Category Archives: USL

3 matches and no real shocks in the CONCACAF CL

Robbie Rogers

So Tuesday saw the opening of the CONCACAF CL group stages, and here we would receive the opening matches from groups B and C on the night.  The other match played on the evening was from Group D, and in all honesty the result came out as one would expect.  So for those of you following along with me, here are a few words on the two matches I was able to watch and I will make sure to drop the score line from the Group D game as well.

UNAM (Mexico)  1 – 0  Comunicaciones (Guatemala)

Columbus Crew (USA/MLS)  2 – 0  Puerto Rico Islanders (PR/USL-1)

I was not sure what to expect out of this match, but I have to say I always saw Columbus as the better side in this one.  PRI would be missing a few players to injury and suspension, while Columbus had back their Argentinian leader Schelotto and hard nosed front man Moreno.  The match would be played by both sides as expected, with PRI trying to attack through the long ball and Columbus relying on a number of creative passes to create chances.  Columbus looked the better side from the start but could not find the net in the first half, taking the match into halftime at 0-0.

Going into the second half, the Crew coaching staff, seeing that they were the dominant side, would make a change to their lineup by bringing in another big attacker in Steven Lenhart to pair with Moreno up top.  This would work for the Crew, and in the 57th Lenhart would find the net on a cross from central defender Chad Marshall.  This goal would give the side the lead they needed to be able to bring off Schelotto, who is just back from injury, and use their strong defense to close out the match.  I had no doubt about the result of this match after Columbus went up, but they surprised me as Robbie Rogers picked up a deflected cross in the box and slotted it home, taking the Crew up 2-0 and all but guaranteeing their win.

Columbus showed well on their first night, but with their group makeup I would not go writing them into the later rounds just yet.  Their group also contains Costa Rican side Saprissa and Mexican side Cruz Azul, both teams very tough.  So in the end the Crew got the result they needed, as it looks like the rest of the way might be an uphill battle.

Marathon (Honduras)  3 – 1  DC United (USA/MLS)

DC’s run of bad form continues.  This is all I could think as I watched the match against the Hondurans.  If you watched you would think that DC had the better of the possession and that they looked dangerous on multiple occasions, but I do not think you could say that you thought they would win this one.  Having beaten DC handily last season in the CCL, Marathon knew what to expect from a DCU team, even if there were some new faces on the pitch.  The Hondurans for their part, started out slow in this one, making even the announcers think DCU had some sort of advantage.  The match should have only been 2-1 in the end, but a bonehead encroachment move on a penalty by a DCU player brought the saved penalty by Josh Wicks back to be taken again, at which time Mario Berrios finished his second attempt.

The Hondurans looked dangerous on the counter all night, as a slower DCU back line could not keep up when a ball was played long forward to the Marathon front men, and it was at one of these moments that Marathon’s Walter Martinez would find the opening goal; coming in the 23rd minute after a defensive blunder.  DCU would strike back right after the break though with a header that left Luciano Emilio bloodied and highly ineffective for the rest of the evening.  Try as they might DCU could not find another goal in this one, and in the 78th, Honduran International Jerry Palacios found the net for the goal that would put the Honduran side ahead.  Insult to injury would be added from the penalty spot late, but with a busy schedule coming up; DCU will get on with it and return to DC to await the Galaxy of the MLS at the weekend.

DC do not look like they will make it out of the group stages at the moment, but as we have seen many times before, you cannot base the final from the first performance.  The side currently looks to lack the talent to compete at this level, but with the transfer window still open, there could be more bodies on their way in.  Marathon should be dangerous in this group with their combination of speed and attacking, but this match would not be one they would want a repeat performance of.  Had DC been a better side the result could be very different, but Marathon made it work and fought through a performance that was not up to their skill level.  The return leg of this one should make for an interesting match as DCU will now be looking for their first win in 4 against the Hondurans.

