August 27, 2008

CONCACAF Champions League Day 2 Live Blog: USL-1 takes the spotlight

Two USL First Division teams hope to do a little better than their MLS counterparts last night as the Montreal Impact take on Real Esteli at home and the Puerto Rico Islanders travel to Costa Rica to counter Alajuelense in the nightcap. Stay with us all night, as we'll also be here for the Silverbacks-Whitecaps game.

Innocent start to the Montreal - Esteli game, with another nice crowd at the Stade Saputo. Montreal's been playing a lot better in league play, as they're making a late charge for a playoff bid. 4 wins in 5 games in August will do that.

I saw a nice piece on Mauro Biello of the Impact on USL Breakaway, I didn't realize that guy had been with Montreal for something like 89 years. Seems like a nice guy and a great ambassador for the club.

Bad goalkick from the Esteli keeper nearly leads to a good chance for Montreal. I'd still take him over Zach Thornton anyday.

Speaking of last night's games, I couldn't stand to watch the 2nd half of Cruz Azul's 6-0 thrashing of Hankook Verdes. Whatever that horn was, it ruined the whole game for me. I'll still be interested to see what kind of stadiums in Belize, so I'll be watching next week's game. Oh wait, nevermind.

I also forgot that Metapan and Marathon are playing tonight, but I'm not seeing it anywhere on my TV schedule. Looks like the Mexican League's doble jornada is taking preference on Galavision and Telefutura.

Quarter of an hour in, neither side with an attempt on goal as of yet. Montreal's dominating possession, with a couple of unnecessary yellows handed out, one for each team so far.

Dude, this ref is a total tarjetero, handing out cards left and right.

Still no shots on goal for either team, so let's talk about everyone's favorite soccer team. I bet they wish Vancouver had won Canada's spot into the CONCACAF CL so they could get some time to heal, but not to be. I can't wait until they put out the press release in 5 years saying "Kandji granted green card", because that's about how long it's going to take. He'll probably get it long after he's gone from here.

Back to the game, Gjertsen picks off a ball and makes a good move but fires a weak shot that the Esteli keeper saves easily.

As I'm checking on finding tickets to the sold out Girl Talk show in Atlanta, Esteli comes down and gets a quick shot on goal that Jordan saves. Meanwhile at the other end, a through ball for Gjertsen is bumbled by the Esteli keeper, but the ref blows the play dead. Someone's going to break through soon.

Montreal's starting to get frustrated. Overzealous and late challenges aren't going to do them any favors with the ref.

BUT!!!!!! Out of nowhere, Montreal takes a 1-0 lead. A cross from the left not cleared properly comes out to the top of the box where Gjertsen slams it into the side of the net. Told you a goal was coming...

(For those unfamiliar with French, a but is a goal. I remember watching France WCQs on the French channel when I lived in Spain and seeing it flashed on the scoreboard at the Stade de France.)

Other people seem to be chiming in on our comments section, it's surprising that he can't do anything by himself. Hell, I thought he didn't need friends anymore now that he has an iPhone. I mean, how many times have I asked this kid to go to Silverbacks games this season?

Halftime has arrived, with Montreal leading 1-0. My Flying Coffin package has arrived (2 for 1 sales RULE), and I'm off to get some dinner. I'll turn it over to Shoe for a few minutes.

As Ken Griffey Jr. so awesomely put it on his first Nintendo 64 game, "I'M BACK!" Still 1-0, with more to come. ECB is still sulking, hopefully his tears don't ruin his iPhone. Just as I'm typing this, Gjertsen rockets one just outside the right post and Roberto Brown has a shot blocked. Montreal is dominating, looking to put this tie away before heading to Nicaragua.

Off a corner, Di Lorenzo has a nice left-footed shot that's well saved by Mendieta. I have a feeling Esteli will be jumping for joy if they can keep this 1-0 heading back home. They just haven't really shown anything offensively.

Commenting on a comment, Marcos iz good peeps. He's known my Dad since before I was born. But as far as the USL/MLS thing, a good showing by Montreal certainly won't hurt their aspirations for a MLS franchise.

Hahahaha, I enjoyed this comment from an anonymous poster on Sideline Views' take of last night's MLS performances:

"The argument for MLS sides has always been that if the CONCACAF Champions' Cup wasn't during the MLS preseason, then MLS teams would fare better. Now the CONCACAF Champions' League is during the MLS mid-season and they've actually managed to perform worse."

Wow, Montreal almost makes a mess of that. First, ref misses a handball at the top of the box that would have given Esteli a great position for a free kick. Then Jordan punches a ball away straight to an Esteli player, whose shot takes a deflection and goes out for the Nicaraguans' first corner of the game, in the 74th minute. Shows how much they've pushed forward.

Another great buildup from Esteli, as a player drives down the right. His cross finds a teammate right in front of goal inside the 5-yard box, but unfortunately he handles it before he can put it in. Unlucky.

Testo has a left-footed shot that takes a deflection and is saved by Mendieta. Esteli player booked for diving. This game isn't ending too pretty.

Wow, just as I type that, Montreal comes in and has a 1 v 1 with the keeper, only to shoot it right at him.

