Here we go, with the game to decide the second finalist of the SuperLiga. The telenovela is ending, and Paloma's heart has been broken because she has just returned (from a kidnapping?) to find the love of her life has married. Or maybe it's a lie, but too late, the game is starting.
The announcers focus on the midfield, saying Shalrie Joseph is key for the Revs. Well, yeah.
* 3 - Federico Vilar (GK)
* 2 - Javier Munoz Mustafa
* 6 - Gerardo Espinoza
* 8 - Alan Zamora
* 9 - Giancarlo Maldonado
* 11 - Luis Gabriel Rey
* 15 - Arturo Munoz
* 17 - Jose Guerrero
* 18 - Christian Bermudez
* 23 - Gerardo Castillo
* 31 - Daniel Arreola
* 1 - Matt Reis (GK)
* 2 - Amaechi Igwe
* 3 - Chris Albright
* 6 - Jay Heaps
* 11 - Kheli Dube
* 13 - Jeff Larentowicz
* 14 - Steve Ralston
* 16 - Mauricio Castro
* 21 - Shalrie Joseph
* 29 - Kenny Mansally
* 31 - Sainey Nyassi
1- Albright scrapping from the start - no surprise there.
3 - Atlante might be considered the weakest semifinalist, but they're taking it to the Revs early, attacking hard.
4 - Maldonado earns a corner. Cleared, but Atlante regain possession and continue an attack. Reis is mentioned as the All-Star keep.
6 - Nyassi with a decent attempt in the box, but the cut-back move to get free was better than the shot. Vilar catches.
8 - Maldonado with a shot at the other end, but he doesn't even put it on frame. Reis dives, for practice more than anything.
9 - Dube with a header that is way off.
10 - The announcers mention Sunil Gulati is in the house, watching the game. Well, yeah, he works for the Revs.
11 - Maldonado called for offside, though he seemed even on the replay. But TV angles aren't always accurate. It depends where the camera is.
13 - The teams have played before, back when NE was training in preseason at Cancun. Atlante won 1-0.
14 - Revs developing a better rhythm after withstanding the early Atlante onslaught.
15 - Announcers report that Blanco gave Joseph serious props after the All-Star game, said his play allowed the other players to shine.
16 - Nyassi with a nice attack, gets overexcited and loses the ball at the edge of the box for no good reason.
18 - Igwe gets a pass or shot into the box, but Dube touches a pass back to the defense of Atlante.
19 - Dube with an opportunistic shot. High.
23 - Corner kick for Revs - cleared but leads to another corner. Joseph with a header, but it's high.
25 - Off the crossbar! Mansally with a great move to get free on the side, crossed the ball into the box, where Dube, I think kicked the ball off the crossbar.
26 - Corner for Atlante on the counter, Reis catches the header.
27 - Save! Reis dives to stop another shot. Igwe collided with Guerrero on the play, and Guerrero is down.
30 - Messy tackling in midfield. Ref is letting a lot go.
31 - GOAL- Off a FK by Rally near midfield, Ralston serves it into the Atlante box and Joseph goes high to power the ball into the goal. 1-0 Revs. Joseph is key indeed.
33 - Atlante have a FK of their own, closer than the one the Revs scored on. It appears to miss everybody, but they get a corner out of it. The Fort boos that lustily.
34 - No matter, Reis scoops up the corner kick and motions for his team to calm down.
35 - Dube shoots into the arms of Vilar.
37 - Nyassi with a hopeful shot. No.
39 - Castillo is off for Vanegas. Reis catches a cross and stops an Atlante attack.
40 - Albright in the box, working the give and go, but doesn't get much on his shot and Vilar catches it.
41 - Rally's FK misses everybody.
43 - Nyassi puts in a great low cross, but no one can reach it.
45 - Atlante appear to have lost their mojo.
45 + But just as I type that, they attack and Reis has to catch a cross to stop it.
The Revs did well on their goal and stayed just ahead of every Atlante attempt on the other end, but the game is well within striking distance for the Mexican squad. A comeback is possible in the second half.
46 - Shalrie gets fouled - obviously Atlante has decided not to let him roam freely - he makes too much of an impact on the game. They're looking to shut him down.
48 - Fight! Ok, well, at least some shoving there. This game has a lot of emotions as well. I'll bet the Atlante player said to Reis, "What's the point? You'll just lose to the Dynamo again!" Meanie.
