[SUPERLIGA] New England, the only MLS team to win a SuperLiga title, clinched a spot in the 2010 semifinals by beating Chicago, 1-0, Saturday at Toyota Park. Marko Perovic scored in the 76 th minute to give the Revs (2-0-0, 6 points) their second straight 1-0 victory in SuperLiga play and a spot in the semifinals. Even if New England loses its last group game to Morelia it can finish no lower than second place. The top two teams advance.
Morelia – which thrashed the Fire 5-1 Wednesday on the first day of play -- could have kept pace with the Revs by beating UNAM, but after taking a 2-0 lead, los Monarcos (1-0-1, 4 points) conceded twice. The 2-2 tie left Pumas (0-1-1, 1 point) with a very slim chance of advancing and Chicago (0-2-0, 0 points) eliminated.
Perovic scored after pressure by substitute Kheli Dube forced a Chicago turnover and Perovic fired a shot past keeper Sean Johnson for his fourth goal of the season. Revs goalie Matt Reis, who didn’t play in the Revs’ SuperLiga opener against UNAM, was credited with three saves.
The win improved New England’s record in this competition to 8-1-2, which includes winning the title in 2008. Its only SuperLiga loss is a 2-1 defeat by Chicago in last year’s semifinals.
Luis Gabriel Rey exploited a UNAM defensive blunder in the second minute to give Morelia a 1-0 lead that Hugo Droguett doubled eight minutes into the second half. Miguel Sabah assisted on both goals. UNAM battled back into the match midway through the second half when Leandro Augusto hit a dipping volley from just outside the penalty area, and Javier Cortes scored to cap the comeback with five minutes remaining.
New England wins Group B with a tie or win against Morelia on Tuesday; only if Morelia loses and UNAM beats Chicago by a big score can Pumas sneak into second place.
On Sunday in Group A play at Home Depot Center with Houston tied host Chivas USA, 1-1. Jesus Padilla headed home a Rodolfo Espinoza corner kick for Chivas USA's goal after Lovel Palmer gave Houston the lead in the 6th minute. And Puebla downed Pachuca, 3-1.
July 17 in Bridgeview, Ill.
New England 1, Chicago 0. Goal: Perovic 76.
New England – Reis; Tierney, Barnes, Osei, Allston, Mansally (Smith, 62), Niouky (Phelan, 69) (Sinovic, 93), Joseph, Nyassi, Perovic, Schilawski (Dube, 65).
Chicago – Johnson; Kinney, Watson-Sirobe, Conde, Krol (Mapp, 46), Bone (McBride, 46), Pappa, Lowry, Banner, Umanzor, John (Dimitrov, 80).
Referee: Kevin Stott.
Morelia 2, UNAM Pumas 2.
Goals: Rey 2, Droguett 53; Augusto 68, Cortes 85.
Morelia – Rodriguez; Noriega, Cruzalta (Silva, 46), Salazar, Perez, Lozano, Droguett (Ramirez, 87), Aldrete, Hernandez (Marquez, 46), Sabah, Rey (Gastelum 69).
UNAM – A. Palacios; Fuentes, M. Palacios, Veron, Espinosa (Velarde, 60), Castro, Rojas (Cortes, 58), Augusto, Bravo (Chiapas, 70), Palencia, Cacho (Lopez, 46).
Referee: Ricardo Nieves.