 0 Pachuca 2

Read a recap from the Washington Post’s Steve Goff HERE

My Thoughts:

The knock for MLS fans on the revamped (read: now worth something as it is for a slot in the FIFA club world cup) CCC has been how early it comes in the season. It’s not an illegitimate claim. One needs look no further than Superliga last year to see how a dreadful Galaxy team nearly took Pachuca down.

However, credit is definitely due to Pachuca. They remained compact and connected their passes pretty well and were disciplined. It’s not like if this match was in season for both clubs it’d be a cakewalk for DC as Pachuca is a quality side.

The altitude this early in the season never helps and Pachuca definitely used that to their advantage by playing a much more uptempo than usual game the first half. They used the same approach to their advantage against Houston last year and is a smart choice. When you are used to training at 7000+ ft above sea level you damn well better use it to your advantage. Of course, it’s not all up to them, DC needs to do something to slow the game down but Gallardo wasn’t quite given the opportunity to do that despite his otherwise stellarplay in the first half.

The biggest problem for DC on this night was the same problem they had in the season opener vs. KC:Emilio.

Emilio was electric last year early on but this year he is looking sluggish. Perhaps the excitement of a new team amped him up, but he just looks ‘off’ so far this year. If DC is going to have any chance of of winning in DC (which they do) Emilio really needs to find his form. Having Moreno back, a skilled player at holding the ball up and keeping possession while everyone else works into the attack, will also go a LONG way towards helping Gallardo dictate the pace of the game.

In the end, Pachuca used the conditions and their slightly deeper bench to their advantage and showed the class they’ve had the past 2 years. The gaffes by Zach Wells certainly helped them out as the first goal really had no business going in.

7 days from now is Day 2 and DC will have it all to do at RFK. They are very capable of winning by 2 and forcing penalties (there is no away goals rule in CONCACAF) and there is even and outside shot of winning by 3 as the center of defense looked ROCK solid, especially Gonzalo Martinez.

It should be interesting once again. It will be sad to see this tournament go, but even more exciting to see what the Champions League will bring with the expanded field and longer competition format. Very exciting days for soccer/football/futbol in the CONCACAF region. Continue reading ‘CONCACAF Champions Cup: DC UNITED vs. Pachuca Day 1’

19
Mar
08

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP: 2nd leg Houston vs. Municipal

Logline: stupid fucking FSC only runs the game once and I miss most of it since it starts too early for people on the west coast to see.

MOTM: DeRosario (according to the announcers and the highlights)

Result: Houston 3 Municipal 1

Aggregate: Houston 3 Municipal 1

Houston moves on.

Recap:

Well, as the logline stated, I missed pretty much all of the game because it starts at 5pm on the west and no one in LA gets out of work before 7pm pretty much.

From what the highlights showed and the announcers said, the 1st half was once again a cagey affair with few chances on offense.

The second half looked like it opened up a bit more. DeRosario being DeRosario took over the match and scored 2 times (once on a PK) and Houston added one more to salt the game away.

By the looks of things, Onstad came up big and really kept them in the match. It seemed like Municipal had a lot of great chances but Onstad was simply up for it.

Wish I could have seen the match.

Of the two MLS teams, I think Houston definitely had the tougher draw as Municipal is a very good team. Looking at the results, it seems to me that Houston is better poised to take the title if they make it to the final.

The Mexican teams finishing off their series’ and the opponents of Houston & DC will be determined then.

It’s shaping up to be interesting as DC and Houston look like they are much better prepared this year than they were last year.

19
Mar
08

DC United vs. Harbour View in pictures (kinda)

This site popped up ( I believe from the folks at The Offside) too damn funny.

http://harbour.view.fc.justgotowned.com/

19
Mar
08

CONCACAF CHAMPIONS CUP: 2nd leg: Harbour View vs. DC UNITED

Log line: Good 1st half, great second half

Match result: DC 5 Harbour View 0

Aggregate result: DC 6 Harbour View 1

DC United moves on to the next round.