So there is the wrap on Tuesday night’s CONCACAF CL action, there are a few more matches this week, but the TV coverage is spotty and only showing the MLS sides I think.  I will update with them as they come in, but I would not expect much in the form of an in depth story, as many of the matches in these early rounds will not be shown.  So until next time, tune in to some MLS, CCL, or any of the other footy that has now started up around the world.

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Filed under Comunicaciones, CONCACAF, CONCACAF CL, FMF, Marathon, Puerto Rico Islanders, Rest of the World, UNAM, Uncategorized, USL

Disappointment, Redemption, Expectation – Leg 2 of CCL

Well last night started out the second leg of the Preliminary Round of the CONCACAF Champions League, becoming one of triumph and defeat. I was only able to catch two of the matches, since the 3rd was played at the same time as the second with no repeat airings, so here is what I saw and I will insert the score of the 3rd match at the end for those following the results with me.

Dwayne De Rosario

Puerto Rico Islanders 0 – 0 Toronto FC

**PRI advance on 1-0 aggregate scoring

Now I could go on telling you how the USL is an American league as well and that PR is part of the U.S. or even that TFC is Canadian, but I won’t. TFC played poorly is what it all boils down to. In both matches TFC had opportunities that they squandered and PRI made the most of one chance and played defense, not perfectly but enough to get through. Toronto failed to produce a single goal in this two legged tie and should feel bad about it given the chances they failed to capitalize on. In the second leg TFC pushed for the entire 90 minutes, though looking dangerous at many points, never managed to put it together in the final third to score. This is the third match I have seen Ali Gerba play for TFC and the most dangerous thing I have seen from him was a deflection against New England in league play that led to a Dwayne De Rosario goal. The finishing was poor, the passing in the final third was poor, and the overall play by TFC was lacking. While TFC was happy to make their first appearance in CCL play, they were disappointing to watch and deserved the early exit they have now received.

MLS: MAY 30 United at Revolution

Luis Angel Firpo 1 – 1 DC United

**DC United advance through PK win after extra time.

I could say Firpo was surprising, but it was more along the lines of DC played poorly again in the CCL. They will advance, but unless something changes in the group stages they will be disappointed in the CCL again this season. Firpo came into the match tied 1-1 on aggregate, but having scored the away goal they held the advantage. DC had no excuses on this night in El Salvador as they fielded a strong squad to start the match, minus rookie sensation Chris Pontius and the new guy Danny Szetela. Both men would see action on the night though. Firpo would earn a PK in the 39th when a ball would strike a DC’s Marc Burch on his outstretched hand from a free kick, and on the ensuing pk Leandro would put Firpo up 1-0, increasing Firpo’s advantage. DC had held much of the match up to this point and would change nothing as three minutes later in the 42nd Christian Gomez would equalize for the MLS side. The rest of the match was played with DC in control for most of the time and Firpo not looking exactly dangerous on the counter, but nothing would come of DC’s pressure and the match would see extra time. Extra time would pass with neither side finding the breakthrough, though DC’s Da Silva would earn a red card in the 118th minute of play, leaving DC to finish out the last few minutes with 10 in order to take it to penalties. This was not a storybook ending for DC, but they took the PK Shootout 5-4 and will now advance for the first time in a few years, also becoming on of the few MLS sides who have managed to qualify while playing in Central America. The result was good for DC, but unless their play picks up before the group stages, it looks as though they could find themselves right back at home before the knockout stages begin.

APER SOC CALERO

Deportivo Jalapa 1 – 7 Pachuca

**Pachuca advance 10-1 on aggregate

In a match that looked promising to be exciting, the final score line does not disappoint. Jalapa scored on a penalty and Pachuca, who there was in no danger going into this match, missed one penalty. There was one hat trick in the match and 5 different goal scorers for Pachuca. They side looks strong going into group play and will not disappoint those who enjoy watching good football be played.

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Filed under CONCACAF CL, DC United, FMF, MLS, Pachuca, Puerto Rico Islanders, Rest of the World, Toronto FC, Uncategorized, USL