Archive | July, 2008

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Tébily waived

Posted on 31 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

As reported on this website last week, Toronto FC defender Olivier Tébily has left the club by mutual consent.

The French defender, who can play at right back and centerback, has been waived. Fansites were awash with rumours last week that the former Birmingham player was keen to return to France after his family had difficulty settling in Toronto.

“Olivier has decided that he wanted to be closer to his family in France,” TFC general manager Mo Johnston was quoted as saying on the matter. “We wish him all the best.”

The departure of the versatile squad player leaves TFC thin on the ground with Marvell Wynne playing in the Olympics this month. Kevin Harmse is still injured, while Julius James’ performance on the right side of defence in Salt Lake on Monday will hardly have inspired confidence from head coach John Carver, leaving Marco Vélez and youngster Nana Attakora-Gyan the natural options to deputize at right back.

Tébily played 234 minutes in the three months he spent with Toronto, starting three matches and coming on as a substitute in another.

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Revs defeat Atlante 1-0 in SuperLiga semis

Posted on 31 July 2008 by L.E. Eisenmenger

Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium, the New England Revolution played their biggest game this season in front of a small crowd of 8,302 to defeat Mexican Apertura champion Atlante 1-0 in the SuperLiga semi-finals. Shalrie Joseph headed in the solo goal off a Steve Ralston free kick in the 30th minute. It was Joseph’s second game-winning goal in as many games. The Revolution now advance to the finals Tuesday, Aug. 5, where they will face another longtime nemesis, the Houston Dynamo.

The game turned ugly, with 14 cards issued and four players ejected, most in a post-game fracas at midfield. Atlante played a short, quick passing game in the first half, forcing the Revs to modify their wide, crossing style of play. “We were prepared for that,” said Jeff Larentowicz, who stepped into the backline for Michael Parkhurst. “We knew they like to tuck their wide midfielders inside and push guys forward and we were prepared and our wide midfielders knew how to handle it.”

The match began to spin out of control when Joseph was fouled to the turf and Chris Albright forced Gabriel Arreola out of bounds to where warming-up players became involved in the action. The referee managed to calm the situation without cautions, which may have inadvertently help enable the melee that eventually ensued.

Larentowicz hinted at this after the match. “I think there were times when the referee could have gotten control,” he said. “I mean, someone gets fouled in our box and their goalkeeper runs 110 yards to get come and get involved?” The Brown University alum also seemed to think the different sums of bonus money may have contributed to Atlante’s conduct. “You put a million dollars in front of anybody, they’re going to play hard. If they lose, they’re going to be that much more upset. Obviously, we came in here with a smaller prize, but we wanted to play as hard – we’re at home – and we got the result we wanted.”

Luis Gabriel Rey, who scored three goals for Atlante in SuperLiga, was ejected first for punching Joseph in the stomach in the 85th minute. Alan Zamora was next, ejected for his second yellow in stoppage time. Ejected in the subsequent fracas were goalkeeper Frederico Vilar, and Heaps for retaliating after being punched in the face.

Matt Reis was irate about the general conduct of the Mexican teams in the SuperLiga tournament. “If you look at the tape of every game that one of the teams from Mexico has lost, they’re all screaming and yelling at the referee. They have people from their staff coming on taking shots at people. The referee doesn’t call the game, we get guys bladed, and we’re doing all this for 15% of the prize. So in the end, we’re not happy – we’re not happy with the way things went down, but we played a good game, and all they wanted to do is come here and fight us. Guys from their team, guys from their staff just came in and start swinging and hitting people from behind – cheap shots.”

The Atlante staff refused to comment after the match, and coach Steve Nicol was critical of their behavior. “The referee can only give yellows and reds, he can’t stop people from losing their discipline … At the end of the day, the players have to discipline themselves as well. They lost their discipline … The one thing that really disappointed me is that there was one member of their staff on the field throwing punches, and that is unacceptable.”

