Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Xolos - Galaxy CCL Quarterfinal, Running Blog

Tijuana XI: Saucedo; Nunez Castro Gandolfi Garza; H.Pellerano Guemez C.Pellerano Corona; Ayovi Benedetto
LA Galaxy XI: Penedo; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Riley; Zardes, Sarvas, Juninho, Donovan; Keane, Samuel

Ok, lineups are in, predictions? I say, 2-2, because I want an exciting game. Probably wishful thinking.

Pre-game quotes here. 

I'd say that this should be a pretty even game, given how the teams looked comparable in StubHub, but the truth is, the Xolos go into beast mode when playing in Estadio Caliente. They really own the place and their home record is no joke. Cesar Farias was almost nonchalant about losing the first game, because he knew the second one would be in TJ.
All that said, the mystique of Estadio Azteca eventually wore off, didn't it? So perhaps the Galaxy will break the spell here.
I'm watching the match on Galavision, so I'm getting the Spanish language perspective on things. Right this second, it means some telenovela is on where the women are crying and this guy with a mustache just grabbed a girl and kissed her. She screams, then her friend runs in and hits him over the head with a vase. And scene. 
Happy Xolos graphics of people running, scoring and falling on that evil turf. Shots of Xolos players getting off the bus. Herc may have said this isn't a rivalry yet, but the announcers are already calling it "Clasico de Baja California" so, well, maybe it is. Highlights are shown of the last match. For me, the best part is watching Robbie Keane's terrible acting job when he tries to pretend he planned that assist to Samuel.  
1 - And they kick off! Xolos lively moving the ball around in the early going, knowing how to handle the ball on that turf - and damn. They score. GOAL! Fittingly, Jaime Ayovi, who started the attack, finishes it. 0-1 Xolos. (1-1) 

2 - It was a decent cross, and the Galaxy couldn't clear to save their lives. Penedo was caught awkwardly unsure of whether to dive for it, and couldn't really make a play on the save. 
4 - Freekick
5 - Ayovi off the crossbar! Damn, Xolos are looking to win this in the first five minutes. Almost.
6 - Long pass for Keane, who promptly loses it. He's not looked good.
7 - Juninho tries an outside kick. Saucedo has it covered well. No probs.
8 - LD on the run, but only Zardes has the speed to go with him, and he loses the ball once LD passes to him.
9 - Xolos with more control, looking to attack. Riley tugs on Joe Corona, FK
10 - Whoa, GOAL! Ayovi beats the offside trap, leaving him alone against Penedo, who misses the ball with his dive, leaving the goal open. 2-0. Well, so far, half of my prediction is right. But can the Galaxy come back?
11 - There's a shot of Farias, looking so confident, he's almost smug "I knew we'd win here."
12 - Apparently Omar kept Ayovi on. Omar has these lapses at times, and it really cost the team here.
13 - Now the announcers are predicting a blowout. The Xolos get the ball in the box again, but finally, the Galaxy are able to clear. Small victories, I guess.
15 - Pretty much the Galaxy's chance was to weather the storm in the beginning of the match, and then hope for the Xolos to get desperate and press too much, leaving the counter open. So much for that plan. Sarvas with a hopeless outside shot that Saucedo catches easily.
17 - LD has to drop way back to get the ball. Whenever he has it, the boos in the stadium get noticeably louder.
18 - Juninho again from the outside. No chance. Ooooh, slow mo of the first goal shows Ayovi was offside. Oh well.
21 - Bit of a midfield battle going on. The announcers note the boos for LD, too. Xolos win the midfield battle almost every time.
22 - I feel cheated. There isn't even any suspense in this game any more. It's pretty much settled. Joe Corona tees up from outside - crossbar! Xolos misses are a lot closer than Galaxy's.
23 - Announcers are talking about the USA - Mexico game in April - anticipating it will be more competitive than this one, surely.
25 - Riley gets a yellow for a hard foul, but the crowd is booing LD taking down another Xolos player, too.
26 - Benedetto! Leonardo got burnt to a crisp on that one - Dario just skinned him for the ball and Leo was too turned around to recover, leaving Benedetto an open goal. GOAL! 3-0 (3-1)
It's officially a blowout.
28 - The announcers note that the midfield of the Galaxy is hopeless. Keane goes down at the arc at the top of the box, but doesn't get the call.
30 - That's just embarrassing - a pass gets away from the Galaxy defense because they didn't allow for the roll on the turf. Sad.
31 - I don't think Penedo has a save yet. LD stand over the FK, and I can hear the boos all the way from TJ. Ball out for corner. LD takes that, but still the Galaxy can't get a shot on goal.
33 - Well, at this point, it's not if the Galaxy will lose, it's how badly.
34 - The stands in TJ are like a party.
35 - Joe Benny takes the Xolos corner - its a bit short, but the Xolos recover and still threaten until Pellerano takes a shot - gets another corner. Now the slow-mo of the first goal again shows a second touch. No offside, then.
37 - Samuel with a soft half-shot that gives Saucedo no problem.
38 - Benedetto is just teeing up for fun now. Too high there.
39 - Sarvas with a shot after Samuel does the rainbow dribble over a defender, but Saucedo has it, well, he had to go after the rebound, but he has it.
40 - The announcers are reduced to making jokes, because this game has lost all tension.
41 - Galaxy can't string together five passes.
42 - Xolos corner. Galaxy still look like they're waking up.
43 - Decent run of play for the Galaxy, with a bit more possession, but they still can't even get one shot out of it.
44 - Now Xolos threaten again. Benedetto is just shooting every time he gets the ball. Penedo catches this one. Technically, not a save because it wasn't even on target for the goal, but wide.
45 - One minute of stoppage. Xolos finally just playing a bit of possession, mostly by not passing it to Benedetto (Shooting Boots On).
And there's the whistle and the end of a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad half for the Galaxy. Pretty good for the Xolos, though.
Ok, so what should the Galaxy do? Pack it in and give some youngsters experience?  Go into a defensive shell? Will Arena be hairdrying in the locker room?

