Friday, March 2, 2007

MLS Clubs Are Semi-Tough

Both Major League Soccer squads in the CONCACAF Champions Cup advanced to the semifinal round on Thursday night, with DC United skipping past CD Olimpia (Honduras) and defending MLS Champ Houston Dynamo overcoming a one-goal first-leg deficit to edge Puntarenas FC (Costa Rica).

DC's new Brazilian striker Luciano Emilio tormented his former teammates with two goals, including a particularly nifty tally where he showed steely calm in the box before nonchalantly slotting the ball home into the far corner of the net. At first glance, he's either an arrogant prima donna or a smooth operator with a clinical touch. It bears watching. Also, the RFK playing field was total crap. On the plus side, the Bobby Boswell website looks like it will either be lots of fun or ridiculously, mockingly awful. Either way, it's a win-win.

Aggie Soccer Stadium, on the other hand, looked pretty good, but the game itself was a bit of a yawner. Although if the Dalglish striker for Houston was named Kenny, instead of Paul, it would've been a complete romp for the homeside. Dalglish the Younger did find the net once. Speaking of Dalglishes (see how I did that?) have you seen King Kenny's daughter and Paul's sister on the English version of Sportscenter? Not bad. It's a safe bet she'll never walk alone.

Back to the tournament, which will feature an all MLS vs. Mexican League semifinal round. Dynamo will face Pachuca on March 14 and April 5. DC gets CD Guadalajara (Chivas) on March 15 and April 3. Pachuca currently leads the Clausura Group 2 table while Chivas is tied for first in points and one goal back in differential in Clausura Group 1. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions Cup gets seeded into FIFA's World Club Championship, which has become an annual celebration of Brazilian soccer.

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