Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Painful Exit

"Houston's Revenge" I called it when I predicted to Luis that Houston would beat Pachuca in the SuperLiga Semifinal match.

My logic was that Houston had the confidence from beating Pachuca at Robertson Stadium before, that they may have been flat and overlooked their last two MLS opponents, but they certainly wouldn't do that with Los Tuzos. Essentially, Houston is a good team, and I was hopeful they'd pull out a close match.

Luis disagreed. He noted that of all the SuperLiga teams, Pachuca was probably in the best form. He pointed out the international experience of the squad. He was sure the Tuzos would prevail.

Wow, what a game. As it went to penalty kicks, I was still fairly confident. After all, this was a team that had triumphed in MLS Cup on penalty kicks. Yet after Brian Ching (post) and Joseph Ngwenya (soft shot saved) failed to convert, the Tuzos carried the day. Rafael Marquez Lugo hit the decisive penalty.

This mediotiempo story is interesting in that the author seemed shocked any extra time was played, calling it "typical disorganization" of CONCACAF. I'm not sure why extra time was so unexpected - isn't that the way FIFA decides tournament games?


Anonymous said...

Pachuca clearly deserved the victory. It's refreshing to see when the better team moves on.

Anonymous said...

That was one hell of a game. You knew Pachauca was taking it seriously when Juan Carlos Cachao was starting. Houston's startling 11 is just high quality there are not the most talented bunch but they play well together and have truck loads of heart. I also think their fans are better then Toronto's or DC's just vocal and colorful for 90 minutes.

However, their mistakes really hurt them like Ianni's red card. Though it was understandable to foul it was a bit unnecessary especially 1 up and in the 13minute of the game. Still Corey Ashe's red card was the worst. His teammates should have been protecting him and no way they or the officials should have allowed the Pachauca player to put his hand on Ashe and actually move him off the feel. The man's forehad hit a TABLE! A card for Ashe's kick was reasonable but a red card for it went way too far.

You have to wonder what Pachauca was thinking taking out their best players so early knowing Houston had the ability to mount a comeback and score crucial goals. Still not schocking Ching missed a PK as he is not known for scoring with his feet but Ngwenya's attempt was simply horrible. In a regular league game that stuff is ok but in a knock out round of a tournanment? Just bury the shot! Now he has to live with regret.

Overall I think Houston showed they are the kind of team that can always find a way to win though in this case they found a way to loose. I wish they were in Sudamericana and not DCU as I believe they are the closest team MLS has to being able to go into a Mexican or South American city and win a home and home series. Now you have to wonder if Houston has emptied their tank again like they started the season. Kinnear has to be worried that since they were already dipping in form will the dip go further as they emotionally recover.

briguy said...

What an agonizing game...

I totally disagree with the first commenter--having watched Pachuca play Houston on three occasions now, I would argue that these teams are as close to even as can be. Granted, I give Pachuca the nod because of their wins over the Dynamo. Last night, however, Houston simply choked the game away.

Of course, the commenter could simply be playing the irony card, in which case I totally agree with him/her. :-)

Nevertheless, it's tremendously frustrating to watch your goalie make a nice save, only to see your top two strikers cheese away a million dollars by trying to be cute (Ngwenya more so than Ching, of course). Why couldn't the guys in orange learn something from Barrett's strike?

As an MLS fan, this was even more disheartening, as we went from a guaranteed all-MLS final to the possibility of losing the entire tournament to the lone Mexican league team in the final four. Uggh!

Anonymous said...

Just a little note but from what I keep reading if an MLS teams wins this thing they will only be getting $150K not a million dollars as marketed.

L.B. said...

Whatever the payoff, I hope the players see some of it.

A.C. said...

It was my understanding that the million dollars will still go to an MLS team, but that the team is obligated to pay at least a minimum of 150k directly to the players.

Basically, the team administrators, etc, can agree on more money to the players as well. Or they can take the rest of the money to pay for other expenses, such as transfer fees and youth academy teams, etc.

the first commenter said...

I am the first commenter (above). It is amazing how two people can watch the same game and come away with vastly different interpretations.

I disagree with you, briguy. I think even though they had an "off" night, Pachuca was the better team. Houston Dynamo is a good team and garners a lot of respects but Pachuca was better.

