Morelia beats struggling New England to win SuperLiga title

MoreliaSuperLiga (ISIphotos.com)

By IAN HOLLIDAY

FOXBORO, Mass. - In the brief history of SuperLiga, MLS has acquitted itself well against what is generally considered superior Mexican competition. Unfortunately for the league, solid performances in the early rounds haven’t translated to success in the tournament’s final, which no MLS team has ever won by beating Mexican opposition.

The 2010 SuperLiga final was no exception, as the New England Revolution fell to Monarcas Morelia 2-1 at Gillette Stadium Wednesday night.

Two second-half goals from Miguel Sabah gave the visitors the advantage before New England pulled one back through Kevin Alston. It was too little, too late for the Revs, who lost their fourth straight match across all competitions and failed in their attempt to win a second straight SuperLiga title.

After the match, Morelia coach Tomas Boy said he was proud of his team for winning a trophy.

"This group for me, is a very good group," he said. "We’ve been coming together over a long period of time. So for me, it is extra special to win a championship with this group. We have almost 12 guys who are under 22, and with the collective personality that we’ve developed it makes me very happy and is a good sign of things to come."

Sabah's first goal came on a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Revolution defender Darrius Barnes couldn't control a cross in the box and was muscled out of the way by Morelia striker Luis Gabriel Rey. Barnes fell down and fouled Rey while trying to get back into the play. The defender received a yellow card for his effort.

"[Rey] was pulled down," said Revolution coach Steve Nicol. "Had it been in the other penalty box, we would have been rooting for it, as well. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t get them. On this occasion, they got it."

Sabah struck again in the 75th minute, pouncing on a weak clearance by Barnes and volleying a venomous 25-yard shot past Reis. The forward was looking for a hat trick in the first minute of stoppage time when and Reis charged a loose ball in the box. Reis got there first, and Sabah went to ground looking to draw the penalty. Instead, he was booked for diving and sent off (he had already received a yellow card in the 39th minute).

After the first goal, Nicol made three attack-minded substitutions, bringing on wingers Khano Smith and Roberto Linck and forward Zack Schilawski. And after the second goal the change in tactics began to pay dividends. The Revs were able to sustain pressure for most of the game's final 15 minutes, and they got one back in the 79th minute when Kevin Alston ran onto a pass from Schilawski and put a low shot past Morelia goalkeeper Federico Vilar. The goal was Alston’s first as a professional.

The Revolution’s best chance to equalize came in the final minute of stoppage time, when Cory Gibbs ran onto a bouncing cross in the Morelia box. He did well to drive the ball on the ground, but his shot was right at Vilar, who made the save.

Morelia controlled possession for most of the game, and the number of scoring chances they created reflected that fact. They hit the crossbar twice in the first half and looked dangerous in the final third, getting behind the Revolution defense several times before halftime.

Despite being outplayed for most of the game, the Revolution had a great chance to take the lead in the 57th minute, when Kheli Dube collected a pass behind the Morelia defense. His shot ricocheted off keeper Federico Vilar to Ilija Stolica, but the Serbian’s shot went wide.

The Revs won't have much time to dwell on their SuperLiga defeat as they host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

"Saturday, we’ve just got to worry about creating more chances and trying to be smarter and getting back into the MLS season," said Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph. "We did our best in SuperLiga, and we’ve just got to look forward to the MLS."

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17 Responses to Morelia beats struggling New England to win SuperLiga title

  1. Rob says:

    Hey at least we have superLiga… Oh wait.

  2. CJK says:

    Dumbest competition ever. Ever. Please rid our teams of this burden.

  3. RK says:

    On the bright side, DCU has been so bad this year that they don’t have to worry about qualifying for this farce. I wonder what attendance was like.

  4. Chuck B. says:

    What, no blaming the referee on this one?

  5. tsingletonvt says:

    10,414 Decent atmosphere for The Morgue. The Mexican teams seem to draw a lot of their local fans for SuperLiga games in Foxboro.

  6. CSD says:

    Please explain the horrible burden that you feel the Revolution were under last night. They had their only legit chance last night of winning something this year.

  7. tsingletonvt says:

    Interesting thing about the ref in this game is that he was replaced by the fourth official at halftime due to an injury.

  8. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Ok, since no one else has, i’m of he opinion that the PK was crap. The Morelia player tripped the Rev’s defending causing him to fall into/on to the same Morelia player. Not blaming ref for the Rev’s loss. Just pointing out that i thought the call was crap.

    I thought the game itself was pretty entertaining. Hadn’t planned on really watching it. I caught the beginning of the second 1/2 and got hooked. Some good end to end stuff.

    And Morelia’s second goal was very, very nice.

  9. joejoe says:

    “struggling New England”… excuses, excuses… They lost. Never had a chance.

  10. StepheninProv says:

    struggling isn’t an excuse, its a fact

    article didnt say they lost cause they have been struggling

  11. Myles B says:

    That’s why it’s referred to as “stupidliga.”

    Really we just need CCL for contiental competitions.

  12. socmin says:

    Why is it THE dumbest competition EVER?

  13. joejoe says:

    Right. They struggled all the way to the final game. Then they lost. That word doesn’t belong on the headline. It implies that they lost because of some excuse reason. Morelia was the better team and New England lost. In fact a MLS team (New England) has only won this once. Not a knock on the league, but it simply shows that overall Mexican teams are better. No need to whine about it.

  14. jmh says:

    I like superliga and hope it stays. It’s a good competition for the second tier teams of the league. Also remember MLS will be at 20 teams before you know it. I would add games in Mexico, though to make it a truer competition.

  15. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Frankly, I think SUM should get rid of SuperLiga. MLS teams won’t have the depth to compete in extraneous tournaments for a long time, and Mexican teams have enough to worry about with league play. The only reason….I mean the ONLY reason…it was introduced was to promoted David Beckham. Remember, the first one took place in 2007, after Beckham arrived. Remember the crowds that showed up in Dallas to rag on him? Now that Beckham might not ever play again, this tournament has served its purpose. It’s nothing but the summer equivalent of the Pan-Pacific Tournament, which lasted all of two years and also was designed to promote Beckham.

  16. Sean says:

    As a Revs season ticket holder its sad for me to say that this organization is a mess right now. Even the event coordinators set off the fireworks when Morelia scored the PK. I mean, seriously?

  17. tsingletonvt says:

    I read on the new England BS boards that the ref also retired after the match.