50 - Taylor Twellman is warming up.
52 - Atlante attacking hard - Nyassi gets a card for a tackle from behind.
54 - Atlante corner. Reis catches.
55 - Rally FK - Joseph gets a bit of it, but the ball ends up in Vilar's hands.
56 - Espinoza gets a card and Rally a FK in almost the same spot as a minute ago. Bad kick, though, Rally overshoots Joseph by quite a bit.
59 - Reis gives up a chance when he palms a ball instead of catching it, but the defense is able to clear.
61 - Igwe from distance, but Vilar sees the ball the whole way.
62 - Dube crosses to Mansally, but Kenny puts his chance wide. Poor.
63 - Handball! The ref doesn't give it, though. Lawrentowitz was going for the ball may have had his hand out for balance, but it definitely wasn't by his side.
66 - Nicol is exhorting his charges to keep calm.
68 - Joseph gets a ball full in the face from a teammate's attempted clear. That smarts.
70 - Maldonado is pissed off to be whistled offside.
72 - Nyassi fouled deep in Atlante territory. Vilar misses Rally's FK, but all the other Revs fail to poke the ball into the net.
75 - Rally with another FK, but Atlante manage to clear. TeleFutura now wants to know who is your game MVP. I say Shalrie wins in a landslide.
76 - Albright clears a service into the box via header, but gives up a corner.
77 - Save! Reis picks the ball off the Atlante attackers foot.
79 - Adam Cristman comes in for Mansally.
80 - Trujillo comes on for Guerrero.
83 - Joseph with a shot - deflection falls to Smith, who winds up - wide.
84 - Cristman gets fouled deep - a FK for NE. But before it can be taken, Joseph is down and handbags break out. I guess Joseph got a headbutt from Luis Gabriel Rey, who gets a red card. Vilar is pissed at Albright, who by the way speaks Spanish, so I'm sure something was said there.
88 - The FK finally gets taken, and cleared, though Nyassi gets a shot off the clearance. Wide.
89 - Nyassi down for another NE FK. It's taken quickly, but Albright then gets fouled. Another FK, leading to a Lawrentowitz shot - high.
90 - Cristman gets a yellow - I guess he threw the ball at someone? Chippy game.
90+ Atlante stop Smith on the line of the box - finally set up a real attack, but the cross overshoots everyone in the box. Bad.
Shalrie wins the MVP. Big shock.
Atlante scrap desperately for a final chance. Zamora gets beaten fo a ball with Joseph's touch. He twofoot tackles Joseph. That's his second yellow and he's gone. Something about Albright is dais by the announcers - apparently he and Zamora had words during the exit.
Mustafa elbows Dube, not even going for the ball - gets a yellow. Ugly.
Nicol is pointing at his watch. Finally, the whistle blows.
Revs win. Vilar comes hunting for Albright. A scrum breaks out, because he hits Heaps, just for being in his way. Albright is hit and pissed. The ref is trying to keep players off each other.Vilar is grabbed for an interview and he says he can't talk because this is a dangerous country or something like that.
The Atlante coach blames the ref, what's new?
So it's the Revs and Houston in the final. Deja vu all over again.
Just to wrap it up, here is the conduct report from the game, because I missed some, there were so many.
NE -- Amaechi Igwe (caution; Reckless Foul) 27
NE -- Sainey Nyassi (caution; Pushing, Holding) 52
ATN -- Giancarlo Maldonado (caution; Dissent) 53
ATN -- Gerardo Espinoza (caution; Pushing, Holding) 56
ATN -- Fernando Navarro (caution; Pushing, Holding) 71
ATN -- Alan Zamora (caution; Reckless Foul) 84
ATN -- Luis Gabriel Rey (ejection; Violent Conduct) 85
NE -- Chris Albright (caution; Dissent) 85
ATN -- Federico Vilar (caution; Dissent) 86
ATN -- Federico Vilar (ejection; Second Caution) 91+
ATN -- Alan Zamora (ejection; Second Caution) 94+
ATN -- Javier Munoz Mustafa (ejection; Second Caution) 95+
NE -- Jay Heaps (ejection; Violent Conduct) 95+
ATN -- Luis Venegas (ejection; Violent Conduct) 95+