Thursday, August 30, 2007

SuperLiga 2007 - Pachuca wins, Beckham gets hurt, LA dooms themselves

LA Galaxy 1 (3)-(4) 1 Pachuca

Before I talk about the outcome I just got to say that last night was a wonderful match. If MLS games could have even half as good an atmosphere as the fans showed in LA's half-filled stadium*, it would raise the level of the sport in this country more then any international signing.

So what about the play on the pitch? This was LA's best game of the season, but even in that, their own mistakes are what killed them. The fact that Pachuca, one of the most power offensives in the world, only got six shots on goal over 120-minutes says a lot. However, what says even more is the own goal the Galaxy surrendered to give Pachuca the lead in the 28'.

The good news is LA didn't bottom out and give up. Even when Beckham went down with a tweaked knee, the team kept rolling and had chances but could not put one away till the very final moment of second-half stoppage time. That bicycle kick goal by Chris Klein is the sort of thing all players dream about and Klein made it happen.

But all that joy was almost erased in the first OT period by another own goal as Xavier defected a cross right towards the net. If it weren’t for Cannon making a fingernail save, Pachuca would have gone up again off a mistake. LA started pushing back in the second OT, but it was not enough so to penalties we go.

Pachuca goes first and Lugo scores. Then come Vagenas with a chance to make up for his own goal mistake and, well his night just got a little worse as his shot is saved. Ray scores for Pachuca but good old Cobi Jones gets LA on the board with their second kick. And then Cannon did what he needed to do for his club and stopped Caballero's attempt and then Klein evened the shootout. Both Masure and Buddle made their team's fourth shots bringing us to the final round.

Marvin Cabrera steps up needing to make it or give the Galaxy a big opening. He takes the shot and bangs it off the crossbar, LA fans go nuts. All they need is one goal and the title is theirs. And who is up, Mr. PK himself, Landon Donovan. The man who stuffed ever pk for the US in the Gold Cup can become the hero. He takes his time making his crosses and kissing his arms and goes for the shot. He goes left as did Pachuca keeper Miguel Calero. The shot is stopped. Donovan is not the hero.

The thing about Pachuca is they don't give you many chances to beat them and if you don't take advantage of what is in front of you, well it is going to cost you. Sure enough, Carlos Rodriguez finished his shot meaning the pressure was on Xavier to come up big for his club. Needless to say, he didn't come up big. In fact, he seemed to shot the ball so far to the right that it almost went over the sideline instead of the end line (okay, that is an exaggeration). And Pachuca win yet another trophy.

LA did perform better then expected but without a victory, it doesn't mean much. As if this game wasn't hard enough, the Galaxy now find themselves in last place in MLS play after Real Salt Lake shocked KC in league play. So no title, Beckham hurt, defense still off and last place in the league, not a great Wednesday night for any club. Still, thanks for putting on such a great final act to the SuperLiga story.

Goals: Pachuca: Own Goal (Peter Vagenas) 28'
LA: Chris Klein (1) 93+

Penalty-kick shootout:
P: Rafael Marquez Lugo (Goal) (1-0)
LA: Peter Vagenas (Saved) (1-0)
P: Luis Gabriel Rey (Goal) (2-0)
LA: Cobi Jones (Goal) (2-1)
P: Gabriel Caballero (Saved) (2-1)
LA: Chris Klein (Goal) (2-2)
P: Julio Mansur (Goal) (3-2)
LA: Edson Buddle (Goal) (3-3)
P: Marvin Cabrera (Crossbar) (3-3)
LA: Landon Donovan (Saved) (3-3)
P: Carlos Rodriguez (Goal) (4-3)
LA: Abel Xavier (Wide Right) (4-3)

* The stadium was only half full because LA can only sell 12,500 tickets to matches held on nights when California State University has classes, so the smaller crowd was still a sellout.

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Blogger Pitch to Pub said...

Why couldn't I find this match on TV last night? You would think my $100+ a month I give DirecTV would give me access to the channel it aired on. Why didn't any of the usual US based channels not pick this match up? Ugh!!!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Hay Pitch,

I hear you. The strange thing is how much Fox Soccer Channel talked about SuperLiga during their MLS broadcasts and their nightly Fox Soccer Report, but they didn't air it in the US. Fox Sports Canada did air it but not in the US. Makes no sense to me.

The one shame about this year's SuperLiga is the lack of an English language broadcast. The next is that it was only on Telefutura, which, if I recall correctly, reaches the smallest percentage of the US market of any major Spanish channel.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the other comments on the board, ditch your cable/statelite company for Dish Network. You get the most channels for soccer including FSC, GolTV, ESPNU, Setenta, and all the other
American spanih TV.

Ok enough of my advertisement.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, man, what a shame you all weren't able to watch this game. This was truly an outstanding game. Huge drama right through to the last PK. Beckam out, while unlucky for him, was in my eyes a turning point in this game. Not that it inspired the Galaxy but it seems that Donovan (whom I'm not really fond of) was free to do his thing. Making runs, stepping in, making things happen. The boys from LA stepped it up, but the true inspiration of this game came after the enterance of the "'ol' timer" Cobi Jones. He just outrightly made a mockery of the younger players on this Galaxy team. A true fighting heart is balled up in this players chest.

Then there was the crowd. As always seems to be the case, the pro Mexican league crowd was drowning out the home teams crowd. But slowly, very slowly in the first half, the Galaxy crowd found their legs and soon there were the chants, the jeers, the threats that make a match come alive. You knew things were good when the Pachuca keeper could no longer keep his composure and he challenged some in the crowd to step down to the pitch and settle things like men. Ha!

The Galaxy really worked to stay in this game. The tying goal in the 86th minute was amazing and brought the house down. In the end it was a shame the Galaxy lost but even more a shame that the media was blind to the drama. Instead their drama was the injury and eventual loss of Beckham. American media just doesn't get it!


10:04 PM  

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