Nice. 87th minute. I don't know what the announcers are talking about, but am I the only one who saw a penalty there? The foul took the Esteli player out of the box. Now a free kick from right outside the box........................and the ball is hit into the wall which was standing about 5 yards away. Great job ref.

Well, first leg done and Montreal keeps a 1-0 advantage going to Nicaragua. They're still going to have some work to do, as it won't be easy. Another goal would have done them wonders, and if they fail to advance, they can blame their lack of finishing, considering they dominated play for most of the game.

Game on in Costa Rica, as the Islanders (with BILL GAUDETTE, ACCEPT IT SHOE) are up. Gaudette comes out early and breaks up a 1 v 1 with his feet. Judging from the early dustups, to me it seems this game could degenerate into one of those crazy Libertadores or Sudamericana games where we end up seeing 3 red cards and just a dirty, dirty game.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, the Silverbacks look like they actually have 11 healthy players WITH VISAS to field a team. 13th minute, 0-0. All I've seen is a bunch of Vancouver corner kicks, and I'm right, that's 6 already.

I highly doubt we're going to get a Metapan-Marathon score tonight. Just look at Metapan's website. Their scouting report for the game says (in Spanish): "We don't know much about this team, but without a doubt they'll be tough." Awesome.

Still 0-0 in both games. Gaudette's been a busy man, Puerto Rico looking to break the offsides trap and steal a goal.

In Vancouver, not much going forward for the Silverbacks. They'll be lucky to escape with a point. Nice description from USL Live about the game: "Atlanta Silverbacks return full force to challenge The Vancouver Whitecaps." Full force my ass.

Alajuelense takes a 1-0 lead through former Revolution player Argenis Fernandez. Seconds later, Lyle Martin puts Vancouver up 1-0. Puerto Rico needs to get a little more possession, Alajuelense is punishing them right now. And the Silverbacks have a corner.

Corner comes to nothing, which is about what the Silverbacks have done tonight. Just looking at their faces it seems as if they've already accepted their fate. I'm not even going to waste my time trying to make sense of how their playoff aspirations have gone out the window. But once again, I really don't think it has much to do with the players.

In Costa Rica, Gaudette makes a great reaction save off a free kick. All the Islanders seem to be doing is playing to ball long to Fabrice Noel and hoping he scores a goal. Even when he tries to hold the ball and wait for help, none comes.

Halftime in Vancouver with the Whitecaps up 1-0. I'm just thinking about how bad I feel for some of the really good guys on the Silverbacks. A lot of this stuff this season hasn't been their fault, and I'm sure they'll all be disappointed that a return to the Finals is pretty much out of the question.

Halftime in Costa Rica also with Alajuelense up 1-0. Puerto Rico has had few chances with a couple of shots going wide. I'm going to take a little break.

Back in action on both fronts, and Sebrango goes in alone on the keeper but takes too wide an angle and shoots wide of the far post. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is still struggling to build anything positive. They're just hanging on at the moment.

A little better from the Islanders, who have a corner kick...............GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNBELIEVABLE, no way they deserve it, but Telesford's in the right place at the right time and flicks it in.

That's it, I'm going to put on my Puerto Rico jersey. YES, I HAVE ONE

Speaking of KICK IT HIGH, KICK IT FAR, the Silverbacks are now down 2-0 thanks to Eddie Sebrango. I'm turning this crap off, it's too depressing.

I'd love to see the Silverbacks play the Galaxy, final score would be something like 11-8.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....Gaudette saves the bicycle kick that was dipping in the top corner. Like him or not, Gaudette actually fits in pretty well with this team, gives them a little bit of an edge.

A good note from the commentators: If Puerto Rico hangs on, it'll be the first draw in this round, as all the home teams have won their games so far.

Bill Gaudette is my new hero. Floating ball into the box, comes out and grabs it with a little contact from an Alajuelense player, falls on his shoulder and writhes in pain. He's hopping mad and I'm laughing my ass off.

Another dicey moment for the Islanders, as a free kick goes off the side netting.

Well, Alajuelense was penalty-hunting, and they manage to get one. Unbelievable. The ref let them play, let them play, but finally gave a dodgy one. Grow a pair son.


Most important figures in recent Puerto Rican history?

1. Roberto Clemente
3. Daddy Yankee





Longshoe said...

Glad you set this up, I'll just fill the comments section with my ramblings.

Early going in Montreal, good crowd for the Impact. They look pretty solid so far, we'll see how it goes.

I'm interested to see the Islanders' game later, Puerto Rico's former assistant coach is now with La Liga, so they'll know Puerto Rico VERY WELL. A result would be incredibly impressive for the Islanders.

Longshoe said...

For some reason, it cracks me up that the back of Brown's jersey says "roberto b".

My favorite "roberto b" memory of his short stint in MLS was a game against the Fire when he got a red card not even 10 minutes in for a studs up tackle to CJ Brown's knee. I mean, I can understand why you'd want to do that to CJ Brown, but it not in the middle of the field when everybody's looking at you...

E. Charles Blanco said...

How about I do a live blog of my night stuck at work when I"M NOT SUPPOSED TO F*CKING BE HERE!!!

