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Missed Opportunities

Most of us were sensible enough to know that D.C. United was not going to get a result at Pachuca and that the club would have to take the Champions' Cup series next week at RFK. But we had to believe that Houston, the defending MLS champion, would take care of business at Estadio Robertson last night against Saprissa and then head to Costa Rica next week needing only a tie to reach the finals for the first time. Instead, the Dynamo squandered an abundance of opportunities, including Brian Ching's header in the dying moments, and settled for a scoreless tie that left Saprissa in control of the series.

Will either DCU or Houston make it to the finals? Or will MLS suffer another year of Champions' Cup disappointment?

While you consider your answer, you should know that.....

*Arsene Wenger was not happy about the officiating in Arsenal's 1-1 tie with Liverpool. His criticism comes around the 45-second mark of this postgame clip.

*The CONCACAF Olympic women's qualifiers got under way last night in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, with two ridiculous scorelines: Mexico 8, Jamaica 1 and Canada 6, T&T 0. How might that USA-Jamaica get-together turn out tomorrow?

*Two MLS matches on ESPN2 tonight: New England (1-0-0) visits Chicago (0-0-1) in a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference final at 8 p.m. ET and San Jose (0-0-0) debuts at Los Angeles (0-1-0) at 10:30. Is it possible the Galaxy are already worse than an expansion team?

*In case you missed it, here's the stunning game-winner by Brazil's Deivid "Hulk" de Souza in Fenerbahce's 2-1 victory over Chelsea yesterday. Turn up the volume. (Hurry up and watch it before the video lords take it away!)

By Steve Goff  |  April 3, 2008; 9:03 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Next: Zaher In, Cezar Out

Comments

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news;_ylt=Aqa_pmjUA6UxyN2g426FWg4mw7YF?slug=ap-belize-mexico&prov=ap&type=lgns

Another Concacaf WCQ to be played in the US:
Belize to "host" Mexico in June in either LA or Houston.

Posted by: Soccer in the US | April 3, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

In case you missed it, here's the stunning game-winner from Fenerbahce's comeback victory over Chelsea yesterday
-------------------------------------------

I would have saved it.

Posted by: Hope Solo | April 3, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Belize doesn't have a stadium that meets FIFA standards for the first leg of the two-match series on June 15, Mexico's opener in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

The match could mark the debut of Jesus Ramirez as Mexico's manager."

I'd imagine they'll be able to sell a lot of tickets to that match (just like Anguilla/El Salvador drew very well at RFK).

Posted by: money-maker | April 3, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I watched the Chelsea game and am very disappointed in the coaching (yet again) and in the player's lack of fire. The crowd in Turkey is the loudest crowd I have heard at a sporting event. Fenerbahce truly does have a 12th man for their home games. I only hope Chelsea win back at the Bridge.

Posted by: Garrett | April 3, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Forget the score lines of the womens games. It's no more ridiculous than Antigua playing for a World Cup spot. The most important number coming out of last night's game was this: (A: 20185) . . . . in Mexico for a womens game. And forget about US/Jamaica. US v. Mexico in front of 20,000+ should be a good one. If US wins, and Canada plays Mexico for the second ticket to China, it will be an even better one.

Posted by: WNT fan | April 3, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

It was well struck - I have watched the replay on Fox and here several times and I, like Hope, feel Cudicini could have done better.

Posted by: Domino95 | April 3, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

As for the incomprehensible non call on Kuyt - when asked in the post game interview if he thought "it" was a penalty (he said it was close) - if he bit his lip any harder he would have bled.

Posted by: Domino95 | April 3, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, I'm kind of shocked by the Mexico result. Mexico might be the third best womens team in Concacaf but gets beaten by us by a similar margin. Jamaica, I think, isn't considered to be all that bad of a second tier womens program. So what got into Mexico? Are they ready to make the leap? Or is Jamaica real bad this year? Canada winning like that-not surprising.

Posted by: bluemeanies | April 3, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

A wicked laserbeam of a shot to be sure. Nothing the keeper can do about that. Upper corner from 30 yards with an assload of velocity.

Posted by: G$ | April 3, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"Is it possible the Galaxy are already worse than an expansion team?"

Western Conference Standings:
Colorado
Real Salt Lake
Chivas USA
FC Dallas
San Jose
Houston
Seattle
LA

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 3, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Chelsea fail miserably at home. Go Fenerbahce!

Posted by: strago | April 3, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I have been watching that re-play all over the place, and I am stunned every single time I watch it. That was a goal of the highest, HIGHEST, order. Plus it was a nice way to redeem himself for that unlucky deflection into his own net. Chel$ki better be careful at the Bridge, because I get the feeling that Fener is not a team you want to go gang-busters with...they will torch you. But we shall see.

Posted by: Kosh | April 3, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Its goals like de Souza's that are sorely missing from U.S. Soccer. I don't know of any on the U.S. team who are willing to strike from that distance with that accuracy and pace. It is very evident at every World Cup. While teams like the Germany, England, and Argentina have players who are able and willing to shoot on target from 10+ yards outside the box, the U.S. is always trying to force the extra pass into the box. I'd like to see the US side start shooting like this. I know Adu is more than willing and able, hopefully other youngsters will also in the future.