The loss of Heaps, after the call-up of Parkhurst and the unexpected retirement of Chase Hilgenbrinck, is a major setback to the Revolution’s defense. Former Liverpool defender Nicol noted, “Jay Heaps being sent off is a real blow. I’m hoping the referee will look at it and see whether he made the right decision. Jay said the guy punched him – but he got sent off. Hopefully the referee can look at it and see he made an error in judgment and will speak up for it.” If Heaps’ ejection stands after review, the Revolution will likely start solid newcomer Chris Tierney or fast track young defenders Rob Valentino or Sam Brill, whose starting experience is limited to the Open Cup.

The Revolution may face Atlante twice more in the CONCACAF tournament, and considering the current tally of 26 cards and seven ejections in two match-ups, these games will turn a floodlight on the increasing Mexican/MLS rivalry.

Match Facts

New England Revolution vs. Atlante July 30, 2008 – Foxborough, Mass. (Gillette Stadium)
Scoring Summary: NE – Shalrie Joseph (Steve Ralston) 30

Lineups:
New England Revolution: Matt Reis (GK), Amaechi Igwe, Jay Heaps, Jeff Larentowicz, Chris Albright, Mauricio Castro (Khano Smith 64), Shalrie Joseph, Steve Ralston ©, Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally (Adam Cristman 79), Kheli Dube

Substitutes Not Used: Doug Warren (GK), Wells Thompson, Chris Tierney, Taylor Twellman, Brandon Tyler

STATS: Shots 17; Shots on Goal 5; Saves 4; Corner Kicks 2; Offsides 2; Fouls Committed 17

Atlante: Federico Vilar (GK) ©, Gerardo Castillo (Luis Venegas 39), Javier Munoz Mustafa, Jose Guerrero (Edgar Trujillo 80), Arturo Munoz (Fernando Navarro 50), Christian Bermudez, Gerardo Espinoza (Ismael Valadez 90), Alan Zamora, Giancarlo Maldonado, Daniel Arreola, Luis Gabriel Rey

Substitutes Not Used: Gerardo Ruiz (GK), Andres Carevic, Mario Hernandez

STATS: Shots 8; Shots on Goal 4; Saves 4; Corner Kicks 6; Offsides 7; Fouls Committed 23

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Amaechi Igwe (caution) 27
NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 52
ATN – Giancarlo Maldonado (caution) 53
ATN – Gerardo Espinoza (caution) 56
ATN – Fernando Navarro (caution) 71
ATN – Alan Zamora (caution) 84
ATN – Luis Gabriel Rey (ejection) 85
NE – Chris Albright (caution) 85
ATN – Federico Vilar (caution) 85
NE – Adam Cristman (caution) 90
ATN – Alan Zamora (second caution/ejection) 91+
ATN – Javier Munoz Mustafa (caution) 95+
NE – Jay Heaps (ejection) 95+
ATN – Federico Vilar (ejection) 95+

Referee: Carlos Batres
Referee’s Assistants: Amato De Luca (SAR), Joe Fletcher (JAR) Fourth Official: Mark Geiger

Attendance: 8,302

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Chivas and Fire to battle without big guns

Posted on 31 July 2008 by Steve L. Hernandez

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With Sacha Kljestan and the newly-acquired Brian McBride on duty with the National Team, and Preki and MLS All-Star Game MVP Cuauhtemoc Blanco both out due to suspension, the second and final match-up of the season between Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire will be played sans a large amount of starpower.

Contrary to the first match-up of the season, however, Chivas will be mostly healthy. Lawson Vaughn returns to MLS action this week after having played against New England in Chivas’s SuperLiga finale, giving Chivas’s acting head coach Mike Matkovich a bevy of options on the backline. Further, with Alecko Eskandarian and Maykel Galindo both having practiced this week, and one or both possibly being available for the match, Chivas may have its full stable of strikers to choose from for the first time this season. Pairing either of these dangerous speedsters with the ageless and en-fuego Ante Razov, who has scored in six consecutive competive matches, just might give Chivas enough firepower to overcome the absence of their top playmaker for at least this week.

Chicago, on the other hand, is looking to put an end to a streak of its own. Having gone scoreless in consecutive matches, the Fire will look to a patchwork offensive unit to try and get on the scoreboard. Already down the recently-deported Chad Barrett (traded to Toronto for McBride), the loss of its moody Mexican star leaves the Fire with only three regular starters with double-digit shots for the season: Justin Mapp (28 shots, 2 goals), Chris Rolfe (14, 4) and John Thorrington  (12, 4).

