19 July, 2010

Superliga - Second Game

An interesting second set of games in the MLS vs. Mexico Superliga, when each team plays an opponent from their own nation. Two of the teams that won their first game won again to clinch advancement to the semifinals: the New England Revolution defeated Chicago Fire 1-0 and Puebla defeated Pachuca 3-1. The other teams tied each other; Morelia tied UNAM Pumas 2-2 and Houston Dynamo tied Chivas USA 1-1.

The New England Revolution has officially eliminated Chicago Fire from the competition with a 1-0 victory, on a 76th minute goal by Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic. The Fire weren't really interested in victory, benching their best player Brian McBride (who came on as one of three halftime substitutes), while the Revolution were completely serious about winning, starting their stud goalkeeper Matt Reis. Late in the game with the Fire hoping to hang on to a 0-0 draw, rookie defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe turned the ball over to New England's Kheli Dube of Zimbabwe, who passed it to Perovic for the winning goal.

Also in Group B, Morelia, the group leaders after game 1, surrendered control of the group to their next opponent, New England, by tying UNAM Pumas 2-2. Winner of the New England/Morelia match wins the group. Las Monarcas seized a 1-0 lead on a goal by Luis Gabriel Rey, his second of the tournament. Pumas then had two goals called back for offsides and also struck the post twice. Hugo Droguett of Chile increased Morelia's lead to 2-0 in the second half. But Pumas fought back and scored two late unanswered goals by Leandro Augusto (a Brazilian-Mexican) and second half substitute Javier Cortes to tie the game in the 86th minute.

In group A, Puebla clinched advancement by defeating Pachuca 3-1. Prior to the match, Pachuca were the favorites, but are now eliminated from the tournament. Gabriel Pereyra scored off a cross from Andres Olivera to put Puebla up 1-0 early. In the second half, Pachuca's "other" star forward Dario Cvitanich, an Argentine-Croatian, was red-carded and the game was all but over. (Pachuca's first star forward is, of course, Herculez Gomez of Las Vegas NV). Mario Ortiz of Puebla scored two goals with the man advantage to put Puebla up 3-0, until Colombian Franco Arizala scored a meaningless consolation goal for eliminated Pachuca.

Lastly, Chivas USA managed to stay alive in the Superliga by tying Houston Dynamo 1-1. Houston scored almost immediately, on a play by Ghana's Dominic Oduro to beat the defense and set up Jamaican Lovel Palmer for an easy goal. Chivas USA got rough, collecting several yellow cards, and Houston fought back, fouling Chivas USA captain and only USMNT player Jonathan Bornstein so hard that he had to be replaced by a sub. Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall kept Chivas USA off the board until the 71st minute, when Rodolfo Espinoza of Mexico found Jesus Padilla (who was born in San Jose, CA, but strangely enough is Mexican, as the child of Mexican parents. Padilla plays for Guadalajara and is on loan to Chivas USA), who tied the game.

The standings now look like this:

Win Draw Loss Points GF GA
Group A
Puebla 2-0-0 6 5 2 (advance to semifinal)
Houston 1-1-0 4 3 2
Chivas USA 0-1-1 1 2 3
Pachuca 0-0-2 0 2 5 (eliminated)

Group B
NE Rev 2-0-0 6 2 0 (advance to semifinal)
Morelia 1-1-0 4 7 3
Pumas 0-1-1 1 2 3
Chicago 0-0-2 1 6 (eliminated)

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