Thursday, March 15, 2007

Calm your caballos

Unlike the level-headed reader who responded to tonight's CONCACAF Champions Cup results right here on this blog, I've already gotten some responses in from SI readers asking me if I'm ready to eat crow.

Two things: first, all I was trying to say in my SI column was that MLS teams have done horrendous against Mexican sides in previous CCC series. They have, plain and simple. Not once did I say it was because MLS is an inferior league or that MLS clubs are lousy and lacking talent. I didn't say any of that, yet people read into stories what they want to read into them. I wasn't comparing leagues. I wasn't comparing talent in the league. All I was comparing was how past MLS clubs have fared against Mexican sides and what they face now. I could have been far more venomous but I like the product MLS clubs put out. If I was comparing Guatemalan clubs versus Mexican clubs, maybe I would have injected some poison in the story.

Secondly, anyone who thinks the series are over is setting themselves up for a huge disappointment. 2-0 and 1-1 are hardly scores to pop champagne over and I can guarantee you Dominic Kinnear is telling his players that the job ain't close to being over. Half the task is complete. Half. I don't want to rain on anyone's premature parade but there is the little detail of 26-3 that Houston and DC will have to overcome.

Both teams have a good chance of advancing, well, Houston better than DC. But to start making CCC final plans is jumping the gun a bit. DC need only look back two years to see how well a 1-1 tie against a Mexican team at home worked out for them.

And look at some other scores: Columbus 2, Morelia 0 (2003); San Jose 1, Pachuca 0 (2002); Chicago 2, Morelia 1 (2002). It's not like MLS clubs have never beaten Mexican teams here at home.

Honestly, if pressed I'd pick Houston and Chivas at this point to meet in the final but I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Pachuca beat Houston by two or three.

1 comment:

Gene said...

Actually, based on how the teams actually played, DC United looked like a more coherent side than Dynamo, thanks to Emilio, Moreno, and Gomez. I actually think DC would have a decent chance to get a good result in Mexico if they were not constantly giving the ball away in the middle. One of those giveaways led to the Chivas goal. DC played with a lot of heart and grit, but you just cannot expose yourself to dangerous counterattacks and expect not to get beat.

If DC tightens up the passing, I think it will be a good game. I was encouraged by their ability to come back.

As to Houston, they certainly played better in the 2nd half and both goals were very good. However, Houston also needs to tighten up the middle, and play a disciplined game. If they don't give up an early goal, I think they have a shot. I would have felt better about their chances had Moreno scored that 3rd goal.

Can't make predictions - will simply look forward to good games in 2 weeks.