On the bright side, Barrett’s replacement is unlikely to be able to miss worse than Barrett did on a few occasions in the last matchup between these two teams and Blanco’s absence will give the league’s best defensive team one more player with at least a modicum of defensive responsibility.

With both teams missing their respective charismatic playmakers, look for a low-scoring affair at Toyota Park Saturday evening.  Prediction: 1-0 Chivas over the suddenly spark-less Fire.

Kljestan, Guzan, and Flores Representing the Red, White, and Blue

Kljestan and still waiting for a British work permit Brad Guzan started in the US Olympic team’s scoreless draw with Ivory Coast on  Wednesday, July 30.  Chivas 19-year old winger Jorge Flores played the full 90 for the US Under-20 squad in its 3-1 loss against hosts Northern Ireland in the Milk Cup on Monday.

Injury Report (from MLSnet.com)

Fire: OUT: FW Calen Carr (L knee sprain); PROBABLE: DF Dasan Robinson (R ankle sprain)

Chivas: OUT: MF Raphaël Wicky (R ankle surgery), DF Alex Zotinca (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Justin Braun (L knee contusion), MF Eric Ebert (L groin strain), FW Alecko Eskandarian (sports hernia surgery); FW Maykel Galindo (Sports hernia surgery), FW Ante Razov (L knee sprain); PROBABLE: MF Atiba Harris (R ankle sprain), DF Carey Talley (R hip strain), DF Lawson Vaughn (L ankle tendonitis)

GAME NOTES

Chivas USA (6-6-4, 22 pts, 4th place in Western Conference) @ Chicago Fire (7-5-5, 26 pts, 3rd place in Eastern Conference)

Saturday, August 2 – 7:30 p.m. CT (5:30 p.m. PT)

Chivas USA defeated the Fire 2-0 at home on June 19. All-time, Chivas USA holds a 4-2-1 (W-L-T) record against Chicago, and has not lost to the Fire since 2005…Francisco Mendoza, Chivas all-time leader in regular season minutes with 8,308, could play his club-record 99th game for Chivas this weekend, should he appear in the match…Chicago defender Diego Gutierrez is also suspended for the match, due to yellow card accumulation…Jesse Marsch (1998-2005), Ante Razov (1998-2004), and Jim Curtin (2001-2007) are all former Fire players… Assistant Coach Mike Matkovich, who will be in charge of the team during the game on Saturday due to Preki’s suspension, is a Chicago native and coached various teams in the area for almost 20 years.

Broadcast Information:

Television: HDNet, FSN-West, KAZA Azteca 54 (Pregame shows to start at 5:00 p.m. PT on FSN-West and Azteca)
Radio: W Radio 690 AM (Pregame show to start at 5:00 p.m. PT)

Weather Forecast:

Mainly sunny day with a high of 84 degrees. Forecasted to be around 75 degrees at gametime. 10% chance of showers.

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Earthquakes Look to Prevent Series Sweep

Posted on 31 July 2008 by Evan White

For the first time since June 10, the Earthquakes will have the luxury of playing two home games in a row. Although this week’s “home” game will be played at McAfee Coliseum on Sunday at noon, the San Jose players haven’t spent this much time in the Bay Area in months. Unfortunately the LA Galaxy will feel right at home in Oakland. This will be the second LA-SJ matchup in the Quakes three games in at McAfee Coliseum. Between the on-field familiarity and frenetic faithful, the Los Angeles Galaxy will have an unusual level of comfort for a road game. Aside from the throngs of David Beckham fans, the Earthquakes must be ready for the media circus set to roll in to town.

While the playoff hopes might be dashed, the Earthquakes have plenty to play for in the chance to salvage one game from their bitter rivals. So far the Galaxy have controlled the season series, winning both of the previous games. The latest match ended in a 3-0 romp for LA, as Edson Buddle completed his second hat trick of the season to route the Quakes. Despite the tough loss, the David Beckham attention tidal wave did spur the largest Earthquake home crowd in history, with an attendance of 39,872.

