Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

CONCACAF: Monterrey claim maiden Champions title (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 29, 2011

North and Central America hails a new champion team and it is to nobody’s surprise that the team comes from Mexico. Monterrey CF have claimed the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time after a 3-2 aggregate win over Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake. After the first leg finished 2-2 in Mexico seven days earlier, this Wednesday saw an expectant 20,000 crowd at the Rio Tinto Stadium hoping to see Salt Lake claim a first Champions League title for an American side under the current format. However the visitors had other ideas and a tight contest was decided by a Humberto Suzao goal on the stroke of half-time. The 1-0 win saw the Mexicans home and they follow Atlante CF and Pachuca CF onto the roll of honour as the only clubs to have won this tournament since its rebranding in 2008.

CONCACAF: Monterrey and Salt Lake still level after first leg

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 21, 2011

The first leg of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League final saw Monterrey CF and Real Salt Lake draw an exciting match by two goals each. The Mexican side are hoping to make it yet another triumph for the country whose clubs have won each of the last six tournaments whilst Major League Soccer outfit Real are hoping to put the league back on the map and become the first team from the United States to win this competition since a pre-Beckham Los Angeles Galaxy achieved the feat back in 2000. Goals by Aldo de Nigris and Humberto Suazo for Monterrey were cancelled out on each occasion by Nat Borchers and Javier Morales. The second leg of the final takes place in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 27th.

WATCH FIRST LEG GOALS & HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

CONCACAF: Salt Lake and Monterrey to face-off in final (+video)

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on April 7, 2011

Real Salt Lake and Monterrey CF will feature in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League final after the semi-finals came to a conclusion this week.

Major League Soccer champions in 2009, Real Salt Lake qualified for their first ever CONCACAF Champions League final by virtue of defeating Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa by three goals to two in the two-legged contest. The first leg, played on American soil on March 15th, saw home side Real take the honours with a 2-0 win thanks to Álvaro Saborío and Fabián Espíndola. This Tuesday saw the tie come to a conclusion with Jamison Olave’s 61st minute strike for Salt Lake prove decisive. His goal sandwiched strikes from Saprissa’s Luis Cordero and Alonso Solis to give the Americans a 3-2 aggregate triumph and a place in their maiden final.

WATCH REAL SALT LAKE v DEPORTIVO SAPRISSA 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS:

They will face-off against Mexicans Monterrey CF in the final after their 3-2 aggregate win over compatriots Cruz Azul. In the first leg, played a fortnight ago, Neri Cardozo and Sergio Santana got the goals for Monterrey CF as they defeated their opponents 2-1 with Adrián Cortés bagging a reply for Los Cementos. Cruz Azul, hoping to reach their third consecutive Champions League final, had home advantage in the second leg this Wednesday and went ahead after 23 minutes through Cesar Villaluz. But Monterrey, whose only continental title to date is the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup triumph from 1993, restored parity just nine minutes before full-time with Humberto Suazo scoring from the penalty spot. The 3-2 aggregate reverse means that Cruz Azul’s curse in this competition continues whilst Monterrey will meet Real Salt Lake in the two-legged final on April 19th and 26th.

WATCH CRUZ AZUL v MONTERREY CF 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

MLS: 2010 Season Preview – part 1

Posted in North and Central American Football by peterbein on March 23, 2010
Real Salt Lake

Real Salt Lake won the 2009 MLS Cup final against LA Galaxy via a penalty shoot-out

The build-up to the 2010 Major League Soccer (MLS) season has been dominated about talk over the potential for player strikes but, thankfully, the powers-that-be and the Players’ Union got together to find some common ground and the big kick-off will take place as planned on Thursday, March 25th. The league’s newest club Philadelphia Union, whose inclusion this season increases the size of the MLS to sixteen teams, will play in the opening match against last season’s expansion team Seattle Sounders. Now in its 15th season the MLS has slowly but steadily grown into a quality sporting product which is able to nurture its own talent whilst embracing top foreign stars and the top clubs have been busy building their roster ahead of the new season. Can anybody take the MLS Cup away from last year’s champions Real Salt Lake? In a two-part preview to the new season “Stoppage Time – International Football blog” looks at the two conferences which make up the league, starting here with the Western Conference:

Real Salt Lake were very much the surprise champion in the 2009 MLS Cup. Having scraped through to the eighth and final spot in the play-offs by virtue of having a better goal difference than Colorado Rapids and D.C. United in the overall regular season table, Real fought their way past the 2008 MLS champions Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy in the play-offs to become overall MLS Cup champions for the first time in their short history. Last year’s beaten finalists Galaxy will have to overcome the setback of star player David Beckham’s Achilles rupture injury, obtained whilst on-loan at AC Milan, but will welcome back a rejuvenated Landon Donovan from his loan spell at English Premier League side Everton. The two-time MLS Cup champions will hope to build on their solid, if ultimately unsuccessful campaign last season, and go all the way this time.

Elsewhere in the west the MLS’s newest franchise Seattle Sounders were the resounding success of 2009 having achieved in their maiden season the record average attendance in MLS history (30,943). The club, who have stuck to the old name from the halcyon days of the North American Soccer League (NASL), finished a respectable third in the conference last season but were ultimately knocked out of the MLS Cup by Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference semi-finals but made up for this disappointment by winning the 2009 U.S. Open Cup (an American knock-out competition similar in style to traditional European cup competitions) defeating D.C. United 2-1 in the final. With experienced players such as Freddie Ljungberg and Kasey Keller the Sounders will hope, at the very least, to match last season’s efforts and qualify for the play-offs. Houston Dynamo, who won consecutive MLS Cups in the first two years of their existence (2006, 2007), will rely on top-scorer Brian Ching if they are to keep up their perfect 100% record of qualifying for the play-offs.

Another two-time MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes, who were triumphant in 2001 and 2003, have struggled in the last couple of years having finished 7th in the Western Conference in 2007 and 2008. Another club who have struggled in recent years is the Colorado Rapids who haven’t qualified for the MLS Cup play-offs since 2006 and who have yet to win the trophy in the 15 years since the MLS began. A founder member of the MLS, Colorado came close to the title in 1997 but lost out to D.C. United, and haven’t come as close to winning the trophy since. Another original MLS club FC Dallas, formerly known as the Dallas Burn, have a number of South and Central American players in their squad in order to compete for a first ever title as have Chivas USA, who share the same Home Depot stadium as LA Galaxy, and who have had relative success in the MLS since their inclusion into the league in 2004 having qualified for the play-offs in four out of five seasons but have yet to progress beyond the Conference semi-final stage.