Superliga Group B Matchday 3 Stream of Conscious

21 July 2008

Chivas USA 1 v New England Revolution 1
* The Titan Stadium field may only be a small upgrade from the field at the Home Depot Center.

* Another thing that had me puzzled was why the Olympians are playing in this game? It shouldn't matter what side of the coast they are playing on...they should be in camp just like everyone else had to be today. Then again, maybe this is why the game is being played at 5 pm Pacific.

* Good first touch from Dube, but the second touch wasn't the greatest as he put himself too wide to do anything. He shouldn't have given up on the play though.

* As the first half has moved along, New England is taking control of the game.

* Poor shot from Ante Razov. Kljestan fed him well but the grass did him no favors. Reis with a comfortable save.

* I understand Steve Nicol isn't happy with how Dube was tackled, but when you have the referee running over to calm you down, that's a warning that could have been better used later in the match. You probably won't get a second time.

* Nice save from Reis to deny Marsch, but I am still not convinced that was going to sneak in at the near post. But in an instance like that where the crossbar is in play, best to do the safe thing.

* Not the greatest of first halves from a technical standpoint. Chivas for long periods of the half looked content with playing eight behind the ball and New England's passing from the midfield to the forwards were lacking. The back for New England let one opportunity go and were lucky not to be bitten in the backside. Chivas USA has to start taking the game to New England as they can't solely rely on a draw and expect Santos Laguna to do the business.

* I like the fire Chivas USA has come out with to start the second half. A couple of good chances have gone begging though.

* Great finish by Ante Razov, who has been the savior of Chivas USA in the last few weeks. Excellent through ball and the Revolution defense was lacking. Matt Reis had to come too far off his line and if Razov gets two opportunities with two chances on goal, he will finish. You have to feel bad for Reis as the second the ball found Razov's feet, you just had that sense he was scoring.

* New England is wasting opportunities big time now. Bobby Burling does well to deny Mansally when he should have shot at the first opportunity.

* What the hell was that on the post for Chivas USA? Nice corner from Ralston and Joseph puts the powerful header at the feet of Kennedy. I couldn't tell you who it was on that far post (I couldn't tell if it was Bobby Burling or Daniel Paladini) but whomever it was should have never been inside the goal mouth. For starters it prevented Kennedy from making a proper save on it because he couldn't cross the goal line to keep the ball out with his hands and secondly, I think the kick went off the back of Kennedy and in.

* This is too much of a gamble from New England taking out their attacking options for defensive options. Playing for the draw has been known to bite in the rear end.

* I didn't see any hand ball on Wells Thompson, but thankfully for New England, the free kick was severely lacking.

* The second half showed that both sides were taking advancing was in this competition seriously. However when New England needed to turn the screw, they were able to and were rewarded with the goal. Chivas USA though once applying the pressure early in the half for the goal didn't create any goal scoring opportunities. New England now has the home field advantage in the Semi-Finals and finals should they get that far, Chivas USA just became Santos Laguna's best supported fans for the next two hours.

Pachuca 1 v Santos Laguna 1
* It's always nice to hear a Brad Sham commentary. He was the highlight to me of last year's competition commentary wise.

* Well Pachuca doesn't want to leave this competition early. What an individual run from Damian Alvarez and the strike was simply sublime. No keeper in the world was going to save that shot.

* Matias Vuoso could have very well been booked for a dive. It looked to me like he fell over the legs of Castillio looking for a call.

* Alvarez should make it 2-0 to Pachuca, but when you shoot right at the keeper, you have to live with the consequences of what he does.

* Oswaldo Sanchez single handedly is keeping Santos in this game.

* Great chance for Santos at the end of the first half as they earn a free kick within striking range. Juan Pablo Rodriguez's first free kick however was extremely lacking, the second one should have been the equalizer.

* The first half was a strange one. While it was even for the most part, Pachuca had the best chances on goal. Santos Laguna's best chances didn't really come until the end of the first half and off set pieces. That's not going to get you back in many matches, much less win them. However what the end of the half tells me is if Santos is going to try and come out to start the second half all guns blazing.

* Santos has come out with a renewed purpose to start the second half. However despite the effort, their flow is lacking. Again, Pachuca has had the better chances to start the second half.

* Great save from Callero to deny Christian Benitez. It's a pity however it took almost an hour for Santos to get a legit chance on goal during open play.

* It maybe my curse writing this, but I don't see Santos getting a goal here. If they do, I don't see them getting the win to prevent Pachuca from advancing.

* To expand on my point above, if Santos does score, it's going to be Christian Benitez who does score. Two good chances have gone begging, but the chances are getting better by the shot.

* Leave it to Benitez to prove my blogging curse correct. Benitez had the center of the defense opened up by Arce and all Benitez had to do is finish. From that close, if he wasn't finishing that he was never going to finish. Great strike, but do they have enough time to win it...or does Pachuca bunker down for the advancing draw?

* Pachuca is taking a major gamble taking Gimenez off. Unless Gimenez's legs are totally gone or Edy Brambila is a better defender, that's a move I don't know if it's worth making.

* Maybe it was a better move than I thought. While Santos turned the screw for a good 10-15 minutes after equalizing, Pachuca reestablished their dominance.

* The final half hour of this game I could watch over and over again. It was everything that was right with soccer. It was one of those games where the script in your mind should have never been written in the first place. Santos tried, but Pachuca's 'been there done that' attitude to this game showed through.

So July 29th will be Houston Dynamo v Pachuca...where have we seen that before.

July 30th will be New England Revolution v Atlante.

Could we very well see a New England/Pachuca final?


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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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