It has been a busy week for San Jose’s players and front office. On Sunday they returned home with a few fresh faces to take on the New York Red Bulls. The defense did not allow a goal, but the game still ended in a 1-1 tie. Four minutes in to the game, Red Bull Dave van den Bergh sent a non-threatening long cross in to the San Jose box. Defender Eric Denton attempted to head the ball back to keeper Joe Cannon, but the ball slipped over Cannon for the own goal. The rest of the game was nearly spotless for San Jose, as they played what Yallop referred to as one of their best efforts in the post-game press conference.

“The first half was probably the best that we’ve played this year. We obviously gave them an early goal, but throughout the game, I never felt threatened even though they had, I think, one of the best players in the league on the field. Finishing is the thing that we are struggling with right now, but that will come.”

Just nine minutes after their own goal, the Earthquakes were able to equalize off a Ronnie O’Brien throw in. The new acquisitions did not wait long to have a major impact, as Scott Sealy received the O’Brien throw in with his back to the goal. Sealy’s quick shot was deflected away by keeper Jon Conway, but the rebound was quickly throttled by Darren Huckerby for the first goal of his MLS career. The two have started to forge an early chemistry, as Huckerby was able to adjust his play off of Sealy’s tendencies.

“I have been watching Scott [Sealy], he tends to turn and shoot pretty early so I knew he was going to shoot, but I didn’t know if the goalkeeper was going to drop it or not. He dropped it and I don’t tend to score many tap-ins, but it counts the same as a long shot, so I’m pretty pleased with it.”

San Jose brought in another big name this week, acquiring Arturo Alvarez from FC Dallas for a first round pick in the 2009 SuperDraft and allocation money. This will be Alvarez’s second tour of duty with the Earthquakes, as he was originally drafted by them in 2003. In press release John Doyle displayed his excitement for the new addition, and the multitude of positives he brings with him.
“Arturo is a dynamic attacking player who should fit in well with our team… He can play both in midfield and at forward so he also has great versatility, which is important for us as we continue to build our team.”

Alvarez scored 11 goals and had 11 assists in 86 appearances for FC Dallas, establishing himself as a young weapon who will contribute for many years to come. As San Jose has been acquiring forwards throughout the season, they traded one away this week as well.
Forward Kei Kamara was sent to Houston in exchange for allocation money and a 2009 SuperDraft first round pick. The Sierra Leone native has scored two goals for the Earthquakes in 12 games, including 11 starts.

The Galaxy are coming off a 4-0 loss at the hands of FC Dallas, who were able to slow the Los Angeles attack. Kenny Cooper provided two goals for Dallas, while Dominic Oduro and Abe Thompson each slotted a goal of their own.

The game was an all around poor performance by the Galaxy, providing a sentiment of frustration that the Earthquakes are hoping to replicate. David Beckham tore in to his team in a press release after their loss to FC Dallas, clearly unhappy with the club’s effort.
“We didn’t deserve to win, we didn’t play well, we didn’t start the game well and our effort was bad to start the game. So there’s nothing really positive to take from the game. The best team won on the day and congratulations to them but we’ve got a lot to work on. We have to forget this game now and try to think positive about the game next weekend.”

San Jose’s defense has been especially spectacular lately, and will need to continue as so against one of the league’s most potent offenses. The Earthquake backline has allowed only 3 opponent goals in the past 5 games. If the new additions can make continue to make big contributions, the Quakes will finally get their first win at “home field” McAfee Coliseum.

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DC United hopes rest and refocus will snap skid

Posted on 31 July 2008 by Chris Snear

Jaime Moreno sounded like a broken record, uttering eerily the same words he did over a month ago when DC United was mired in a stretch of eight games without a win.

“We’ve been in this situation before and it’s disappointing because overall you do want to do better but we keep making the mistakes we’ve been through already,” the Bolivian forward said. “We talk about it and it keeps happening.

“We’ve had a good three days of rest and we go back to work with set mind in the right place. It’s been good practice so far and hopefully we can bring that to the game.”

