Night two of CCL semi final action sees the first leg of Los Angeles vs Monterrey. Monterrey is still a very dangerous club but hasn't been in the best of from during the Liga MX Clausura (currently 7th 9 points off of Tigres). Any team that boasts Aldo de Nigris and Chupete Suazo can wreck you. The Galaxy strike force of Mike Magee and Robbie Keane has been in form and is equally as dangerous to do damage. I fully expect a competitive 2 leg series. JP Delacamera on play by play and the hideous Bryan Dunseth on color. Sadly I don't get the Univision Deportes so no spanish feed for me.
Villarreal gets the start next to Keane but I would still expect Magee to float forward and be aggressive in attack. Sadly I don't recognize much of the Monterrey midfield but it is their A side.
Lets do this!
Home Depot Center is predictably half full.
Second: over the top pass find de Nigris free in the back. He tries to cut it across for Chupete but it goes off Leonardo for a corner. Monterrey begging for a handball. That call is not forthcoming.
Third: Chupete takes Keane down with a little tap on the shin. Two of my favorite players in the region and I hope they screech at each other sometime tonight. FIREWORKS, GIVE THEM TO ME.
Sixth: Cardoza is offsides. The replay shows this was much closer than first viewing would indicate.
Santos Monterrey has been the more aggressive side so far.
Seventh: Monterrey needlessly gives up a corner after a bad touch from the defender. Juninho puts that corner over everyone. Poorly taken.
Not going to lie this game isn't doing much for me right now. I've been perusing tumblr in the hopes of finding inspiration. I did see some nice photos and a great Animals Talking in All Caps post. So there is that.
Seventeenth: Ibarra with a great save off a Mike Magee shot that was dipping low and to the keeper's left. THIS GAME IS SHOWING SIGNS OF LIFE!
The Riot Squad has microphones in their face or they just sound really loud tonight. Their end looks full. So they are probably loud. Kudos to the hardcores.
Nineteenth: Monterrey shuts down an LA run but then concedes a corner. Omar Gonzalez pushes off and it gets immediately called by the ref. This call was rather poor.
Monterrey is looking defensively exploitable. Bad passes, poor decision making, and they have conceded too many corners so far. LA should really be more aggressive offensively. We are twenty-four minutes in and LA has failed to take advantage of poor defending from a high quality side. This isn't going to last.
Twenty-Fifth: Todd Dunivant pushes over Ayovi and fucking Dunseth has the temerity to say that was a weak call. Jesus. He had his arm extended with his hand on the guys back. Yes Ayovi should go down easily since that fucker was fouling the shit out of him.
Twenty-Seventh: LA just not linking up well passing wise.
Twenty-Eighth: DELAGARZA GOAL! Holy fucking shite what I just wrote went out the fucking window. Awesome team goal here. Villareal makes a bit of magic, gets into the box cuts the ball back to Keane who chips it toward the far post and Mike Magee's head. Magee snaps the header down towards goal and Delagarza puts it past the goal keeper with the outside of his left foot. HELLO~! That was sexy times.
Thirtieth: Suazo to de Nigris whose shot gets deflected out! BUSINESS IS PICKING UP. Ensuing corner Mier gets a wide open shot at goal that he snatches at and blasts wide of frame. Great chance. Monterrey is not laying down.
Suazo is starting to drop deep into the midfield to retrieve the ball and create. THIS IS HELPING.
Thirty-Second: Ayovi's touch fails him as he is about to dart into the box with the ball. Ayovi has been very good tonight but that one will bother him.
Thirty-Third: KEANE DISPOSSESSED BY MONTERREY IN THE BOX! What? Really? This game is completely shifting. That goal against Monterrey has really upped their play.
Thirty-Fifth: This time it is de Nigris dropping deep into the midfield to win control of the ball. He holds off LA defenders and earns a throw in. Can't say the big stars are dogging it tonight. Everyone getting their monies worth right now (Keane monies worth).
Thirty-Seventh: Dunivant with his second stupid foul of the night this time on de Nigris. HE HAS TWO HANDS WRAPPED AROUND HIS ARM. Settle down Todd. Villarreal is knifed down in the midfield earning the perpetrator of this tackle, Mier, a yellow card.
Monterrey only has de Nigris, Suazo and Ayovi trying to get forward right now. Their midfield is really static and they could use a half time change just to spice things up.
Fortieth: de Nigris again dropping back to win a ball. Helps create some possession but that dries up quickly.
Forty-Second: Se La Perdio~! Sean Franklin completely blows an open net opportunity. Mike Magee makes a great pass to Keane who floats it just over Magee's head and into the path of Franklin. Could have been a beauty.
Forty-Third: Sarvas on the run finds a wide open Magee whose cross is deflected out of the way. Great movement from the Galaxy. Mike Magee is having himself a game tonight.
Forty-Fifth: Keane is chopped down in the midfield. Ref plays advantage and there is NO CARD. Shocking really. Shit tackle.
Halftime: Excellent half of soccer from the Galaxy. Monterrey is pretty punchless going forward since their forwards are having to dig deep into the midfield to get the ball. LA really needs another goal before heading to Mexico. Defensively Monterrey might want to consider marking Mike Magee a little tighter. He has been the best offensive player on the field tonight.
Halftime sub for Monterrey. Delgado on for Mier.
Second half is underway.
Forty-Eighth: Villarreal shoots off the volley and it goes right at the keeper. Good opportunity as he attempted to shoot the ball after a half hearted clearance off ANOTHER corner for LA.
