Goal 1: Barrera Draws the Foul, Torres Converts the PK (5th Minute, 1-0 CUSA)
Leandro Barrera initiates the give and go with Marky Delgado on the left wing, but DeAndre Yedlin gambles on the tackle and Barrera spins around him for the advantage. With Osvaldo Alonso backing up the play, Marky thinks about continuing the play on the left wing, but instead chooses to use the open space in the middle of the field, which draws Yedlin and Lamar Neagle with him. It's now a 1v1 matchup between Barrera and Alonso on the left.
After taking a touch inside, Delgado sends the lead pass to Barrera but the poor angle on the pass allows Alonso to get a foot on it. Fortunately for CUSA, it's a heavy touch, which allows Barrera the chance to contest it. Alonso, still on the ground, ends up taking down Barrera in the box for the PK. There are those out there that are still claiming the foul was outside the box, but you can clearly see Alonso's left leg clip Barrera inside the 18-yard box.
Who's to praise? Marky's pass left a lot to be desired, but his awareness to cut inside on the attack cleared the way for Barrera to go 1v1 with a slower Alonso. If Marky never goes inside, Yedlin's fast enough to stick with Barrera and Seattle would still have Alonso backing him up. And yes, kudos to Cubo for knocking another one home.
Goal 2: Kennedy Fumbles, Neagle Takes Advantage (24th Minute, 1-1 Tie)
GOAL: Lamar Neagle pounces on a Dan Kennedy blunder | Chivas USA vs Seattle Sounders (via Major League Soccer)
Set piece time. Gonzalo Pineda serves the ball towards the far post and Bobby Burling's 6'4" frame allows him to head the ball straight into the air just before stumbling to the ground with Lamar Neagle. As the ball is in mid-flight, Dan Kennedy immediately comes out off his line, waives off Carlos Alvarez, only to get a bad case of butterfingers and we now have a loose ball with an open net. Dempsey does a great job karate-kicking the ball towards the box, which deflects of Chad Marshall and right into Lamar Neagle's possession, who emphatically strikes it into goal.
Who's to blame? Upon further review, it looks like DK either gets tangled with Burling/Neagle during his run off his line or is at least trying to avoid being tripped up in that gauntlet of fallen players. I'm guessing this brief stumble had something to do with throwing off his concentration and balance. Yes, it was still clearly an error on his part, but you have to at least appreciate that he came off his line running and without hesitation. Also, I'll be a stickler and mention that the ball may have hit Chad Marshall's arm. Let's hope Wilmer Cabrera doesn't see that.
Goal 3: Dempsey Hits Martins with a Throughball, Oba chips it in (81st Minute, 2-1 Sounders)
GOAL: Obafemi Martins chips home to give Seattle the lead | Chivas USA vs Seattle Sounders (via Major League Soccer)
This goal serves as evidence as to how dangerous the Obafemi Martins/Clint Dempsey partnership really is.
The attack starts when Gonzalo Pineda is able to find enough of an opening in the midfield to get the ball into Obafemi Martins. Martins quickly sets the ball off to Dempsey and immediately runs diagonally across Dempsey's path. This run causes two things to happen:
- By running towards the ball, Martins essentially lays a pick on Bocanegra and takes him out of the play. Dempsey can now veer towards the more advantageous left side of the field and give the Sounders a 3-2 man advantage (Lamar Neagle's also open on the left).
- Even with Neagle wide open on the left, Eric Avila is now forced to abandon him in order to help stop a Dempsey shot or prevent Obafemi from getting open.
In the end, Dempsey lays out a beautiful lead pass and Oba finishes with an equally nice chip shot for the game winner.
Who's to blame? Hard to point the finger at any specific player only because so many players are involved. Sure CUSA was down a man, but due to the resulting 4-4-1 formation there was no real sacrifice in personnel to the defense and midfield and there were 5 CUSA players defending Dempsey and Martins. No excuses on that one.
During Dempsey's drive towards goal, Burling was caught in no man's land trying to decide whether he should stay in front of Dempsey to block a shot or stay with Martins. That slight hesitation gave Martins enough space to distance himself, allowing Dempsey to make the pass. You could also say Agustin Pelletieri should've prevented Pineda from making that pass to Martins, but the guy was already swamped with marking a number of players in the middle (10 players, y'all).
The moment Oba made his diagonal run, CUSA was doomed. The only thing that could save them is if Eric Avila and Bocanegra rushed over to contest Dempsey and Burling stayed with Martins, but that's exactly what happened and Seattle still scored. Skill players beat CUSA once again.
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