With no players named to the All-Star team for the first time in their history, a disappointing run of home losses, and a rash of injuries to critical players in critical roles, things once again look disconcerting.

After an early June match in Chicago, United’s schedule for the next two months consisted of 10 consecutive home games. But coming off the all-star break, United is reeling from four straight home losses at RFK Stadium, a franchise record, after winning their first five home matches, that included two US Open cup match wins at the Maryland SoccerPlex in suburban Washington.

The four losses, the first three in SuperLiga competition with the fourth being a less than inspiring effort against Houston in a league match, were preceded by a seven game unbeaten run.

United is still the only team in MLS not to record a shutout in league play. Their only clean sheets were against the inferior Jamaican side, Harbour View, in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the USL side Rochester Rhinos in the Open Cup.

United will conclude the long home stand this Saturday night against the Kansas City Wizards. Both Marcelo Gallardo and Gonzalo Martinez are still out recovering from hernia surgery and Santino Quaranta is questionable nursing a hamstring.

DC will also be missing versatile defender Gonzalo Martinez who received a red card in the marathon 2-0 loss to Houston last Wednesday.

In that match and the previous SuperLiga match against Houston four days earlier, United was barely competitive. The rigorous schedule, playing two games a week for the three weeks prior to the all-star break, clearly has left the team weary.

“We were a little tired as a team,” said midfielder Clyde Simms. “Going two games a week for a month almost is tough and taxing. I think the biggest thing is to get our legs back.”

The recent run of poor play at home has boosted the confidence of any team coming in to play United and shattered their seeming invincibility at the esteemed old stadium. The loud and passionate fans are still intact and so is the bigger field which has always been conducive to their possession style of play.

The cohesive and menacing attack however is missing and the rock solid defending has been AWOL all season.

United averaged a shade below three goals per game in their first eight home matches but scored a total of four goals in the three SuperLiga matches and the Houston loss. United captured the Supporter’s Shield the previous two season, amassing an impressive 19-5-7 league record at home in the process. Both those seasons, however, ended with home playoff loses.

“You treat your home as a sacred environment, an atmosphere where teams come in and it’s a tough place to play,” said defender Bryan Namoff. “That was always the mentality when teams came in here they knew they were in for a long haul; they knew they were in for a tough game and we kind of let that slip..”

Namoff started as a center back against Houston for the first time in his career but was moved back to his customary right back position 25-minutes after Houston scored five minutes earlier.

“I’ve always sensed that we’ve had the momentum, that we have always had the confidence when we were at home against other teams,” Namoff continued. “I think teams have taken a step back against us when we are on and when we are clicking on all cylinders, when everyone is playing and the chemistry is there, we’re keeping possession of the ball and we have ten guys that are on the same page.”

Head Coach Tom Soehn removed rookie Pat Carroll in favor of attacker Rod Dyachenko, adding another attacking option in hopes of sparking some type of fluidity to get the equalizer.

Several young players including Carroll, who played respectably before being removed, will get opportunities to impress Soehn in the coming month. United sits in fourth position in the Eastern Conference and is still alive in the US Open Cup.

They will also open home-and-home play in CONCACAF Champions League play with Cruz Azul (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and a team to be named later.

“It’s a great opportunity for the young guys to step up and do their thing,” said Moreno. “Obviously it’s not that easy to do everything but at the same time you gotta work as a team and at the same time you just can’t look at Luci (Luciano Emilio), and myself, and guys with experience to do everything.

“Sometimes that might work but it’s not going to work all the time. They are working hard to earn their place and earn their chance but having said that it’s just a matter of them taking that chance and if not we’ll see what happens.”

Carroll should see time in the back while Ryan Cordeiro, Craig Thompson, and Joe Vide, a midfielder who was recently acquired from San Jose, could see significant action in roles to which they are not necessarily accustomed.

“We have to look to the depths of our bench to secure these positions where players have been out,” said Namoff. “You are probably going to see some players who have had limited time trying to step in and play a bigger role than they are normally expected and that is something we are going to need just with the amount of games we have coming up.”

