Guest writer Chris (B Squad) introduces a new competition kicking-off Stateside...
The inaugural SuperLiga will see four Mexican sides face off against four MLS sides. There is pot of a million or so for the winner. This, along with television rights, has been enough to persuade some of the top Mexican sides to participate.
All matches will be played in the US, but in the south where crowds are typically pro-Mexico. The top two teams from each group will meet in a knockout phase. Hopefully in the coming years, we will see matches played in Mexico. I'm anxious to see how quickly an MLS side wilts in front of 100,000+ in the Azteca. I have a feeling some details will be tweaked in the future, such as adding more CONCACAF teams, moving the dates back during Mexico's season, and playing matches abroad. Until then, we have these eight teams in what looks to be a very exciting North American Champions League.
Dallas 1-1 Chivas (Gaudelajara) This match was an excellent way to cut the ribbon on this tournament. After a very tense first half, Dallas struck first on well orchestrated goal. Juan Toja cut through Chivas' midfield and found Carlos Ruiz in space, who ,in turn, played an incredible through ball to Arturo Alvarez. Alvarez then struck a stunning ball that managed to be inches above the keeper's fingers and inches below the crossbar. Minutes later, Chivas would capitalized on Dallas' inability to clear the ball. Jose Olvera smashed home the equalizer from 25 yards, as the Dallas defenders petitioned for a hand ball. And what is sure become a running theme in this tournament, Drew Moor was sent off for pushing Hector Reynoso, who had elbowed Moor in the face.
The goals from FC Dallas v Chivas, courtesy of those withdrawn people at Telemundo...
LA Galaxy 2-1 Pachuca In what I would consider the most surprising scoreline of the match day, LA defeated defending Mexican and CONCACAF champions Pachuca. Pachuca were by far the stronger side in this match, and thoroughly dominated the first half, but came away empty.
LA managed to weather the onslaught and in opening minutes of the second half, they took full advantage of their first real opportunity. An excellent cross from Landon Donovan found Alan Gordon on the far side. Gordon calmly slid the ball past the keeper to the far post.
Pachuca struck back with very nice play from Damian Alvarez, as he squared the ball to Rafael Marquez-Lugo who tapped in from three yards out. LA would score a late winner as Cobi Jones shot was deflected past the keeper by Donovan's right boot.
DC United 1-1 Morelia The district opened the scoring early with a well taken goal by Christian Gomez. They spent the balance of the game trying desperately to hold onto that one goal lead. In the spirit of retaliation red cards, Luis Angel Landin was sent off after taking a vicious kick to the thigh and then pushing Bobby Boswell. Despite playing with 10, Morelia managed an equalizer in the form of a Diego Martinez goal from the edge of the box.
Houston 1-0 Club America On paper, this looked to be the best of the opening games. On the pitch, however, it was possibly the most boring. Nate Jaqua scored a fine goal from close range. That about summed up the majority of action. I honestly expected more from America.
Saturday 27 July
Dallas v Pachuca Dallas, behind Juan Toja (quickly becoming my favorite MLS player) and Carlos Ruiz, looked to be the class of the first match day. Taking points from this game will be a big step toward qualifying for the semifinals. After a disappointing loss to LA, Pachuca will be desperate for any points as they hope to move on.
LA v Chivas (Guadelajara) LA put themselves in a very good position securing three points. A point from this match will almost certainly see them through to the semi-finals. The same can be said for Chivas, as they will be looking to take all three points.
Sunday 29 July
DC United v Club America Both DC and America, each disappointing in their first match, will need to take the full three points in order to bolster their hopes.
Houston v Morelia Houston can wrap up this group with a win. Morelia will need the three points if they hope to keep pace.