Posted by: J on K St | April 3, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Its goals like de Souza's that are sorely missing from U.S. Soccer. I don't know of any on the U.S. team who are willing to strike from that distance with that accuracy and pace. It is very evident at every World Cup. While teams like the Germany, England, and Argentina have players who are able and willing to shoot on target from 10+ yards outside the box, the U.S. is always trying to force the extra pass into the box. I'd like to see the US side start shooting like this. I know Adu is more than willing and able, hopefully other youngsters will also in the future.

Posted by: J on K St | April 3, 2008 09:51 AM

Aside from Adu, Altidore and maybe Holden are the only ones that come to mind. But I totally agree, the US needs someone with big enough balls to take a chance with a long shot like that.

Posted by: voyager | April 3, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Come on guys, we have a guy who can take that shot, his name is Frankie Hejduk...lol...

Posted by: Alan | April 3, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess we'll see if Mexico is 3d best in CONCACAF or 2d. 2004 trials they beat Canada. They face long odds versus USA, but its not a walk-over, especially in front of a Mexican crowd. Great coaching (head is a Mexican mens international, assts from US colleges), Marigol is world class scorer. Their youth teams are doing extremely well in FIFA comp. US collegians on the roster. Jamaica (obviously) isn't remotely in their league.

Posted by: WNT fan | April 3, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

How bout the Libertadores matches last night? Worth the extra $10 a month for Fox Sports Espanol...

Lanus 3 - Estudiantes 3 (two sent off)
America 4 - River Plate 3

Soccer sure is boring!!

Posted by: Kev | April 3, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Always love to see the underdog come through. They were going nuts in Turkey, I love football.

Posted by: Kevin | April 3, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"Marigol is world class scorer."

Are you talking about Maribel Dominguez? She's not listed in the match report. Is she still active?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 3, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The Dynamo looked good everywhere on the field last night except up front. I counted at least 4 instances where the Dynamo could have done enough to advance - Ching, blew three of them. Houston looked good, could be because Saprissa bunkered. Now they have to go into that monster of a place and try and do the work. Houston does seem to have the speed to spring decent counters, they just need to finish. I still think that defense ain't what se used to be.

Posted by: Kosh | April 3, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@I-270

Yes. I don't know, but I hope so.

Posted by: WNT fan | April 3, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The print version of the Washington Post I receive had zero coverage of the result from the game at Pachuca.

Posted by: garbaggio | April 3, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Zaher in? Cezar out? Goff scooped? What's going on?!
http://www.behindthebadge.com/2008/04/zaher-cezar-updates.php

Posted by: 4th horseman | April 3, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The contrast between that shot and the Dynamo's shooting last night is stark....

Posted by: Lloyd Heilbrunn | April 3, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Goff scooped by.... uh, the DC United organization? Big whoop. He can't compete with a front office that deliberately withholds information from public journalism and instead presents it as part of a marketing initiative.

Love 'em or don't care for 'em, DC United is notoriously crappy with actual dealings with the local media. That's NOT Goff's fault.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 3, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Of course, when there's BAD news, DC United tries to sweep it under the rug, but real journalists like Goff cover it, for which a fraction of Goff's readers attack him for... uh, not being a fan?

But I know that the Insider Nation is sophisticated enough to understand the difference between advertisements that are paraded as news, and real reporting.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 3, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Well tell Arsene that "I deed not see the penalty" -- that being his favorite response when the tables are turned -- then he should read Law 5 -- it's not a penalty if the center doesn't call it. Sou you next Tuesday at a place where supporters actually sing and support.

Posted by: Liverbird | April 3, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Wenger saw enough of the game to know what was going on with the officiating. He always seems to miss so much.

Posted by: Eddie C | April 3, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mastodon Juan is here to right the wrongs of America. The clouds are opening up and the rain is falling.

Posted by: Debbie Downer | April 3, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

the US needs someone with big enough balls to take a chance with a long shot like that.

Posted by: voyager | April 3, 2008 09:56 AM

There have been some on rare occasion. Most recently, despite all his other issues, I think Clint Mathis brought this element to the team.

I agree it is something the US team needs more of.

Posted by: Rob | April 3, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

"Belize doesn't have a stadium that meets FIFA standards for the first leg of the two-match series on June 15, Mexico's opener in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

The match could mark the debut of Jesus Ramirez as Mexico's manager."

I'd imagine they'll be able to sell a lot of tickets to that match (just like Anguilla/El Salvador drew very well at RFK).

Posted by: money-maker | April 3, 2008 09:25 AM

--------------------------------------------

IIRC, Mexico's match last qualifying against (I think) Dominica did pretty well in San Antonio.

Posted by: Brian | April 3, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I hope Fenerbahce pulls out at least a draw at Stamford Bridge. I'd love to see them in the semifinals. Their fans are just unreal, it'd be worth it just to see (and hear) their home-leg of the semifinal on ESPN2. Surely there must be some decibel record for a sporting event being broken every gamenight in Turkey...

Posted by: Taylor | April 3, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

the US needs someone with big enough balls to take a chance with a long shot like that.