“They are all good players so we have to instill that confidence in them and let them know that they are able to play in this league and we are behind them,” added Simms about the insertion of the young players. “I think that’s the biggest thing-the confidence and we might have a different mentality going into games missing some of our attacking options.”

With that in mind, Soehn focused his training on getting numbers behind the ball and not giving up goals, according to Vide, not a method of play United as a team is accustomed to playing.

“Maybe, I don’t know,” Moreno said, about Soehn’s implementing a more defensive philosophy with his shortage of attackers. “We don’t have a clean sheet this year so it’s definitely something Tommy is thinking about.”

United Notes: Forward Jaime Moreno has been called in to the Bolivian National Team for their international friendly against Guatemala at RFK Stadium next Wednesday.

Moreno joined Bolivia for two World Cup qualifying matches last October, playing against Venezuela and as a reserve against Colombia.

What did players do on their break? With United’s busy schedule getting in the way, Bryan Namoff took a “Quasi-Honeymoon” with his relatively new bride at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, Virginia’s only 5-Star restaurant about 90-minutes outside of the city.

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McBride saga over, Barrett joins TFC

Posted on 31 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

The long-running negotiations between Toronto FC, Chicago Fire and MLS officially came to an end on Wednesday with Brian McBride joining his home state club Chicago in return for young striker Chad Barrett and a first round draft pick in 2009.

Toronto were first in the allocation rankings, a position that gave them bargaining power when former U.S. international McBride announced his desire to rejoin the league following the 2007-2008 season with English club Fulham. Toronto used that slot to acquire the former Columbus Crew forward before trading him to the Fire for Barrett and a draft pick, a consideration that TFC general manager Mo Johnston had insisted on.

Originally, rumours had indicated that only Fire starlet Justin Mapp or  Chris Rolfe would suffice for Johnston, but Barrett and the draft pick could yet prove a fine piece of business for the Canadian club.

Barrett’s arrival may mean the end of Jeff Cunningham’s career in Toronto. The 99-goal man has been overlooked lately with 16-year-old Abdus Ibrahim and Jarrod Smith getting the nod up front in recent matches.

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It’s on! SuperLiga final is all-American MLS Cup rematch

Posted on 30 July 2008 by ASN Staff

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One day after the Houston Dynamo eliminated Pachuca in the first SuperLiga semifinal, the New England Revolution beat Atlante 1-0 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., to join them in an all-American final between last year’s MLS Cup opponents. After the final whistle Wednesday, the scene on the field quickly disintegrated into a shoving match, much as it had a night earlier at Robertson Stadium. The final will be played at Gillette Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 5.

Who will win it? Vote below and defend your choice in the comment field below.

{democracy:12}

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It’s official! McBride to Fire for Barrett

Posted on 30 July 2008 by ASN Staff

The Chicago Fire have acquired hometown hero Brian McBride from Toronto FC in exchange for Chad Barrett, a draft pick and “future considerations.”

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Dynamo advance to Superliga Finals

Posted on 30 July 2008 by Dwain Capodice

After being eliminated from both the CONCACAF Champions League and the Superliga last year at the hands of Pachuca, the Houston Dynamo were able to dish out payback at Robertson stadium on Tuesday night. The 16,669 strong Dynamo fans were treated to a very well-played game and thrilling second half as the MLS Champions defeated the reigning Superliga Champions 2-0.

Houston entered the game missing Stuart Holden and Patrick Ianni who were off at the Olympics. Eddie Robinson was a scratch as a result of getting sick–not the hamstring injury that he tweaked at DC United. As a result, Houston coach Dominic Kinnear took a huge risk and paired midfielder/forward Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell in the center of defense together. Pachuca seemed to use a one forward formation starting Bruno Marioni alone up top, but Marioni usually had company in the form of Damian Alvarez who frequently joined in the attack.

Houston came out firing early and almost got a quick lead. A Brad Davis free kick was cleared but the ball fell to DeRosario thirty yards from goal. Dwayne DeRosario perfectly one touched the ball to collect it and ripped a shot that was saved well by Tuzos keeper Miguel Calero.