MOTM: Lots of people you could go with here, but for sheer work rate and his assists and a goal I have to go with Fred

Recap in brief

Not too much to say. The game was much smoother. It probably had as much to do with the better field conditions as it did with DC being closer to in-season form.

Harbour View is a very athletic and physical team though their lack of tactical awareness and technical skill is what undid them in the end.

Gallardo is looking like he was a great pick up. He made a number of great passes and a few others that are a little off season rust away from slotting through for wonder assists. He is also adept at pickup fouls in dangerous positions and nearly had a wonder goal off the volley after driving a free kick into the wall.

Emilio finally reawakend from his sleep and chipped in 2 goals.

Fred was the real story. He was a man possessed in the second half and was spraying passes around all over the place and even had a nice finish to cap the scoring.

Over all you could tell about 30 minutes into the first half that DC was on the verge of taking the match by the scruff of the neck and dragging it home.

Usually I find some things wrong but there isn’t too much to complain about if you are a DC fan. They had some careless turnovers early on but how much can you complain about a 5-0 pasting in an international competition?

Harbour View could make noise at some point with their athleticism and pace, but they need better coaching and better technical skills. They have shown that they are tough at home though.

Houston Dynamo plays next and are also going into the second leg tied on aggregate. It’s looking like it’s going to be another Mexico vs. MLS semi finals. We’ll see if MLS can break through to capture another Champion’s Cup (it’s been a while since they have)

Of course, seeing as the winner of the the new Champion’s League will go to the FIFA Club World Cup and not the Champion’s Cup winner, I expect MLS will win this as it seems every the Club World Cup was put on hiatus MLS won.

Well see what happens.

13
Mar
08

CONCACAF Champions Cup Matchday 2: DC United, Harbour View, Houston Dynamo & Municipal

I will pretty much only cover the games with MLS teams in them since there are probably 90 other sites one could get the Mexican team info from. (of course if/when the MLS teams play the Mexican sides I will be covering them after all 🙂 )

First up, Houston vs. Municipal.

This, to me, was by far the better match despite the 0-0 scoreline. The superiority came and went in waves with a slight edge to Municipal for most of the first 60 minutes or so.

There isn’t a whole lot to say other than the result was probably a fair one. Neither team looked particularly sharp around the goal. (especially Municipal who missed some absolute sitters)

The skill on display was good and the match was hard fought. You’d like to see some more quality in the finishing as I stated earlier but other than that I can’t imagine either team complaining too much.

Going into the second leg it’s hard to imagine Houston losing. They are in the middle of preseason but will be near the season by the time the the second leg comes around. Plus they are TOUGH to beat at home and have a pretty good record in knockout competition. If Municipal can score early it can change everything but that will be a tall order at Robertson.

DC United vs. Harbour View was a different story. The match ended 1-1 but it was tough to watch. The pitch is partly to blame but DC’s defense looked horrid and their finishing was non-existent. That was when they actually decided to create a chance on goal. A really poor performance for them.

Gallardo had many flashes and definitely showed why they are paying him the big bucks, but they need to get Emilio back on track (which may not happen as he played ‘off’ last year when the weather was cold and it probably won’t be warm for the second leg).

They REALLY need to figure it out defensively. Harbour View was slicing through with regularity in the second half and honestly were unlucky to only get a draw from this match.

Can DC win? Sure. IF the fans show up. They are a very different team when the fans show up. However, their fans don’t exactly have a history of coming out in droves for non-league matches.

Frankly, I could easily see DC get upset if they don’t play thorough Gallardo more and work Emilio into the game better. Otherwise, it will be early showers for them.

Both clubs can’t be too disappointed with away draws but most expected a bit more from them. However, as long as they play games in preseason the results will always be more erratic. Just ask the Mexican teams in Superliga last year.

The final score will suit them but both MLS teams really need to pick it up if they expect to achieve their desired result.




MLS ASG in DENVER- by eBatty