MLS teams split their four encounters with Mexican league opposition as the second SuperLiga tournament kicked off last weekend. Houston ran up a 4-0 demolition of Atlante and New England knocked
off Santos Laguna, 1-0, but Chivas USA and D.C. United fell to defending SuperLiga champion Pachuca and Chivas Guadalajara, respectively, by 2-1 scores. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney
details the first round of group games. DYNAMO DOMINATES.
Without leading goalscorer Brian Ching
and suffering from sporadic scoring from
its forwards heading into its SuperLiga 2008 game, defending MLS champion Houston conjured up goals from midfielders similarly plagued to rout Atlante, 4-0. Stuart
, goalless all season, tallied twice and Brian Mullan
collected his first goal in more than a year after Dwayne DeRosario
- the midfield supremo
pushed up front, like Mullan, out of desperation - had opened the scoring midway through the first half.
How badly was Atlante, the 2007 Apertura champion, dominated? Houston keeper
encountered exactly zero shots on goal.
Rookie Geoff Cameron
picked up assists on goals by Holden and Mullan, and Houston set a club
record by scoring three goals in seven minutes to take a 3-0 halftime lead. DeRosario headed home a Brad Davis
cross in the 20th minute; Holden added the second just 92 seconds
later from a Cameron feed, and then redirected a Wade Barrett cross in the 28th minute to send most of the 13,105 fans at Robertson Stadium into a state of delirious disbelief.
before halftime De Rosario and Javier Munoz Mustafa
scuffled and were ejected for violent conduct in the 44th minute. Both will miss Tuesday's Group A games: Houston hosts
Chivas Guadalajara and Atlante plays D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
Cameron set up the fourth goal with a trademark run up the right flank. Mullan put away the low cross for his first
goal since June 21
of last year. D.C. DENIED.
A power outage and a failed Jaime Moreno
penalty kick: what are the odds of those events occurring in the same match?
Chivas Guadalajara left RFK Stadium Saturday night with a 2-1 win, having twice narrowly avoided goals
when D.C. shots hit the woodwork, and escaping again when keeper Luis Michel
repelled Moreno's attempt from the spot shortly after Luciano Emilio
D.C. The game drew a crowd of 22,453. Omar Arellano
and Gonzalo Pineda
scored goals for Chivas Guadalajara sandwiched around the halftime interval.
Emilio hit the post in the eighth minute with the game scoreless, and the post intervened again to deny Devon McTavish
an equalizer 11 minutes into the second half.
A minute after McTavish's miss, D.C. keeper Zach Wells
kept the score at 1-0 with a spectacular leaping save of Sergio Santana
's shot, and a few minutes
later, the antiquated RFK lighting system flickered out, necessitating a 19-minute delay.
After play resumed, a superb Pineda free kick, set up by a hotly disputed foul, doubled
Guadalajara's lead in the 72nd minute. Emilio got that goal back four minutes later by overpowering Jose Antonio Olvera
to drill a Bryan Namoff
pass into the
net. Emilio challenged Olvera again following the re-start, and forced a foul inside the penalty area, but Michel flew to his left and pushed away Moreno's penalty attempt.
REVS RELY ON ROOKIE.
New England needed some time to exploit a man-advantage, and rookie Kheli Dube
tucked away a goal in the 70th minute that held up for a 1-0
win over Santos Laguna, the Mexican Clausura 2008 champion, at Gillette Stadium in front of 10,118 fans. Oribe Peralta
tested Revs' keeper Matt Reis
with a point-blank drive that the All-Star selection bravely smothered but New England provided most of the attacking impetus in the first half. Scorched several times by Sainey
, Santos midfielder Juan Pablo Rodriguez
felled him with an elbow that produced a straight red card late in the first half.
Nyassi's brazen runs
finally paid off when he got to the byline, and cut back a diagonal ball that Steve Ralston
dummied. It ran to Dube, whose low shot deflected off goalie Oswaldo
's glove and into the net. PACHUCA POUNCES.
Playing without Brad Guzan
, who was en route to England and might be just days away
from securing a work permit and contract with Premier League club Aston Villa, Chivas USA took an early lead but by halftime was trailing Pachuca, 2-1, Sunday night at Home Depot Center before
14,528, and that score stood up the rest of the way. Gerardo Rodriguez
assisted on goals by Bruno Marioni
and Gabriel Caballero
the 23rd and 42nd minutes, respectively, to wipe out Ante Razov
's opening strike in the 16th minute. Seven players, six from Chivas USA, were cautioned in a spirited battle as
the 2007 SuperLiga champion opened defense of its title by rebounding quickly after falling behind.
Chivas USA fluffed a prime opportunity in the eighth minute when Fausto
was whistled and cautioned for a handball inside the penalty area. Keeper Miguel Calero
went the wrong way, but Claudio Suarez
's kick struck
Razov nearly re-tied the game just minutes into the second half with a fierce downward header, but Calero pushed it round the post at full stretch.
B play resumes Wednesday, Pachuca plays at New England and Chivas USA hosts Santos Laguna.