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Superliga Final: Howard Webb and Match Thoughts

reis ap1 Superliga Final: Howard Webb and Match Thoughts

Matt Reis challenges Brian Ching in tonight’s final/From AP

The ultimate grudge match in North American football continued tonight as Houston and New England faced off in a major cup final for the third time in as many years. However this match is different in two ways from the get go: Instead of a CONCACAF based official we have an infamous English one in Howard Webb fresh off his strange penalty call that sunk Poland at the Euros and this game is being held at a home stadium of one of the teams, Gillette Stadium home of the Revs. That was ultimately the difference as New England prevailed on PKs.

Officiating has been such an issue in this tournament and I don’t want to overblow it yet again, but if Howard Webb was available to do this tournament why did SUM wait until the final to call him in? Mexican fans have made a cottage industry of beating up on Central American officials and having Webb, an Englishman unknown to most Mexican fans and media may have buffered the tournament against some of the criticism it is facing south of the border.

Some other thoughts:

  • I was stunned how poorly New England played in the first thirty minutes and Houston despite Nate Jaqua’s goal on Amaechi Igwe’s mistake should have scored at least one maybe two more goals in the first thirty minutes.
  • For all Sainey Nyassi’s brilliance on the ball wide, his crosses have gotten worse and worse as the season wears on and he unlike his left sided counterparts Maurico Castro and Khano Smith seems to lack ideas in the final third.
  • Speaking of Castro, his ball to Ralston and the finish was one of the most brilliant plays all year by an MLS side. The imagination of Castro and the finishing of Ralston were superb.
  • For the second straight season, Houston appears to have brought in a player from within MLS that helps them up front: this time it is Kei Kamara whose finishing eluded him in San Jose but suddenly looks deadly and creative in Houston. Kamara is a quality player and like Joseph Ngwenya a year ago, Frank Yallop’s philosophy didn’t agree with his traits as a player.
  • Steve Ralston and Shalrie Joseph did not have the usual command of the midfield but came up big when it counted, on yet another set piece.
  • Cory Ashe despite missing the last PK made a huge impact on the match upon his entry really putting the Revs on their heels.
  • Matt Reis had some shaky moments but also saved the Revs in regular time from losing out.
  • It’s great to see Bob Kraft at the match where his other team finally accomplishes what his NFL team has.
  • It was a great final to a controversial tournament, but with these two teams we knew the football would be good.
This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Superliga. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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15 Responses to Superliga Final: Howard Webb and Match Thoughts

  1. Mark says:

    Kraft always wanted to win Superliga more than a 19-0 Superbowl.

  2. Soccer Guru says:

    Great final.

    Good point on Kamara. He's going to tear it up for them. Same for Ashe who looks good.

  3. Mark says:

    Kraft always wanted to win Superliga more than a 19-0 Superbowl.

  4. Pingback: Soccer News Aggregator » Superliga Final: Howard Webb and Match Thoughts

  5. Soccer Guru says:

    Great final.

    Good point on Kamara. He’s going to tear it up for them. Same for Ashe who looks good.

  6. Ian says:

    Surprisingly enough, Howard Webb showed his skill as an official making sure the flow of the game wasn't interrupted. From my vantage point Webb's bad reputation was created by whining Fergie anyhow. He really isn't a bad official and since he officiated the final of Superliga, the event looks more legit.

  7. Ian says:

    Surprisingly enough, Howard Webb showed his skill as an official making sure the flow of the game wasn’t interrupted. From my vantage point Webb’s bad reputation was created by whining Fergie anyhow. He really isn’t a bad official and since he officiated the final of Superliga, the event looks more legit.

  8. Max says:

    What was even more important than the quality of the match was the demonstration of the players afterwards in unity against Don Garber and SUM about bonuses. The players refused their medals!

  9. ZW says:

    Great match but Webb was not as solid as you claim. He missed completely two PK shouts, and would make Sir Fergie numb!

  10. Max says:

    What was even more important than the quality of the match was the demonstration of the players afterwards in unity against Don Garber and SUM about bonuses. The players refused their medals!

  11. ZW says:

    Great match but Webb was not as solid as you claim. He missed completely two PK shouts, and would make Sir Fergie numb!

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