Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Drought Continues as United Falls in Jalisco -- In case anyone is interested in my impression, I think United was probably ill-served by the defensive shell in which they played this night in the Estadio Jalisco. Chivas was always one ill-considered pass away from the goal that would send them through to the next round. Not entirely surprisingly, that pass came from Clyde Simms, whose defensive play seemed to break down in the second half. Simms made some foolish passes under pressure last week, and did much the same tonight in the return match.

Meanwhile, United did little to generate any offense, and this was largely by design. Christian Gomez nearly scored on a free kick in the first half, but United did nothing to challenge the Guadalajaran goal until after the home team scored, giving them the series advantage, based on away goals. In the final minutes, United was able to generate some good chances, including some goalkeeper-testing efforts by Stephen DeRoux and Ben Olsen, and a couple of near misses by Luciano Emilio, Brian Carroll and Christian Gomez.

If United had been intent on pressing an attack, I think there might have been more chances -- and those chances might have come when United players were fresher and more likely to convert. Moreover, Chivas would have had to play with more attention to defense. Though Coach Tom Soehn was quoted as saying United would play its game, instead of going into a defensive shell, apparently that was no more than mere gamesmanship. The strategy that United employed meant they were behind the eight ball the moment Chivas scored. While it might have seemed to be working in D.C.'s favor, as the game went deep into the second half without any goals, the reality is that United had little time to recover when their defense finally cracked.

No U.S. club team has ever won on Mexican soil. So long as they continue to play for draws, that drought will continue.

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