Fiftieth: Villarreal starting to be a target for more physical play from Monterrey. This time it is Basanta attempting to intimidate him. To his credit the young starlet for LA is keeping his composure. Something tells me he has faced this treatment at every level of his development.
There is our first shot of El-D warming up on the sidelines. Yay or something.
Fifty-Second: Chupete with his first shot on goal and it is stuffed by Cudicini! To my eyes Suazo looked offsides but someone must have been keeping him on. I've turned the announcers down since I can no longer handle Dunseth's insipid analysis presented with his wretched speaking delivery.
Fifty-Fourth: Near epic fuck-up from Gonzalez as he almost turns the ball over right to Chupete in front of goal. He recovers to pass it away. One of the faceless Monterrey midfielders managed to make the wrong pass as Suazo was breaking, onsides, towards goal. Imagine if this team had a playmaking midfielder.
Fifty-Eight: Ayove passes between two Monterrey players just outside the box. Normally this would be fine as one of them should make a run. They instead choose to imitate the 2013 Chicago Fire and stand there waiting for a ball at their feet. Monterrey fans have to be choking on their beers right now.
Fifty-Ninth: Juninho goes down. Not sure what happened there. He doesn't appear to absorb any contact. He looks ok but hopefully they sub him off. It looks like they are. Michael Stephens comes on for Juninho.
Sixty-Second: Villarreal is subbed off for the returning from vacation Landon Donovan. I assume he is going to get kicked in the back of the leg a lot in the next 30 minutes.
Sixty-Fifth: Donovan creates for Keane at the top of the box but he puts his shot just wide of goal. Solid build up and a good shot.
Sixty-Seventh: Mike Magee gets the ball on a quick throw in. He passes the ball over to Keane who is in alone on the keeper. Ibarra makes a great save on Keane pushing the ball wide. I am completely shocked as to how Keane didn't finish that. The replay shows Ibarra getting his fingers to the ball to help push it wide. Wow.
Um hey Monterrey? There is this guy, his name is Mike. You may want to mark him. Just saying.
Seventieth: Mike Magee (apparently he can do whatever he wants tonight) finds a wide open Landon Donovan who just sort of stands just outside of the box with the ball, waits for defenders and then hits a terrible pass. Mike Magee is screeching at the rest of his team to get forward. He knows they need another goal before heading to Mexico.
Seventy-Second: Robbie Keane is just offsides. Wasting a terrific pass from (wait for it) Mike Magee.
Seventy-Third: Donovan on a breakaway and his touch fails him as the ball squirts sideways just as he was getting into the box. Waits for defenders again and this time makes a better pass. Unfortunately he didn't pass the ball to Magee so the LA attack stalls.
Seventy-Fourth: Chupete chases down a ball in the box, passes it out for a cross that goes to de Nigris in the box. His header goes just wide! Oh my. These old warhorses of CCL play are not dead yet. LA really needs to convert another chance because Monterrey is capable of going off in a short time frame.
Chupete is essentially playing as a midfielder who floats to the top after he wins the ball and initiates the offense.
Seventy-Seventh: Chupete's touch lets him down at the top of the box causing a turnover. Unfortunate end to a good spell of possession.
Ayovi replaced by Madrigal. Ayovi was tiring but he was one the only midfielder doing anything from a central position.
Seventy-Ninth: Chupete just misses getting his head onto a ball in the box. That entire buildup was initiated by a Suazo pass. The man is doing everything (coincidentally he makes Keane money in Mexico, I'm just saying. I'm not saying that a certain MLS team should have offered him that kind of money, no I'm not. Not at all.)
Eighty-Second: CHU CHU CHU CHI CHI CHI CHUPETE~! GOAL! The cross comes in from the wing (great work to get it off by Delgado) de Nigris gets his massive cabeza to the ball and has his shot stuffed by Cudicini. Chupete finds the rebound, scuffs his first attempt at it but makes no mistake with the second. Well deserved goal for the 31 year old Chilean (see he isn't really that old and is still awesome, again I'm not pointing this out for any reason. ANY REASON AT ALL). My man crush on Suazo has grown three sizes this evening.
Eighty-Sixth: Chupete is hammered by Delagarza who gets a yellow for his from behind reckless challenge. Deserved card. Knock that shit off. The man you fouled is a Chilean national treasure.
Eighty-Ninth: Landon Donovan is hammered with what essentially was a flying elbow from someone that FSC doesn't want to give a graphic for. Eventually they tell me that it was Ricardo Osorio. Some old luchador is watching this game and just smiled widely.
Nintieth: AYAYAYAYAY. Monterrey almost steals the winner, Cudicini flicks the ball away with a giant hand while laying on the ground. Complete mess in front of goal there. Play resets and OH MY GOD THEY DO! de Nigris with the WINNNER! EPIC! OLD WARHORSES NEVER DIE THEY JUST FUCK YOU UP IN CCL GAMES!
Lets recap this goal. Ball is crossed in, Madrigal heads the ball towards a breaking de Nigris who knees the ball up and then hits it off the volley past Cudicini! Fantastic. Incredible technique. Great work from all involved.
Ninety-Second: Keane gets a long ball to him in the box but the defender is positioned perfectly.
LA failed to take advantage of their chances. Monterrey's effective substitutions, combined with hard working ninety minute shifts from Suazo and de Nigris equals a well deserved win.
Disastrous final minutes for Los Angelas. In retrospect that Landon Donovan substitution was a horrible decision. Completely shut down the offensive flow they had going. Now they have to go to Mexico and win 2-0 to advance. Shit isn't likely.
Next week I will be back with more CCL action and probably a recap of the Fire game as well. See yall then.