The home side continued to pressure the ball and Pachuca started out a bit out of sorts missing some easy passes and losing possession early. In the 35th minute, DeRosario had the best chance of the first half when he intercepted a pass deep in Houston’s end. DeRosario found Ricardo Clark who calmly controlled the ball as DeRosario made a long run up the left. Clark fed him perfectly and DeRosario beat Tuzos defender Leobardo Lopez to the ball. DeRosario chose to shoot on goal though instead of pass to his two forwards and Calero once again came up big to keep the score level.

While it took Pachuca a bit to get its sea legs for the match, they settled down in the second part of the first half by feeding Alvarez and Gabriel Caballero repeatedly and letting them work some of their magic. The second half was a whole different story though. Pachuca came out on fire and took the game to Houston repeatedly. The home side barely managed to touch the ball in the first 15 minutes and the Tuzos missed numerous chances to take the lead. Within two minutes, a header and a shot from a tight angle by Bruno Marioni were both saved well by Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad.

A corner kick clearance fell right to Lopez at the top of the box. He cut back perfectly, but his effort was saved again by Pat Onstad. The ensuing corner kick again fell right to Lopez, but Onstad saved that effort as well, falling backwards with one hand. The Mexican side looked to have taken the lead in the 59th minute. Juan Rojas sent in a great ball to Gabriel Caballero who was making a diagonal run. Caballero’s first time effort slipped between Pat Onstad’s legs. The linesman raised the flag indicating the play was offsides, but replays clearly indicated that Caballero was onside.

Dominic Kinnear subbed out Brad Davis who was having a poor game, inserted Corey Ashe, and more importantly switched the Dynamo from the 4-4-2 they customarily play to a 3-5-2 moving Geoff Cameron up to his more natural midfield. Houston started to regain some possession and in the 65th minute a Nate Jaqua’s diving header flashed just wide of goal.

The possession slowly started to pay off with set pieces and the defending MLS Champions looked to take advantage of their size. In the 77th minute, a Dwayne DeRosario corner kick found Craig Waibel who sent the ball to the far post. Man of the Match Bobby Boswell crashed the far post and directed the ball into the net to give Houston the lead. Boswell gave credit to his teammates for the goal, “there wasn’t much for me to do… It’s tough to mark us on set pieces… There wasn’t a whole lot of traction going off his [Waibel’s] head and I was just in the right place and I did what I needed to do to put it away.”

That wasn’t enough for Houston though as they continued to take advantage of a deflated Pachuca team. After Brian Ching missed an open header in front of the box wide, Ching and DeRosario exchanged passes and found Brian Mullan on the right whose cross to the far post found Corey Ashe wide open. Ashe calmly headed the ball down low and past Calero as Houston finished off Pachuca 2-0 in the 87th minute.

Ashe felt a bit of vindication after getting red carded last year against Pachuca, “it always feels good to score. A player like myself doesn’t score a lot. Coming into this game…I wanted to bounce back from last year because I felt like I let the team down. This year, I wanted to help the team out. Obviously tonight, in the semi-finals against Pachuca, I came out and was fortunate to get the goal.”

After the game, some tempers flared and words were exchanged between the two teams and more importantly between Pachuca and the referees. Tuzos midfielder Damian Alvarez felt done in by the officials, “It was a difficult game; all games against the Dynamo are difficult. Our only complaint was against the referee, who did a poor job of controlling the game. I think Pachuca was very superior to the Dynamo in spite of the fact that they scored two goals and won. They were more effective, and that’s how they won the game.”

New Dynamo acquisition Kei Kamara had thoughts on playing teams from Mexico, “it’s always like that when they’re losing at the end of the game, it’s always going to be little brawls here and there. It’s good though to play teams from other leagues so you know where you stand as a footballer.”

Pachuca president Jesus Martinez also commented after the game, “the goal we scored was perfectly fine and it was taken away. This is the same referee that we had to face a few months ago in the CONCACAF Champions Cup with the same tendency of damaging us. This game had the same bad disposition because it wasn’t only a goal that was called off, but there were a lot of fouls that he didn’t call in our favor. This is not only against Pachuca; this is against all Mexican teams.”

