Thursday, September 30, 2010

CCL Matchday 5

There's one more match left for the CONCACAF Champions League competitors, but it's pretty clear what's going to happen. Real Salt Lake is guaranteed to go through and will be playing Cruz Azul at home for the right to see who finishes first in Group A. Columbus Crew would need a TON of bad luck in order to not get through Group B, but will likely finish second. Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders will be playing their last CCL games October 19th as both sides have been eliminated.

Toronto FC 1 - 1 Real Salt Lake

Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake started the week with a contest at BMO Field. Both teams rolled out strong lineups as RSL was fighting to clinch a spot in the knockout stages and TFC was just trying to stay alive. There were a few first teamers missing (Chad Barrett, Javi Morales, Stefan Frei) but you could tell each team was going for it.

TFC actually looked good this game, a big improvement from their first few games under Nick Dasovic, almost (dare I say) dominating the first half. Jacob Peterson scored a goal off a Howard-to-Landon type distribution from Toronto keeper Jon Conway to give the Reds a 1-0 lead at the break.

Javi Morales, who was subbed in at halftime, would get that goal back though with a beautiful free kick. The rest of the game was mostly RSL attacking and TFC defending, but Jon Conway almost gave Salt Lake the win in the 94th minute with what would have been one of the most embarrassing own goals of all time

Municipal 2 - 1 Columbus Crew

I'm not sure I understand Robert Warzycha's strategy here. He had a chance to clinch a spot in the knockout stages with a tie, but left starters William Hesmer, Chad Marshall, Brian Carroll, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Emmanuel Ekpo, Danny O'Rourke, Frankie Hejduk and Emilio Renteria at home. Municipal took advantage and won the game, moving only 1 point back of Columbus in the standings.

Now yes, Municipal does have to travel to Santos Laguna (the group leader) next while Columbus goes to Joe Public (the bottom of the group), but why even put yourself in that position? Why risk not going through by keeping 8 of your best players out of the lineup? Resting them for a match against a San Jose Earthquakes that also played a midweek game seems like an iffy excuse at best.

Seattle Sounders 2 - 0 Marathon

The Sounders, on the other hand, had all the reason in the world to send out a young lineup and they did. And, for the second straight game, the kids played really well when given the chance.

Seattle started
G: Kevin Boss
D: Taylor Graham, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl, Zach Scott
M: David Estrada, Alvaro Fernandez, Miguel Montano, Michael Seamon
F: Roger Levesque (ugh), Mike Fucito

and looked like they had always played with them. Fucito scored both goals, giving him 3 in 178 minutes of CCL play. Good work by the Harvard man who was injured all of last season. Seattle can't go through, but they played with pride and may have knocked Marathon out of the quarterfinals.

The only weird part was seeing Qwest Field with only 12,000 fans in it. Hopefully that doesn't become a regular occurrence.

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