I also think you are stretching it when you say Pachuca and the Dynamo are "even". True, they have played each other three times now this year. The only Houston win came after the game was rescheduled and threw Pachuca off. However, no excuses and Houston won that game fair and square. The other two games were all Pachuca. There was only one team on the field last night and that was Pachuca. Pachuca has won 5 league titles (all recent), 1 Concacaf champions cup (reigning champs), 1 copa sudamericana (reigning champs), runners-up in the re-copa of south america and are headed to the world cup of clubs this december. Until Houston can match that pedigree let's talk of the teams being "even".

I won't try to convince you or anyone of my stance. It's just my take-away and if you don't agree then we can agree to disagree. As I said before, it's amazing how two people can have vastly different take-aways from watching the same thing.

briguy said...

Well, yes, we'll agree to disagree then.

The list of accomplishments is nice, but it also represents a common convention of folks who wish to disparage MLS teams. What does Pachuca's "pedigree" have to do with head-to-head matches with Houston? It's irrelevant to this discussion of the last three meetings.

It's easy for Pachuca to look solid when they're playing 11 on 10 for the bulk of the match. I seem to remember the ball clearly bouncing around Pachucha's third of the field for the first 11 minutes or so. They had a nice break, Houston committed a lazy foul, and the complexion of the game changes...

You mention that Houston beat Pachuca "fair and square" with "no excuses," yet you preface your comment with an excuse.

It's clear that you're a Pachuca apologist, and that's just fine. I follow neither team, and my only bias is seeing MLS do well in the tournament, something they've already made great strides in accomplishing (despite the vaunted "pedigrees" of teams like Guadalajara and America).

If you're not trying to convince anyone of Pachuca's superiority, why provide a litany of their accomplishments?

first commenter (again) said...

Briguy said:

"If you're not trying to convince anyone of Pachuca's superiority, why provide a litany of their accomplishments?"

Why, because those are called "bragging rights". Pachuca has earned them. You may not like it and that's the point! :-)

Briguy said:
"It's clear that you're a Pachuca apologist, and that's just fine."

A "Pachuca apologist"????...LOL. What are you? An MLS apologist??? The only fact that stands in whatever skewed interpretation you or I may have is that Pachuca is an international champion and no MLS team is. Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

What a terrible and anti-clamatic ending to a very entertaining game. Ngwenya's PK was just flat out disgraceful. It honestly looked like he just didn't care at all. After such a tremendous game where everyone on the pitch was laying it all out on the field, that was about as classless an act as I have ever seen. If you are just going to goof off then don't take the PK.

Now while I think it was an entertaining game, for someone to see that match and conclude that Pachuca is the better team is absolutely absurd. Of course they dominated the game and the ball control; they were up a man for most of the match! If Pachuca was down a man for more than a full 90 minutes do you really think it would have been the same? If anything, the fact that Houston could play them basically level for the entire 120 minutes down a man tells me that they are the better team. Either way I agree that both are fairly evenly matched although I think that Houston is the more dangerous attacking team.

briguy said...

first (anonymous)commenter said:

"A 'Pachuca apologist'????...LOL. What are you? An MLS apologist??? The only fact that stands in whatever skewed interpretation you or I may have is that Pachuca is an international champion and no MLS team is. Have a nice day!"

Ummm, you didn't really answer the question. You said yourself that you're not trying to convince anyone of Pachuca's merits, yet you do just that in listing their accomplishments (and doing it again here, labeling them "an international champion").

My point is simple, and has been made clearer with your third post: you prefer Pachuca and want to see them do well, regardless of opponent or circumstances. My response was that your initial assertion (that they "clearly deserved" the win and that they're the "better team") is inaccurate based on recent head to head matches.

The game ended tied after 120 minutes; seems like a pretty good indication of well-matched clubs, especially considering that neither side needed outrageous heroics to keep the game even.

I *am* an MLS apologist, and I appreciate your wishing me a nice day.

Soledad said...

I prefer to look at it as a "Painful Entrance" for Pachuca.

I'm (sorta) optimistic that way.

Anonymous said...

Even or not Pachua has found a way to win in their league play and in tournanments. Houston is a strong team and plays well but they only have MLS Cup to show for it. I think we have to let Houston win in more official tournanments to say they/MLS are really equal or the gap is really closing. I think it is but you got to beat the big boys in the series or the single game elimation to prove you are equal or closed the gap. I would have love to seen Houston in Sudamerica instead of DCU as I think Houston is the more deserving and better MLS team.