Okay, I'm here at Home Depot Center for the Chivas USA-Tauro FC match and I feel like I'm in an empty stadium. Well, actually, it pretty much is an empty stadium. With classes back in session at Cal State Dominguez Hills, the attendance has been capped at 2,000.
As a colleague told me, some prestigious tournament.
Anyway, there is a game to be played and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League proper to be had. Chivas USA needs to win 2-0 to have a shot at advancing. A three-goal win regardless of Tauro's goals gets Chivas through. Anything less and the Panamanians will get through.
Don't have the lineups yet but I can piece together this from Chivas' pre-game warm ups.
Zach Thornton; Jonathan Bornstein, Jim Curtin, Bobby Burling, Francisco Mendoza; Justin Braun, Kraig Chiles, Paulo Nagamura, Sacha Kljestan; Atiba Harris, Roberto Nurse.
I hadn't expected Alecko Eskandarian or Ante Razov to start. They're warming up though along with Lawson Vaughn, Keith Savage, Jorge Flores and Daniel Paladini among others.
Okay, I missed a couple of players. It's Eric Ebert instead of Kraig Chiles and Dan Kennedy in place of Zach Thornton. So...
CHIVAS USA: Dan Kennedy; Jonathan Bornstein, Jim Curtin, Bobby Burling, Eric Ebert; Francisco Mendoza, Sacha Kljestan, Paulo Nagamura, Atiba Harris; Justin Braun, Roberto Nurse.
TAURO FC: Willington Dominguez; Luis Moreno, Leonel Parris, Alberto Monatas, Roberto Palma, Rolando Rojas; Christian Vega, Gustavo Avila, Jean Alberto McLean; Edwin Aguilar, Luis Fernando Esobar.
So according to the lineups, Tauro will come out in a 5-3-2. Plus, they have Harris listed as a forward which could mean that Chivas will have a 4-3-3. Anyway, I'd expect Chivas to morph into a 3-3-5 if they don't a goal early. I'm also expecting an ugly game, with Tauro seemingly content on packing it in. Good thing there won't be many people to witness such a potentially ugly game.
1 - Game is underway. Ebert's already messing up on the right side. It's a shame that neither Lawson Vaughn nor Carey Talley are healthy enough to play. You've got two good right-sided backs and you can't start either one of them.
2 - Bornstein with a cross in to Nurse, goalie gets to ball but not cleanly but no Chivas players there to get to rebound
3 - Buran nearly has breakaway but can't get ball cleanly. He pushes ball forward and Nurse almost gets to it but goalie Dominguez is there first, slides and again leaves ball on ground. He's hurt now and trainers are out tending to him. (STRONG LANGUAGE ALERT!!!) I;m guessing this is the kind of shit we're going to see all game from Tauro.
5 - Corner from Sacha. Several players crash the net but can't get to the ball.
7 - Offside on Braun. He almost had a breakaway, which isn't necessarily a guarantee of a goal with him. still, he's active.
8 - I think that was the first time Tauro had the ball in Chivas' side of the field.
11 - Curtin nearly gets a ball over Tauro's backline; Chivas gets corner
12 - Bruan nearly had a goal but a shot off corner was cleared off line by Parris
14 - Nurse almost breaks free but he gets whistled for offside. Tauro's backline is playing fairly high.
20 - PK!!! Dominguez trips Nurse in the box and gets a yellow! Looks like Sacha will take it.
21 - No goal! Sacha missed it! He hit a soft shot right to Dominguez and the goalie clears it away. Nothing for Chivas. Needless to say, this is going to haunt them.
26 - Tauro looks a bit re-energized by the PK save. They've held the ball a brief moment or two, which is more than they can say for most of the first 20-something minutes.
31 - Tauro counter nearly works but Aguilar can't close down on the ball inside the penalty area.
32 - Chivas desperately needs a goal before the half is over
36 - Harris off the crossbar! Chivas nearly gets that much-needed first goal but nothing going. Tauro's goalie, by the way, is an adventure waiting to happen.
39 - Tauro with two set pieces deep in Chivas territory. They've got four guys in the box, two guys near the ball and another two about 10 yards out of the penalty area. They're not exactly covering themselves.
40 - Corner now for Tauro; ball cleared by a Chivas defender, another corner for Tauro but leads to nothing and goal kick for Chivas
42 - GOAL!!! NURSE!! It's the Mexican-born Nurse who gets the goal. Bornstein sends in a cross, ball bounces around and Nurse spins on it and rips it into the back of the net. Chivas 1-0
45 - Preki is sitting between Alecko Eskandarian and Ante Razov on Chivas' bench and looks like he's giving them some instructions. Tauro's gonna get the heat turned up on em soon enough.
45 - Kljestan rips a shot from distance butbounces out for corner; shot sare falling for CHivas now. Corner goes nowhere, Tauro runs off on a bit of a break but Burling ends up getting fouled.
HALFTIME, Chivas 1-0. Gotta write, be back in a few...
46 - No subs for Chivas. Alecko, Ante, Jorge Flores among those warming up. Only a few early goals prevents Ante and Alecko from seeing action.
52 - Bornstein red! Bornstein picked up his second yellow card after a foul on Leonel Parris. It didn't look like much as he put his hand on Parris' waist but the Panamanian defender did well to sell the play.
54 - Now Sacha gets a yellow. He's in the ref's face and nobody goes over to calm him down. Sacha played a little with fire right there.
55 - Two changes for Chivas - Ante and Alecko in, Braun and Nurse out
59 - Aguilar has time and space in the box but shoots straight to Kennedy. He could have had something better had he waited a second and realized where he was.
60 - Aguilar tries a shot from 18 yards that forces Kennedy to pluck it off the goal line.
61 - Nagamura sends cross into box and Ante gets to it but Dominguez does well to make diving save
63 - GOAL!! TAURO FC!! Luis bags it... Luis Moreno. He gets through the defense, knocks it off the post and it trickles over the line before Panchito can get to it. Chivas, ladies and gentleman, is done.
65 - A phone conversation that may have just took place... "Hello, Preki? This is Bob. The game's over. Can you take Sacha out? Thanks."
65 - Sacha out, Jorge Flores in
77 - Okay, sorry, I was writing. Got 3 stories to send at the whistle and they're all pretty much written. Short of three late Chivas goals, all I need to do is update a couple of things and off they go!
82 - Flores nearly had a highlight reel goal but saw his left-footed shot turned away by Dominguez
83 - Curtin clears away a sure goal but the play was blown dead to offside
84 - Razov almost buries one but can't find the handle. Dominguez flops on the ball
85 - Panchito runs up to a ball with the goalie off his line and rips a shot on goal, the ball bounces off a defender though and goes out for a corner, missing the post by inches
86 - Dominguez has been on the ground for about 90 seconds. Wonder if we'll see another 7 minutes of stoppage time
90 - Five minutes of stoppage time
FULL TIME, Chivas 1, Tauro 1. Tauro goes through and will face Santos of Mexico and Municipal of Guatemala and another team