Let’s face it. Many MLS fans and fans of soccer in the United States may be disappointed in getting so close to tasting more international competition to just fall short.
The Houston Dynamo were ousted by Pachuca 5-4 on aggregate while DC United fell 3-2 on aggregate to Chivas.
The signs are nothing but positive and the reality is the gap is closing between the MLS and the Mexican League and the MLS is doing it with far fewer resources and finances.
Looking to the future when the purse strings slowly get opened more and youth development programs begin to reap benefits you will see more success against Mexican clubs.
The Dynamo and United have to be lauded for their outstanding effort in this tournament. In all my years of watching MLS never have I felt as confident as with these two teams in the Concacaf Champions Cup. The last two MLS entries didn’t even get past the quarterfinals and here we are now almost expecting that the Dynamo and DC get past top Mexican clubs.
This was a positive Concacaf run for the teams and the league and serves as a pre-cursor to this summer’s Superliga.
We must always remind ourselves of the financial differences and historical differences in these clubs.
Did you see the relief on the faces of the players and staff of Chivas and Pachuca? Did you see fans nearly in tears when the Dynamo looked as though they were only a few minutes away from advancing before Andres Chitiva scored the tying goal?
Respect has been earned and MLS did us proud.
Now on to the Dynamo game last night and here are a few random thoughts.
Poor start from the Dynamo but credit them for recovering and taking this to overtime. Pachuca is the number one team in Mexico with tons of depth and the obvious difference was their comfort and explosivness on the ball individually in all areas of the field. Some Dynamo players were exposed in this game that you might not see as obvious in MLS league play.
That being said that is just the growth of the league and you have got to be proud of the Houston effort under difficult conditions in an amazing environment. What a spirit and esprit de corps this team has. I honestly believe if they got past Pachuca they would knock off Chivas.
Chaco Gimenez was outstanding, yes some very suspect calls from referee Mauricio Navarro. First goal looked offside from Caballero, suspect second penalty called on Brad Davis that was converted by Gimenez .
Gimenez after the game was full of praise for Houston and their players and he was almost astonished that the Dynamo had not folded in Pachuca. In MLS when you lose a player of importance like Ricardo Clark it is difficult to hide his abscence . Last year it would have been Adrian Serioux this night it was Kelly Gray and give credit to him. He gave all he had.
No MLS team has the number of individuals like Pachuca that can change a game on their own. Andres Chitiva, Christian Gimenez, Damian Alvarez plus their own locally developed players to boot.
The Dynamo effort was a great one and they were only four minutes and stoppage time away from going to a major tournament.
Some special mention to defender Wade Barrett who was solid and made many a saving play to keep the Dynamo in it in the first half. Brian Ching again provided timely plays and continues to be a big game player, Dwayne DeRosario had his moments (header saved by Calero in OT and then Gimenez scored the other way in the final moments of the first overtime) but one wonders if his contract situation is bothering him.
Great to see a small band of Dynamo fans in Mexico and also credit the team for the way they handled the dissapointment of losing . Class act and Houston and MLS fans should be proud of both DC and the Dynamo.
And yes that gap is narrowing.
Give me your thoughts on the Dynamo Pachuca game.