[SUPERLIGA] Miguel Sabah scored two goals before being sent off as Morelia increased the Mexican League's edge in SuperLiga titles by beating New England, 2-1, in the 2010 final Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.
The hometown Revs were second-best for much of the night and survived two Morelia shots off the crossbar in the first half before Sabah scored in the 65th and 75th minutes, after which New England replied with a Kevin Alston goal with 11 minutes to play. The push for an equalizing goal bracketed a second caution and dismissal for Sabah in stoppage time, and at the very end a Khano Smith volley went straight to Morelia keeper Federico Vilar.
New England had beaten Morelia, 1-0, during the group stage, during which the Revs won all three games by 1-0 scores. Morelia finished second to the Revs in Group B to reach the semifinals, in which it beat Houston and New England eliminated Puebla.
Sabah scored his first goal from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after Luis Gabriel Rey and defender Darrius Barnes went down in a tangle dueling for a ball in the penalty area. Referee Elmar Rodas, who had replaced an injured Carlos Batres at halftime, whistled for a penalty amid disbelieving shouts of protest. Sabah cleanly beat keeper Matt Reis for a 1-0 lead.
Revs coach Steve Nicol used three subs five minutes later, bringing on Smith, Roberto Linck and Zack Schilawski, but before those moves could take effect, Sabah struck again. As a headed clearance floated and fell, he shifted his body and feet to sting a left-footed volley from a few yards beyond the penalty arc. The swerving ball dipped sharply over Reis and under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead.
Alston scored his first professional goal in the 79th minute with a savvy blend of aggression and polish. From midfield he pushed a ball to Schilawski and ghosted through the right channel to cushion the return pass and fire a low dart inside the far post.
Smith’s shot marked the last gasp for New England, which won the 2008 final against Houston and is the only MLS team to prevail in the four times the SuperLiga has been played.
The Revs had not been beaten at Gillette in eight previous matches against Mexican teams (seven wins, one tie) including SuperLiga and Concacaf club play.
Under terms of the CBA negotiated and ratified earlier this year, New England’s players will split $150,000. Had the Revs won, the players’ share would have been $300,000.
SuperLiga 2010 final
Sept. 1 in Foxborough, Mass.
New England 1, Morelia 2. Goals: Alston 79; Sabah 65, 75.
New England –Reis; Alston, Barnes, Osei (Schilawski, 71), Gibbs, Phelan, Tierney (Linck, 70), Joseph, Dube (Smith, 70), Perovic, Stolica.
Morelia – Vilar, Dorame, Salazar, Romero, Perez, Pineda (Noriega, 77), Lozano, Droguett, Hernandez (Silva, 94+), Sabah, Rey (Marquez, 87).
Referee: C. Batres (E. Rodas, 46).