Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 Concacaf Champions Cup - Houston looks for first KO of the year; DC United dominates

Houston Dynamo - CSD Municipal
Team tied 0-0 in first leg
8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT
Robertson Stadium
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Radio: KBME 790AM (Eng)

Tonight, for the first time since winning the MLS Cup last November, the Houston Dynamo return to their home pitch and they need a win if they want to keep their chances of becoming the top club team in the world alive. However, to do so, they must get past a very tough side in CSD Municipal.

The two played a feisty game last week in Guatemala that saw a number of quality chances for both sides, but no goals.

If the Dynamo are to win this match, they will need another fantastic performance from, drum roll please, Dwayne De Rosario. With Stuart Holden and Brad Davis unavailable for the match, his team will again look to the Canadian to be their engine. He will need to push the offense by sending in good balls to Ching and Wondolowski as well as taking some long-range shots to force Municipal's defense out of their box. He will also need to work with Ricardo Clark to prevent Municipal from cracking their defense.

The Dynamo's backline looked good in Guatemala, but Mario Rodriguez and Freddy Garcia still managed to make trouble and it is only due to the great work of goalkeeper Pat Onstad that Houston did not lose the match late. They can expect more of the same tonight.

Even with their issues, Houston still has the edge in this one. Everyone will be looking to Ching to provide the goals as their score pool is limited, but Ching has this habit of finding the net when he needs to. Add to it the best defensive line in the league and it should be enough to get them into the semifinals.

Me HD 1-0 Municipal
Wife HD 1-0 Municipal

DC United 5-0 Harbour View
DC wins series 6-1

What a home opener for DC United. On a pitch that might be the best in America, United demolished Jamaica's Harbour View thanks in huge part to the efforts of Fred. He was all over the place on the night. Making the needed tackles to stop breaks while providing perfect passes to setup DC's attack.

Although the first 45 minutes were tight, at no time did the outcome ever seem in doubt. And once United figured out Harbour's offside trap in the second half, the real damage began. Luciano Emilio picked up where he left off last season while Devon McTavish managed a brace to run his campaign total up to three goals from two matches. Really, Devon McTavish.

Santino Quaranta came on in the 64' and had an immediate effect on his side. He cut through the tired Harbour backline and generally caused havoc in front of goal. His two assists are a testament to what he brought into the game and as long as he doesn't let stuff like this go to his head, he looks to be on his way to playing a significant role in United's season.

If there is a downside for DC from all this it is the lack of action their defense saw on the night. No matter who they face in the next round, they will face a tougher test in their final third. Nothing really stood out as a major issue last night but that might be due to the lack of force from Harbour them the strength of the back.

DC United: Devon McTavish 26', Luciano Emilio 63', 66', Devon McTavish 68', Fred 88'

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