Thursday, March 20, 2008

2008 Concacaf Champions Cup - De Rosario carries Houston past Municipal; Pachuca win date with DC United

Houston Dynamo 3-1 CSD Municipal

Houston was outplayed for most of the first half, but held their own enough to keep the score level. Then came the second 45, otherwise known as the Dwayne De Rosario show.

De Rosario was all over the pitch creating chances while slowing Municipal's attacks. His first goal was coated in luck as Municipal's Claudio Albizuris clearance attempt into De Ro's chest was a bit strange. However, luck alone does not explain the goal as it took talent to quickly settled the ball and get off a perfect shot.

The goal gave Houston a bit of a swagger and their passing game greatly improved from that point on. The improve passing gave Corey Ashe an ability to show off his speed and cause some moments for Municipal's backline, which leads to the controversy.

Ashe earned a pk from a light foul by Municipal defender Renato Blanco. Most days, I don't think that would have been a pk and Ashe likely would have got a yellow for a dive, however this one looks to be a makeup call for some series pushing and tripping Brian Ching suffered in the box during the first half.

The second goal lead to a fight after the kickoff, which should have resulted in a red card to Selvyn Ponciano for purposely smacking Chris Wondolowski with his cast (after re-watching the video, Ponciano pauses his arm movement for a moment, slightly looks at Wondolowski, then throws his arm, which is in a hard cast, right into Wondolowski's face). If Municipal went down to 10, as they should have, the game would have been over.

The ensuing restart caught Municipal off guard as Wondolowski finished a fantastic centering ball by Ashe.

Municipal then earned a pk of their own off a light handball call against Wade Barrett. Barrett's arms were protected his chest, which can go either way. There was no intent, but the ref wanted to make up for the light Houston pk, so he gave them the kick. Fair.

But it wasn't done yet as Municipal ran through a suddenly lackluster Houston side and earned, what looked like, a free and clear second goal. However, the ref called a handball, thus no goal. This was the worst call of the game as it was not even close to right, nor was it a correction of a previous mistake. The game should have been 3-2 with a couple more minutes to play.

So Houston was lucky but still deserved the win. However, there are some questions about the Dynamo defense heading into the season as Boswell is still not on the same page and their speed, or lack there of, is bound to cost them. On offense, Brian Ching still does not appear to be fully back from last season's injury and Franco Caraccio needs to learn when to kill off games (I know he is try to impress, but a late sub when your team is up needs to know when to hold off).

Overall, Municipal might not have won the series, but they did win respect. If this game was played again with Fredy GarcĂ­a, the outcome could easily go the other way. Still, Houston matches on. Congrats and great show by the 14,348 fans who made it out last night.

Houston will face the winner of Deportivo Saprissa (CR) - Atlante (Mex) series in the semifinals. Atlante leads 2-1 going into tonights match in Mexico.

Houston - Dwayne De Rosario 47', 69'(pk), Chris Wondolowski 75'
Municipal - Guillermo RamĂ­rez 86'

Pachuca 1-0 Motagua

In the nightcap, Pachuca and Motagua played a very unexciting match that was decided by Luis Montes's goal in the 43'. Pachuca is still getting wins, but they are nowhere near as impressive as they were last year as their attack is very forgettable. Still, with goalkeeper Miguel Calero looking strong, DC will have a difficult time getting past them.

Pachuca - Miguel Calero 43'

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Blogger ERic said...

I was sitting a bit far from the TV in the bar, but it sure looked, on the replay, that it was a clear handball, and I was impressed with that call.

The other two PK calls, not so much.

5:21 PM  

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