Coach Kinnear though focused more on how his players performed, “it was an excellent win. My players played well and worked hard. It was a good way to win. We knew tonight was going to be a difficult night, but we scored some great goals, and the crowd definitely enjoyed it as well.”

Dynamo midfielder Dwayne DeRosario was happy to get a little revenge against such a quality opponent, “this is huge for me because Pachuca I definitely wanted to beat because they are a great team and now we have to look forward to the final.” Houston faces the winner of Wednesday nights semifinal between the New England Revolution and Atlante for the $1 million dollar prize awarded to the winner of the Superliga.

Match Facts

Pachuca (1-2-1) vs. Houston Dynamo (3-1-0)
J
uly 29, 2008 — Robertson Stadium

Scoring Summary:
HOU — Bobby Boswell 1 (Dwayne De Rosario 1, Craig Waibel 1) 77
HOU — Corey Ashe 1 (Brian Mullan ) 87

Lineups:

Pachuca — Miguel Calero, Carlos Rodriguez (Luis Montes 70), Leobardo Lopez, Julio Manzur, Juan Rojas, Fausto Pinto, Damian Alvarez, Gabriel Caballero (Paul Aguilar 72), Jaime Correa, Jose Torres (Jose Maria Cardenas 83), Bruno Marioni.

Substitutes Not Used: Edwin Borboa, Christian Correa, Rodolfo Cota, Marco Perez

Houston Dynamo — Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Bobby Boswell, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 62), Geoff Cameron, Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario (Chris Wondolowski 92+), Nate Jaqua (Kei Kamara 68),

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Brown, Tony Caig, Mike Chabala, John Michael Hayden

Stats (Houston Dynamo, Pachuca):
Total shots: 12 (3 tied with 3) 12 (Bruno Marioni 5)
Shots on goal: 6 (Dwayne De Rosario 3) 3 (Leobardo Lopez 2)
Fouls: 11 (Brian Ching 3, Dwayne De Rosario 3) 10 (4 tied with 2)
Offsides: 1 (Dwayne De Rosario 1) 3 (Gabriel Caballero 2)
Corner kicks: 4 (Dwayne De Rosario 3) 5 (Damian Alvarez 3)
Saves: 3 (Pat Onstad 3) 4 (Miguel Calero 4)

Misconduct Summary:
PAC — Jose Torres (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
PAC — Leobardo Lopez (caution; Dissent) 33
HOU — Ricardo Clark (caution; Reckless Foul) 37
PAC — Damian Alvarez (caution; Dissent) 86
PAC — Bruno Marioni (caution; Reckless Foul) 90
PAC — Paul Aguilar (caution; Reckless Foul) 94+

Referee: Neil Brizan
Referee’s Assistants: Darren Clark; Hector Vergara
4th official: Baldomero Toledo
time of game: 1:55
attendance: 16,679
weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 89 degrees

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Crew prepare to dance with Dynamo

Posted on 30 July 2008 by Jim Baird

It’s the number two team in the West versus the number two team in the East this Saturday when the Houston Dynamo square off against the visiting Columbus Crew.

The match will be the second time the clubs meet on the pitch this season, Columbus won the first contest 1-0 April 26th in Crew Stadium.

Both teams are fighting to maintain their pace in the race for conference supremacy.

A win for Columbus would put them into first place in the East with 34 points, one point ahead of New England. For Houston, a victory Saturday would put them a point behind Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake.

The Dynamo and the Crew each enter the match coming off shutout road victories.

Last Sunday the Crew earned to a 2-0 victory at Colorado. The Black-And-Gold capitalized on sparse offensive chances scoring two goals on three shots. On the defensive end, keeper Will Hesmer earned a clean sheet in a six save performance.

Houston notched a 2-0 victory in their last league match at D.C. United on July 23rd. The Dynamo will be on short rest this week due to Tuesday night’s Superliga semifinal, which saw them defeat Mexican side Pachuca 2-0.

Other Notes:

Columbus will be without the services of rookie Steven Lenhart for the match. Lenhart received a straight red card for an elbow near the end of the first half last weekend against Colorado.

Game Time: 8:30 pm EST

TV: ONN, FSC, FSE

Radio: 610 AM WTVN (Columbus)

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