Superliga Group B Matchday 2 Stream of Conscious

17 July 2008

New England Revolution 1 v Pachuca 0
* I want to take a look at the disallowed goal a second time. It appeared to me that the two players who were offsides at the delivery of the ball were not the two that ended up playing the ball.

* Good through ball by Aguilar for Pachuca's first half, but even better from Reis to not only save but to eventually hold on.

* If Khano Smith had played more regularly with New England this season, would he have hit Kenny Mansally in stride?

* I would like the referee to explain to me exactly where the foul was on Calero by Dube. They got tangled up, no one fouled anyone. Play should have continued. The fact it didn't was a joke.

* There was a reason Gimenez's centering ball found no one, Parkhurst and Heaps were perfectly marking the Pachuca forwards. Add Reis getting into the mixer and Pachuca was not going to get a shot on goal.

* Phelan and Parkhurst would have to take all the blame if Alvarez would have put Pachuca up completely against the run of play.

* This game is following almost same exact script to Houston's game last night against Chivas de Guadalajara. New England had plenty of scoring chances but in my opinion, did not have the best chance of the first half. That would go to Damian Alvarez who really should have finished. This is also one game I feel that has benefited from playing on the turf as the pace of the game has been exceptional. While it took 40 minutes for Pachuca to get use to the turf, how much longer will they be able to hold up thanks to the cross country trip they just took?

* Where was the man running onto Calero after he mishandled Dube's shot?

* Nyassi should have gotten Mansally's cross and it should be 1-0 to New England. Dube will be frustrated at himself for not hustling enough to get to the follow up chance.

* Alvarez will regret missing the shot from distance. I think it may have been his best chance of the evening.

* Plenty of 'so close but yet so far' in this second half from both sides.

* I don't think Calero expected Dube's shot to reach him that quickly. Still a decent reaction save.

* It would have still gone out for a corner thanks to Igwe's deflection, but Aguilar was for the first time that I can remember tonight able to beat his marker.

* Thoughts go out to Pat Phelan. That was one nasty hit.

* I have to give the referee credit for getting the penalty right. Mansally's cross in was played on the arm by Manzur. I have to give Khano Smith credit for getting Calero to guess first before going the opposite direction. It wasn't the best taken penalty in the world, but I don't think Steve Nicol, Khano Smith, or anyone else on the Revolution will care.

* As I type these final thoughts on the game, all I can do is sit back and think we probably saw the best game in this tournament unless these two meet in the final. Shalrie Joseph was spectacular in the midfield, Mansally down the wing gave Pachuca fits the entire 90 minutes. New England held it's shape wonderfully which is something that many teams in the world would be unable to do against Pachuca. When it was all said and done, Pachuca was forced into changing their tactics which is something I don't think they ever expected to have to do against an MLS side.

Chivas USA 1 v Santos Laguna 0
* Lucky for Chivas USA the backline remembered how to play an offside trap right from the off.

* How on earth did Christian Benetez miss the open net? He took Arce's pass perfectly, got Kennedy to ground quickly, but nearly put a dent into the crossbar. Should be 1-0 to Santos and is that going to be a chance they regret later?

* Great job by Vuoso to dispossess Curtin, but he has to shoot that ball far post and not right into the body of Kennedy.

* Nice save from Kennedy at the end of the first half to deny the corner kick directly scoring.

* At halftime, all I can think about is the number of times Santos Laguna should be 1-0 up and are not. At the same time, Chivas USA have had just enough cracks at goal to keep Santos at least honest. The one thing that has to chance post haste for Chivas USA is the shape in both the midfield and back as it is conceding too much territory to Santos. Santos though despite the cross country trip don't look like they have lost a step. The word strange does not yet to begin to describe how this first half has gone.

* To further that last point, does Razov or Marsch come on if Chivas USA is down 1-0? My answer is no.

* Chivas's 3-2-3-2 formation may have no width, but it pays off with the goal. perfect cross in from Kljestan. Ante Razov beats his marker and the far post comes calling. Oswaldo Sanchez was really left on an island.

* Santos has left it just a little too late to start making subs.

* But when you give up free kick opportunities, it doesn't matter much. Off this free kick, I don't know what the call was for, but frankly I think Santos were robbed. It is utterly disgraceful that fans showed no class and threw projectiles and hit the linesman. Those people should be arrested for assault and battery and then never allowed into a football ground again.

* The story of this game can be written like this. Preki went for the jugular to start the second half and was rewarded for his attacking sense. Santos about the 55th minute started looking heavy footed and despite their attacking opportunities, seemed to be lacking when having to track back. Chivas USA's goal was extremely opportunistic and gives them hope in their final group match. Santos, it was nice knowing ya.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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