Longshoe said...

Hey look everybody, ECB is playing the role of Dante from Clerks!


Longshoe said...

What did we learn in the first half?

- Montreal's stadium is pretty sweet
- Nicaraguan teams can play a little bit
- Roberto Brown went on a diet since he left Colorado

Longshoe said...

I get the feeling that Francisco Marcos is prank calling Don Garber right now, cackling into the phone.

I don't think Puerto Rico can match this, but it's a good start for the USL representatives.

Longshoe said...

The last time I remember seeing a USL/A-League team in a competition like this was Seattle in the 1996 CONCACAF Champions Cup. Of course, the '96 Champions Cup wasn't held until 1997, because this is CONCACAF. So the US representatives as champions from the 1995 were the Seattle Sounders, 1995 A-League Champs.

They beat Transvaal from Suriname in the qualifying round 10-0. The final tournament was a four team round robin held in Guatemala, I remember seeing at least one of the Sounders games on Univision. They lost all 3 and ended up with a goal difference of -16. They played Communicaciones tough with a 2-0 loss, lost 4-1 to Necaxa, then got absolutely spanked by Cruz Azul 11-0.

Of course, I hated the Sounders because they beat my Ruckus in the '95 A-League finals, so I got a good laugh out of it...

Times have changed, eh?

Longshoe said...

Marcos is fine in my book, as long as he doesn't bring the blue card and the shootout back. Or the Charge of the Light Brigade...

Montreal is a well organized team. They don't quite have the skills to do all that they would like, but their organization makes up for it. I expect them to travel pretty well and make a good showing in Nicaragua.

Of course, another goal would be nice to take with them...

Longshoe said...

Matt Jordan is starting to look really shaky...

Longshoe said...

Before everybody gets too works up with the USL>MLS!!!!!!!! stuff, let's keep this in perspective.

Montreal is at home.
Montreal is at full strength.
The MLS teams were on the road and missing a number of key players.

Now, if the MLS teams wet the bed next week at home, then there's problems.

Longshoe said...

Bill Gaudette starting in a CONCACAF Champions League match...


Longshoe said...

Gaudette is NUTS. What was up with his two footed sliding tackle in the box??? He's going to start a brawl.

Longshoe said...

That's the best scouting report I've ever seen. Props to Metapan!

Longshoe said...

For some reason, I think Colin Clarke is doing a really good Don Barker impersonation for this game.


Don Barker would love Gaudette...

Longshoe said...

Oh well, Puerto Rico's dream looks to be dying.

Longshoe said...

Fernandez is still a Revs player, they loaned him back to Alajuela according to the announcers. He didn't impress in New England from my understanding.

Longshoe said...

Wow, Gaudette is making friends in Costa Rica. I think there will be Bill Gaudette posters on all the bedroom walls of the kids in the stadium.

E. Charles Blanco said...

Two questions:

1. Why is Kirby coming on for Monteiro? Is Jason Smith dyslexic???

2. Why no mention of the Tecos/Chivas/doble jornada???

El Güero said...

"I also forgot that Metapan and Marathon are playing tonight, but I'm not seeing it anywhere on my TV schedule. Looks like the Mexican League's doble jornada is taking preference on Galavision and Telefutura."


I'm keeping an eye on the Chivas game, but I'm more interested in the Indios game, cause they're about to pick up their first win thanks to an own goal.

Longshoe said...

OSEI, OSEI, OSEI, OSEI, OSEI, OSEI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vamos Puerto Rico!!!

Longshoe said...

I gotta disagree with you, Puerto Rico does deserve that goal. They came in with a plan, and have executed that plan very well, with the exception of one great through ball to Hernandez.

Puerto Rico had a few chances in the first half, but the shots were horrible.

Colin Clarke knows how to bunker, that's for sure. It's not just as simple as KICK IT HIGH, KICK IT FAR.

Longshoe said...

Bill Gaudette is unstoppable. Was he wagging his tongue after saving the bicycle attempt?

I hope he has police protection leaving the field. He's the least popular man in Costa Rica right now.

Longshoe said...

Oh and by the way, I'm glad to see CONCACAF start using the away goals tiebreaker. It changes the complexion of these types of games.

Longshoe said...

Gaudette was flopping like a fish on that blast from outside the box. He's EL GRINGO LOCO tonight.

I think he's off his meds or something.

Longshoe said...

WOW, that was the greatest shoulder charge (with a hand in the back) I've ever seen.

GAME OF THE ROUND, this is what a tournament like this is all about. These are the types of experiences that will make our clubs better.

Who would've thunk it that Bill Gaudette and Osei Telesford would be starring on the international stage?

Longshoe said...

I have to disagree with Dunseth, I actually like Puerto Rico playing with a higher line. I don't think Alajuela has been able to exploit that space behind the backs, so why change now?

Puerto Rico is playing this very, very well.

Longshoe said...


Gaudette is taking his time getting into the goal.


Longshoe said...

This game is epic, unbelievable stuff.

Longshoe said...

Roberto Clemente says to Bill Gaudette, "Well played son."

Ray Hudson says, "There's gonna be some lovin' on the island tonight!"