Sunday, January 6, 2008

InterLiga Wraps up its Houston Visit

This past week saw the return of professional Mexican soccer to Houston, Texas, with InterLiga qualifying rounds at Robertson Stadium on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Thursday Night featured a Group A doubleheader with Toluca taking on Atlas in the first game and Club America squaring off against Morelia in the late match. Maybe it was the cold, maybe the players were tired, but Toluca and Atlas slogged their way to an uninspiring nil-nil tie, and although Toluca managed seven attempts and Atlas nine attempts, it seemed that the ball rarely left midfield.

Although the temperature continued to drop, the evening heated up when Club America and Morelia took to the pitch. The only goal of the game, and the night, came in the 12th minute when America midfielder Alejandro Arrguello found the back of the net on a scorcher from just outside the box.

To their credit, Morelia did not give up and most likely would have come away the winner of the match but for the superb goal tending of Club America’s Ochoa, including his spectacular save on a penalty kick taken by Oscar Rojas in the 55th minute. For those who braved the cold evening and the grinding Toluca - Atlas game, this match was well worth the price of admission.

Saturday evening brought warmer temperatures, a bigger crowd, and a Group B doubleheader.

The first match featured Cruz Azul and Monterrey, both clubs, especially Monterrey, were well represented in the stands, making for great atmosphere. Cruz Azul needed points to keep their hopes of advancement alive, and that hunger translated to the pitch where Cruz Azul’s Edgar Andrade scored a goal in the 19th minute. Realizing they were light on offense, after selling off three forwards during the off-season, Azul went on the defensive and limited Monterrey to 5 goal attempts, none of which found the back of the net.

Saturday’s nightcap featured San Luis taking on Pumas. San Luis clearly took to the pitch with the intention to walk away with 3 points, while Pumas appeared more interested in getting back to their hotel for a good night’s rest. San Luis clearly controlled this match, the only one in

Houston that saw multiple goals, presenting a strong attack and solid defense. Tressor Moreno scored San Luis’ first goal in the 9th minute and then Alfredo Moreno (no relation) put up an insurance goal for San Luis in the 36th minute.

InterLiga moves on from Houston with more group stage matches being held in Dallas, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles this week before the tournament final is held on Saturday at the Home Depot Center.

No comments: