Superliga Matchday One: Houston-Atlante
Really ho-hum especially after the outstanding goal by Brian Mullan that pushed the Houston lead to 4-0. Rico Clark looked comfortable sliding up into the central midfield role in the second half and Mullan and and Brad Davis showed some great understanding of each other as well, an understanding that comes from playing together for so many years. Atlante played better in the second half, but are totally outclassed in this event as predicted by myself, Mario Valdez and Peter Brown on our Superliga preview special last week.
Atlante is the weakest team in Superliga and has also decided to treat this tournament as a set of friendlies to get ready to defend their Apertura title come the fall. So it is difficult to read too much into Houston’s fine first half performance other than to say, other almost all other MLS sides would have performed worse, in some cases much worse. The Dynamo’s spacing and midfield play have been superb on the awful Robertson Stadium pitch. Stuart Holden has regained his knack from last season to position himself perfectly in the box for crosses and deflections, and has two outstanding goals. Holden has stated his case tonight as to why Peter Nowak should choose him for the Olympic Team even if it means not taking Robbie Rogers who has been in form for Columbus and was named to the MLS All Stars Starting XI. I’m not advocating not taking Rogers by any means but Holden’s performance in pressure matches the last two seasons: Superliga and MLS Cup playoffs trumps Rogers performance in regular season MLS matches if it were to come down to those two.
Dwayne DeRosario had dropped back into a deeper role than he’s been playing in recent MLS matches and has looked outstanding. However for the second consecutive match DeRo lost his cool and this time he was rightfully sent off. The Atlante defender was also sent off but that matter little as Atlante is as good as out of this tournament and can use the remaining two hundred twenty minutes of football in Superliga 2008 to experiment and get themselves ready for the fall. Houston on the other hand now has a big problem as Guadalajara comes to town Tuesday.