46 - Dunny has been sent into this disaster. Riley is out. Rob Friend replaces Samuel. Friend is a big block, in my opinion, but Arena is probably thinking, "Eff it" at this point. The announcers make fun of Friend because he was quoted as saying he didn't know anything about Mexican soccer. LD takes a FK - GOAL! Omar pops it over to Keane, who tucks it into the corner of the goal. 3-1 Galaxy. There's a sliver of a chance now. (3-2)
48 - Xolos with a FK of their own at this point, but then the shot ends up very high.
49 - The war is still in the midfield, though, and the Galaxy are actually doing a bit better than before there.
51 - The announcers say Omar will be sold to Europe after the World Cup. Did they fall asleep, like Omar did, on the second goal? That won't fly abroad.
52 -Corona with an outside shot - Penedo with his first real save?
53 - Benedetto takes so long on a solo run that his teammate end up offside.
55 - Sarvas gets a yellow for removing his shirt. He was hot and taking off his undershirt, then putting his jersey back on in the middle of the game. Can't do that. Dude, that's what halftime is for. Idiotic.
56 - Galaxy on another attack, but can't get a shot off. FK for Galaxy now. No shot on goal, but when an outside shot comes in Saucedo comes out with his leg out on Omar, falls to the ground, then rolls around a lot. Omar looked like he grabbed his leg lightly, but the announcers make fun of Saucedo's theatrics.
58 - During the entire time Saucedo is down, the announcers discuss which team in England will take Omar. Dudes. So optimistic.
60 - The Galaxy attack dies with Zardes. Xolos zeroing in on goal now.
61 - Corona active on the ball - gets taken down by Zardes. FK.
63 - Garza and Corona combine well to keep the Xolos attack going. Eep, until Garza gets a yellow. LD works the ball for a corner. Takes it - it's short, then LD's entry pass is bad. So no shot at all.
64 - Joe C. active in the midfield, keeping Xolos aggressive.
65 - Announcers talk about how Paul Arriola used to be part of the Galaxy Academy and now plays for the Xolos. Apparently, 30% of the Xolos Academy is USA-born.
66 - Penedo comes out for the ball, catches a high cross.
67 - Now the announcers discuss arcane MLS rules.
68 -Ruiz comes in for Corona. I bet Farias though Joe-Benny was getting tired. He looked fine to me.
69 -Raul Mendiola - Galaxy player, is tipped by the announcers to become the next soccer player who has to choose between USA and Mexico.
70 - Outside shot - Penedo's 3rd save? Stefan Ishizaki is in - Sarvas and his stupid yellow card are out.
72 - Keane with a crazy outside shot, trying to catch Saucedo off his line. Nothing doing. He raises his eyebrows. Nothing ventured . . .
73 - Friend, Castro and Gandolfi went up for a high ball and collided. Castro still down.
74 - Castro up, holding a tissue to his - nose? cheek? Not sure. Bruce Arena doesn't look good in light blue. Dark colors, Brucie. More slimming.
75 - And Benedetto has the ball in the box, but somehow doesn't get a shot off.
76 - Xolos shot is too high.
77 -FK for the Galaxy. Ishizaki offside.
78 - Ayovi is off, Martinez and his bad blonde streak are there to do battle with Zardes' streak.
79 - Galaxy can't get a clear attack going, even if they don't look as hopeless as before.
80 - "One goal changes everything" the announcers remind us. Sarvas is still there - guess announcers were wrong. Juninho left.
81 - Nice series of Galaxy passes gets a corner. Friend pops a header without too much force, but Saucedo still has to make the save. He does.
82 - Xolos go the other way, Ruiz has a shot, he gets the angle - Omar - throw yourself in the way - but he doesn't and Ruiz scores! GOAL 4-1. Xolos fans breathe easy.
83 - Galaxy corner. The crowd is whistling here, because they are confident again. Tension out of the match again. LD hits a corner short - was that planned - or bad? Hard to tell, but Ishizaki doesn't get his shot on frame.
84 - LD and Keane on the counter, LD leaves it for Keane, who tucks it past Saucedo GOAL! 4-2 (4-3)
85 - It's a one goal game again. Herc is ready to come into the game. I take it back, this is fun.
87 - Sarvas and Friend on the counter - they screw it up.
88 - Herc comes on for Benedetto - They mention what he said to me! Well, they don't mention me, but they mention that he criticized LA Galaxy fans. They credit his Twitter. Nope, that was Sideline Views, folks.
90 - Ok, TJ wasting time now. Might as well.
90 + The Galaxy are so desperate, they're running into each other when chasing the ball.
Five minutes of extra time added. Saucedo takes 30 seconds to goal kick.
Saucedo leaps to catch an entry pass. Herc gets whistled for offside. Last chance for Galaxy. LD's cross gets caught by Saucedo. The ball is bouncing in the box - full time!

Galaxy ended up salvaging some pride, or lessening the shame a bit, but they still lose.

Thanks for following the running blog, post comments and thoughts if you have any you'd like to share.

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