Posted by: voyager | April 3, 2008 09:56 AM
----------------------------------------------

I think there are plenty of players on the US MNT who will take shots like that -- the problem is that they generally wind up 30 one section to the left or right and 30 rows up, rather than in the back of the net. The only one that springs to mind in recent years is Feilhaber's volley against Mexcio. But then again, he's not on the MNT, so his doesn't count...

Posted by: edgeonyou | April 3, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Was it a penalty...? Surely if Senderos or Gallas had pulled down Torres Mr. Wenger would say that it wasn't and that the striker fell too easily. Of course when it's his boy that goes down the ref is the worst in the game for not calling it. Stupid frog...

Posted by: Rob | April 3, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The print version of the Washington Post I receive had zero coverage of the result from the game at Pachuca.

-----

There was plenty of coverage in the print edition. However, it was only in the very late editions because the match started so late.


Posted by: Goff | April 3, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Zaher in? Cezar out? Goff scooped? What's going on?!
http://www.behindthebadge.com/2008/04/zaher-cezar-updates.php

Posted by: 4th horseman | April 3, 2008 10:37 AM
===============

The FO produces that blog, so it's not a scoop. In the old days we called it a "press release."

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 3, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see the first half of Houston-Saprilla, but in the second half, Houston looked like Pachuca did against DCU. Totally and completely dominant -- except that Pachuca scored and Houston just couldn't find the back of the net. Granted, Saprilla was bunkering down for the tie, but Houston just looked really fast and fresh. That Ashe guy on the left looked dangerous, and their forward Camarillo(?) looked good too. Ching, as usual, blew several golden chances.

Posted by: edgeonyou | April 3, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"...the U.S. is always trying to force the extra pass into the box. I'd like to see the US side start shooting like this."
-----

I couldn't disagree more. Up until the past few years, the US took far too many low-percentage chances like that and always skied them. The goal on the highlight reel made it to the highlights because it is so remarkable. These shots very rarely go in. The US has shown discipline of late in not giving the ball away by by taking low-percentage shots in hopes of making SportsCenter.

Posted by: David | April 3, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Somewhere in that video the announcer is saying "It's in the net" in Turkish.

Posted by: BillyBob | April 3, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Mastodon Juan is here to right the wrongs of America. The clouds are opening up and the rain is falling."

I was wrong to assume that all of Insider Nation was bright enough to understand the difference between reporting and advertising.

I-270, thank you for clarifying the distinction.

It amazes me to see Goff attacked for doing his job well and with integrity by the tiny percentage of the readers of this blog who are halfwitted.

Excuse me while I go set up an astroturf front group for the industrial waste disposal industry. "My family wouldn't have a house if it weren't for dioxin-laden bricks sealed in wax!"

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 3, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Benny Olsen has hit some bombs from distance. Some WC qualifying matches come to mind. Not a long term solution for us, but he deserves credit.

Posted by: Sean G | April 3, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Just to clarify that by us, I meant the US MNT. Ben will still be very important for DCU for several more years.

Posted by: Sean G | April 3, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I watched the first half last night Houston v. Saprissa. It was shockingly missed ops all around. They just COULD NOT finish.

Posted by: td | April 3, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The BSPN2 doubleheader tonight presumably requires two broadcast crews. (Obviously Foudy and Stone can do their before/in-between/after thing from Bristol, CT.) Does anyone know which game will be handled by the first team (JPD/Harkes), and who will do the other game?

Posted by: tri-village | April 3, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Houston-Saprissa, Ching is a poacher, not a world class finisher. He also blew several chances in the first half and was AWFUL for the MNT against Poland, with one of the widest misses I have honestly ever seen on a shot. It would have compared to a field goal in American football going out of bounds on a sideline before it crossed the goal line.
He and Taylor Twellman should not feature in the MNT's 2010 plans.

Posted by: Real New York FC | April 3, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

My guess would be that Quakes at Galaxy gets the "first team". Remember, this IS BSPN2...

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 3, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"It would have compared to a field goal in American football going out of bounds on a sideline before it crossed the goal line."

Can Adam Vinatieri play soccer?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So far as I can determine, Marigol has been playing for Barca (on a side that, unlike its male counterpart, is pretty far down in the league standings). She is 29 years old, so you'd think she'd still be in the mix, barring injury, pregnancy, etc.

I suppose that a number of the Mexican players have U.S. college experience, but none have recognizable names, unlike the Canadians who were bona fide stars for nationally ranked teams (Sinclair, Lang, McLeod, etc.). In the past, Mexico has recruited players who not only played college ball north of the border, but who had no connection with Mexico except one Mexican-born parent. (Remember Laurie Hill in '99?) Are there any cases like that on the current Mexico WNT roster?

Speaking of which, Soccer America reports that Joe Lapira, the Louisianan whose only connection to Ireland is his mother, is off to Norway, having blown off Toronto FC.

Posted by: tri-village | April 3, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Turn it up man!
That crowd sounded Awesome!

I Feel like United could beat Pachuca with some help from their supporters next week.

Hope we see Carvallo this weekend and maybe again next week depending on his performance.

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