[SUPERLIGA] With a spot in the semifinals already clinched, New England beat Morelia, 1-0, Tuesday at Gillette Stadium to complete SuperLiga group play on maximum points. Marko Perovic barged through a challenge to scoop up a loose ball and drill a low shot in the 62nd minute. A fairly strong lineup missing only Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston from the regular starters preserved the lead and gave the Revs (3-0-0) their third straight 1-0 SuperLiga victory.
Coach Steve Nicol used only one substitute, bringing in rookie Zack Schilawski to replace Perovic for the final minutes.
Veteran midfielder Steve Ralston was expected to make an appearance in the game as part of his official retirement, but he didn’t play. He’s been bothered by a dislocated elbow yet had been cleared by team doctors Monday afternoon. The Revs sent out a press release confirming his decision to retire.
In the other group match, a header by defender Wilman Conde gave Chicago a 1-0 lead over UNAM Pumas, which needed a huge win to tie its Mexican rival on points and overcome its superior goal difference. Instead, the Fire held its lead to the final whistle to drop UNAM into last place.
Conde, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has received an offer from MLS, connected on a Marco Pappa corner kick in the 35th minute to give the Fire its first win of the competition. Any chance of advancing evaporated last weekend when it lost to New England, 1-0, and UNAM tied Morelia, 2-2. Chicago had lost to Morelia, 5-1, on the first day of play.
Morelia (1-1-1) retained second place in Group B despite losing to the Revs and will face the winner of Group A in the semifinals early next month with the dates and venues to be announced. Group A play concludes Wednesday when Pachuca plays Chivas USA and Houston meets Puebla.
July 20 in Foxborough, Mass.
New England 1, Morelia 0. Goal : Perovic 62.
New England – Reis; Tierney, Barnes, Osei, Sinovic, Phelan, Mansally, Desire, Smith, Dube, Perovic (Schilawski, 81).
Morelia – Urbina; Romero, Garcia, Perez, Aldrete, Noriega (Ramirez, 76), Lozano, Pineda (Castelum, 58), Marquez, Hernandez (Vilches, 74), Sansores (Sabah, 52).
Referee: Elmar Rodas.
July 20 in Bridgeview, Ill.
Chicago 1, UNAM 0. Goal: Conde 35.
Chicago – Johnson; Ward (Watson-Siriboe, 52), Conde, Brown, Krol, Mapp (Dimitrov, 67), Banner, Umanzor, Bone, John (McBride, 71), Pappa.
UNAM – Bernal; Fuentes, Veron, Palacios, Velarde, Augusto, Castro, Lopez (Chiapas, 65), Palencia (Cortes, 55), Bravo (Rojas, 46), Cacho (Espinosa, 46).
Final Group B standings: 1. New England (3-0-0, 9 points); 2. Morelia (1-1-1, 4 points); 3. Chicago (1-2-0, 3 pts.); 4. UNAM (0-2-1, 1 pt.)
(New England and Morelia advance to semifinals.)