Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Xolos - Cruz Azul: CONCACAF Champions League Semis

Let's go, let's go! Well, actually, there's a bit of time to go yet, because it's still the second half of Toluca - Alajuelense. I lived in Alajuela for six months, so sorry, Toluca, go Alajuelense! Anyway, it's scoreless in that match. 

Prediction for Xolos - Cruz Azul? I say 2-0, Joe Corona and Dario Benedetto score. Put any predictions you have in the comments. 
Alajuela - Jonathan MacDonald, misses a PK in the 65th minute. He fired over the top. Poor. 
And now Toluca makes them pay. 0:1 Da Silva pushed a header in. Everybody on the bench looks miserable. Costa Rican teams hate losing to Mexico, no matter if it happens often. 
We're in injury time now - five minutes worth. 

13 Cirilo Saucedo
2 Edgar Eduardo Castillo
3 Javier Gandolfi
4 Hernan Dario Pellerano
22 Juan Carlos Núñez
8 Fernando Arce
15 Joe Corona Crespin
16 Cristian Pellerano
42 Javier Güemez
10 Fidel Martínez
18 Dario Benedetto


1 Jose de Jesus Corona
4 Julio Domínguez Juárez
15 Gerardo Flores Zuñiga
55 David Stringel
57 Emmanuel Loeschbor
5 Alejandro Castro
6 Gerardo Torrado
7 Pablo Barrera
11 Joao Rojas
33 Mauro Formica
9 Mariano Pavone

1 - Kickoff! Tijuana are so strong at home, I actually expect a win for the Xolos. 
3 - Announcers discuss how Herrera and Klinsmann will probably both watch this match to evaluate players. 
5 - Tentative feeling out on the part of both teams so far. 
10 - Joe Benny Corona is playing well, though, so I have high hopes for my prediction. 
15 - Corona on the attack, but Jesus Corona, the goalkeeper, deals with it well. 

17 - Now Mariano Pavone on the run, but the ball ends up trickling through to Saucedo.
18 - Jesus Corona came out badly there, failing to secure the ball against Martinez - if Piojo saw that, he wants Ochoa now.
19 - Formica with a shot. Announcers agree game is heating up.
20 - Joao Rojas with a great run, but can't quite beat the last defender in the Xolos box.
25 - Formica is very active for los Cementeros, but so far, without a goal as payoff.
26 - I can't quite pin down who Saucedo reminds me of - Bjorn Borg, maybe?
27 - I don't like these announcers - they meander too much and don't call the game enough. Corona on the attack again, Benedetto misfires, though.
29 - Saucedo gets low to collect a shot with Pavone hovering for the rebound. Nothing doing.
31 - Announcers argue over why Cruz Azul is playing so well - coach or players? Um, both?
33 - Gandolfi and his precisely aligned facial hair limps off.
34 - Rojas, very clever, immediately attacks Gandolfi's side and earns a corner. Saucedo catches the corner kick, though, ending the threat.
35 - Castillo helps the Xolos earn a corner of their own.
36 - The matching suits and ties on the CA bench for the staff looks a little creepy. The announcer wants a red for Gandolfi's tackle just now on Rojas. But the thing is, gimpy Gandolfi did get to the ball first, although his follow upended Rojas.
37 - So a tough call becomes a no-call. Story of the life in soccer.
38 - Announcers philosophize about the tough row a striker must hoe.
39 - Arce with a weak shot that Jesus Corona collects just fine.
40 - Benedetto hits a pass way too far ahead of Castillo in the box, who turns with a look like, "Dude, I don't have wings."
41 - But it's really that gawd-awful turf that makes the ball run like that.
43 - A Cruz Azul gets called back - Formica used a bit too much of his arm to set the ball up for a long-distance shot. A beauty, but no goal.
45 - CA corner, but Saucedo has it.
Ok, I have to say, Cruz Azul looked closer to a goal in the first half than did the Xolos. But if their Galaxy match is anything to go by, they start off slow sometimes. I expect a more lively second half.
46 - And it is already! Cruz Azul charging into the Xolos box, until Saucedo pounces on the ball.
48 - FK for Xolos, but CA kill the attack.
52 - Corona calmly catches a ball that pops up high in the box.
53 - Benedetto crashes on top of Loeschbor as they tussle for a ball on the sidelines - after much writhing, Loeschbor seems fine.
55 - Pellerano lets loose with a shot - Jesus Corona has it, but takes the time to yell at his defenders for not putting foot in the way of that ball.
57 - Joe Corona looks to have slowed down a bit - or gone quiet.
58 - Jesus Corona out a catch a cross before it does damage.
62 - Back and forth, but Xolos getting their fair share of ball possession. Joe leads another attack into the box, but before Benedetto can poke the ball into goal, Jesus Corona scoops it up.
64 - Loeschbor takes down Castillo from behind - yellow and a free kick for Xolos.
65 - Free kick by Arce is too high.
66 - It wasn't even close, Jesus Corona was walking away from it while the ball was still in the air.
70 - Pavone's turn to fire a shot that was off- his was closer, though.
71 - Tena has a sub ready to come in. Joe-benny already left for Xolos - Ruiz is in.
73 - Penal! No? The ref swallowed his whistle on what looked like a clear call for the Xolos in the box.
77 - This game is crying out for a fluke goal and lots of post-game complaints about the ref.
78 - Penalty! This time it's called when Benedetto was merely stepped on his foot slightly. Makeup call.
79 - Benedetto buries it. I'll just say it - Ochoa would have saved that! Maybe.
80 - Ok, so the Xolos are pulling a Galaxy here, but it's doubtful one goal is enough to hold up on the return leg. Of course, if Tijuana prevents a goal, every goal they score in Estadio Azul counts for two (tiebreaker)
83 - Cruz Azul have a freekick and swarm into the Xolos box but fail to shoot on target. I'll just say it - Fabian would have scored that. Maybe.
86 - CA have certainly had chances here. Haven't made good, though.
87 - Herculez! He's into the match now. Subbing in for Benedetto.
88 - I think Cesar Farias just got reprimanded by the ref.
90 - FK for CA - could be a great chance again. It results in a corner. Saudedo catches that.
90+ Saucedo with another save - a shot from distance. Noot too tough, but nervy - since the game is almost over.  He takes his time with the goal kick.
And that's fulltime! My prediction was on for Xolos winning , but it's a rather puny advantage that Tijuana takes into the second leg. I'm not sure how much I'd bet on them keeping it and advancing to the final.