Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Puerto Rico-Cruz Azul CCL

Mexican clubs don't lose at home in international competition (unless, of course, it's to fellow Mexican clubs) when it matters.

Case in point: Tuesday's latest opportunity for another team to leave Mexico with a series victory and was the latest evidence that the Mexican clubs are the strongest in the region.

Puerto Rico gave it their all, perhaps gave Cruz Azul a little too much respect, but it took la Maquina 120 minutes and five penalty kicks to get past the gutty little Puerto Rico side.

Puerto Rico entered the game with a 2-0 aggregate lead, went a man up half hour in and still couldn't put Cruz Azul away. The Islanders even had a one-goal lead with less than 10 minutes to go, less than 10 minutes between the USL side and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League final, but squandered it away too. The two teams exchanged extra-time goals, with Puerto Rico's coming courtesy of a nifty strike from distance by Sandy Gbandi. But Cesar Villaluz equalized a little later for the hosts.

In the end, Cruz Azul won it on penalties, besting the Islanders by a 4-2 shootout score. It's a stinging loss for Puerto Rico, especially since the Islanders had come so far only to lose in such heartbreaking manner.

Now, the final is guaranteed of being an all-Mexico final. Cruz Azul will take on the Atlante-Santos survivor in the CCL final. Although that is a surprise to nobody - at least it shouldn't be - the manner in which the USL threatened to pull off an upset was fairly surprising.


rosyf said...

Well maybe the CCL form will carry my bluecrossed team to the Trisubchampionship in Mexican league! LOL

East River said...

The Islanders have nothing to be ashamed of they played fairly well but a goal keeper can only make but so many saves. Still PRI was not the same as Montreal's collapse. The Islanders really hung on despite the pressue and unlike Houston v Pachuca a few years, DC v. Pumas or Montreal v. Santos this year Puerto Rico did not give up 5 goals in Mexico/Mexico City. They could have laid down died when it went into overtime but they shocked everyone with that goal. Bill Gaudette is a really good goal keeper and you must wonder why teams like DC and the Galaxy have not scooped this guy up.

LB can you provide any links of reaction to the game and Mexican media's thoughts on the two USL's teams play/run in the CCL?

East River said...

I should add that Colin Clark should be in MLS. He was a good coach at FC Dallas and has done an outstanding job in PR.

Anonymous said...

You've stated the obvious, the mexican league has the luxury of being able to bank on the gold mine on ex pats living in the states. TV contracts, friendlies media coverage American Sponsers, etc... this wont change until MLS ups the salary cap to compete for better players to at least start giving LMF teams a run for their money.

Anonymous said...

Only place tougher to play than Mexico City seems to be La Paz. Puerto Rico could only hang on so long before they were gassed.

Anonymous said...

Oh well! Puerto Rico has all that water, just remember the game against Santos

Anonymous said...

Puerto Rico was pathetic , Colin Clark showed some horrible judgement.Why the fuck did he go in trying to defend the 2-0 game one lead.Fucking pussy .No team that goes in with the intention od defending themselves for 90 minutes deserves to go through.The USL is fucking second rate