Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Bittersweet Butterfingers in Guadalajara

It was always going to be difficult for DC United to hang with Chivas on Tuesday night. Despite the first-leg success MLS clubs had against their Mexican counterparts in the CONCACAF Champions Cup Semifinals, accomplishing the same result in the hostile environment South of the Border was an entirely different proposition -- possible, yes, but not likely. And once Gonzalo Pineda's routine shot slipped through DC goalkeeper Troy Perkins fingers for a 2-1 Chivas lead, the difficult became impossible, as United bowed out of the competition.

Chivas wasn't dominant by any means, but for DC to book passage into the CCC Finals the same grit, determination and grace under pressure employed at RFK was needed in Guadalajara, in addition to the avoidance of the Big Mistake, a blunder which, on the road especially, results in defeat. To their credit, United came up with the former, but unfortunately they also allowed the latter. As the 2007 MLS season approaches, DC is playing quick, attractive, attacking soccer with flair on offense and bite, if not consistency, in the back. Christian Gomez, Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno knocked the ball around with an uncanny familiarity which should give pause to MLS defenses.

If defending Major League Soccer champs Houston Dynamo were overconfident going into the other second-leg semifinal match on Thursday in Pachuca (8:30 ET, FoxSoccerChannel), United's hard luck may not have been in vain. Despite a two-goal aggregate lead, the Dynamo now know they will need to be extremely sharp in the high-altitude of Pachuca's Estadio Hidalgo. While they're at it, they better stay clear of The Big Mistake.


Lopez said...

You seem to be on the right track, though, I think that after watching this game, i went into a depression...because I was a keeper too, and having little things like the ball slipping through the gloves isnt something to be happy about, ever, even in a champsionship game situation. Though, the blame cant be put just soley on Perkins. Finally, after about the 60th minute, they put in Fred, whom of which was fired up and helping out the attack, but still, nothing came close to an equalizer to beat out those beaners. Oh well, there is always next year.

Riles said...

True, it would be unfair to solely blame Perkins, especially when considering the rather loose marking which led to the first Chivas goal, in addition to the rain. DC was knocking on the door after Fred came on, but alas, the last-minute magic from RFK didn't make the trip south.