Friday Football: Sounders, Chivas USA & More

There was plenty of huffing and puffing in Seattle Thursday – here former Galaxy striker Nate Jaqua and Houston’s Geoff Cameron challenge for the ball – but no-one blew anyone’s house down in the scoreless draw. (AP Photo) i-562a4a18e8e3de7ae4e5549005c4eee1-soundershouston.jpgThe first game of the MLS playoffs are over and neither Chivas USA nor the Galaxy are any closer to knowing who the winner of their semifinal will face in the Western Conference Championship.

The Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo played to 0-0- tie Thursday in the other Western Conference semifinal, a result that was more disappointing for MLS in general than either of the two teams involved.

With a bumper 35,000-capacity crowd roaring the teams on and a national television audience watching I was really hoping for at least a goal or two. But both teams were content with what was essentially the halftime result of a 180 minute game. Bring on the away goals rule I say, a move that would give greater incentive to the away team to take risks and attack and conversely open that team’s defense up and make it more vulnerable.

(BTW, Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid saw things similarly:

“Getting a draw on the road is good for them, but we’ve been a good road team. I look at it as we’re 0-0 at halftime. … You always want to win at home. Don’t look at it as a missed opportunity. We played the first half of this series and didn’t get a goal. We have to get a goal in the second half of the series now.”)

Is MLS essentially saying American soccer fans are too dumb to be able to understand the away goals concept, I wonder? Or is it just another illustration of the lack of sophistication at MLS? The latter I suspect.

Still, I enjoyed the game, in large measure due more to the wonderful crowd than the play on the field. But it could have been even better.

Meanwhile, reporter Phil Collin headed out to Chivas USA practice Thursday looking back at Chivas USA’s past playoff failures in an effort to understand why this year could be different. Read the piece here.

At least Preki has strikers in quantity this go round; we’ll soon find out whether he has sufficient quality to get past the Galaxy.

Meanwhile, over in Germany Thursday the U.S. Women’s National Team beat the No. 1 ranked team in the world on their own turf with a 1-0 victory, Hermosa Beach resident and resident U.S. goal machine Abby Wambach netting the winner. A notable accomplishment given that the Germans outshot the U.S. 17-7.

See the typically brave Wambach effort here:

Finally, in college action Thursday the Long Beach State women (5-10-3, 1-5-1 BWC) will miss out on the Big West Tournament for the first time since 2004 after losing 3-0 at UC Irvine.

Also, the Pepperdine women beat Seattle 1-0 Thursday.

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