This write up is by Kelly Ross, Executive Director of LakeCountrySoccer.org.
If you were able to catch the 2007 SuperLiga Club championship final between the LA Galaxy (MLS) and Pachuca (Mexico); you caught an awesome game.
The game was televised on satellite, Telefutura which aired about 10:00p CST. I happened across the game just about 2 minutes before half time, with LA down just 1-0. The Galaxy had already lost David Beckham earlier in the half to injury with a possible hyper extension to his right knee, suffered on an unsuccessful tackle. When I tuned in, the Galaxy looked fatigued, and undermanned but still only 1 goal down.
The half time interval seemed to breathe new life into the Galaxy as it brought forth some offensive commitment and some resilient play which resulted in numerous goal scoring opportunities, only to be thwarted time and time again by the Pachuca goalkeeper Miguel Calero who seemed to have the dark side of the force in his net with wondrous saves leaving the home team in doubt.
In the waning minutes of added time of the second half, chance had arisen and the Galaxy found itself level with Pachuca; a bicycle kick resulting in the tying goal netted by Chris Klein (see above).
The goal would force overtime adding an additional 30 minutes of play; more of the same from both sides. Drawn still 1-1 after overtime, the game advanced to the dreaded penalty kick shootout.
Both teams hit and missed the back of the net in the first round of five. The most critical save and miss caused by Joe Cannon (Galaxy GK) happened on Pachuca’s 3rd kick (saved) and 5th kick (missed/crossbar) forcing the decisive 5th kick for LA, leaving the door wide open for the Galaxy to walk through to claim the title.
Stepping up to the penalty kick mark is none other than US Soccer’s golden boy, Landon Donovan. Nothing more than a spot kick, yes? And flubbed to Calero’s right making the save all too easy. Donovan once again heard the footsteps and fell shallow on his global stage squandering yet another chance to prove he can compete time and time again on the larger field in the game of world football, but tonight was not his time to shine (again, again, again).
1 for 1 one knock out kicks next and Pachuca easily slots its sixth kick.
Xavier (a.k.a Dr. Zaius – (I really had to look this one up to get it right – from the Planet of the Apes) can keep hope alive “if” he converts.
Xavier knocks his spot kick high, wide and not close to handsome. He clearly had Calero beat, but couldn’t even manage to place his kick on frame. Had he even blown on the ball, it would have somehow found its way toward its target, on goal. Alas, tonight was not his night either.
Pachuca wins on kicks and captures the 2007 SuperLiga Cup.
Kudos to the Galaxy. Having watched them struggle through one dismal MLS performance after another this season, pre and present Beckham, this match seemed to show they can compete, in spite of shoddy defensive play. The Galaxy have the tools to create scoring chances.
It was truly an entertaining game with passion, commitment, offense, defense and some incredible goalkeeping. However, at the end of 120 minutes and six kicks a piece, the night belonged to Pachuca.