CCL Rewind: Saad scores brace in Sporting KC win; Dynamo outlast Arabe Unido at home; and more

SoonySaadSportingKCCelebration1-OlimpiaCCL (LaPrensa)

By DAN KARELL

For the second time in the 2013/2014 CONCACAF Champions League, Sporting Kansas City proved their mettle on the road.

Playing in Honduras against famed club Olimpia CD on Tuesday evening, Sporting KC took a 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from 21-year-old Soony Saad. The win puts the MLS side in pole position to win Group 2, with six points from two games and two home games to come. Also in CCL action on Tuesday, the Houston Dynamo defeated Panamanian side Arabe Unido, 2-1, with a two-goal performance from reserve forward Cam Weaver leading the Dynamo.

Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes decided to put out a nearly full first-team lineup, with only the injured Kei Kamara and the healthy scratches Matt Besler and Jimmy Nielsen not making the starting lineup. The decision clearly helped the visitors as they looked comfortable in possession early in the match.

In the 28th minute, designated player Claudio Bieler played teammate Graham Zusi a pass, and the U.S. Men’s National Team star played Saad into the box, who finished with his left foot to give Sporting KC the lead. Olimpia winger Carlos Mejia nearly leveled the scoreline around the hour mark, but his shot from the right side of the box went wide left.

Saad put the match away in the 69th minute after Sporting KC substitute Dom Dwyer was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick. The Michigan-native took his penalty kick well, sending it towards the left upper 90 and in, despite Olimpia and Honduras National Team goalkeeper Noel Valladares getting a hand to it.

At BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, the Dynamo used a rare goal-scoring performance from Cam Weaver to take down Arabe Unido, 2-1.

The Dynamo were in a poor run of form, having played to a scoreless draw a week earlier in Trinidad and Tobago and then losing, 5-0, to the Montreal Impact in MLS on Saturday. However, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear’s decision to play a stronger side paid dividends by the end of the match.

Early in the match, Arabe Unido took a surprising lead. 19-year-old Panamanian youth international Abdiel Arroyo earned a penalty for his side when Dynamo defender Mike Chabala was whistled for a shirt pull in the box. Arroyo, in the 8th minute, froze Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to take a 1-0 lead.

Within the next ten minutes, the Dynamo’s Warren Creavalle and Arabe Unido’s Humberto Ward had chances on goal, with Hall making a terrific 1-on-1 safe with Ward advancing. In the 23rd minute, the Dynamo would take advantage of a chance to tie the match as Weaver smashed home off a beautiful cross from Dynamo left back Corey Ashe.

With the match beginning to lose rhythm due to the large amount of fouls being shown, Weaver again used his height and physical stature to put himself in a position to score, heading home in the 75th minute to give his side a lead.

Hall saved the day for the Dynamo again in the 82nd minute, denying Arabe Unido forward Orlando Rodriguez on a breakaway.

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17 Responses to CCL Rewind: Saad scores brace in Sporting KC win; Dynamo outlast Arabe Unido at home; and more

  1. Chop says:

    Disadvantage of calling a match from a studio as opposed to live, Weaver’s second “goal” was clearly an own-goal. The ball hit off the inside shoulder of the Unido defender.

    Just a pet peeve of mine..

    Carry on..

    • Clyde Frog says:

      Understood, though calling matches from a studio is pretty muchthe norm around the world.

    • Joe+G says:

      I’m curious how being there would have helped them make that call?

      • Chop says:

        As someone who has spent his fair amount of time in a press box, being there live makes all the difference in the world. Had this game been played in Houston and I was in the press box, I would have said something right away and it would have been confirmed by any of my fellow journalists – this could have been done by a runner working with the broadcast team

        Again, it’s a pet peeve of mine. The quality of the broadcast in SD was terrible to begin with. I don’t blame JP and Dunseth for missing it on replay, but had they been there live, I would have bet that they would have gotten to the bottom of it.

  2. Rowsdower says:

    Arabe Unido had 4 players stretchered off in the game. Miraculously non were seriously hurt and wonder of wonders after they were down a goal they gained +5 to their constitution.

  3. jayboy says:

    I have a gut feeling this is the year that an MLS team wins the CCL. I just think the rosters are getting better, the reserves are getting better games through the NASL partnership, and the quality is improving. A lot will depend on the draw after the group phase, as that could lead to multiple MLS teams knocking each other out.

    • MLSsnob says:

      Mexican teams still have to be the favorites. Until MLS switches to the top 4 teams instead of letting teams in on “cup competitions” we’ll continue to come close but no cigar.

      • Weston John says:

        Last year, SKC got a slot based on the Open Cup and this year it looks like RSL will be the one. I would consider SKC and RSL to be 2 of the top 4 teams, so I don’t think the Open Cup CCL spot is a problem. The weakest link this year appears to be SJ who got the nod from the supporters shield.

        • ozotkd says:

          I agree, however the one Mexican team that looks really good is America, MLS will need to watch out for them, also their home is the AZTECA so that smog & altitude will definitely be an advantage for them as well..

        • Falsify says:

          Not that I disagree, but I find it funny the hardest competition (Supporters shield) bares the least amount of fruit (San Jose).

      • SilverRey says:

        What, you don’t think DC united will show well internationally next year after they win the Open Cup? ;~)

      • MC says:

        If you went by the top 4 teams in terms of points standings last year, this year’s CCL reps would be:

        1- SJ – already here this year, and appears to be the weakest link of the 4 currently here

        2- SKC – already here this year, with 2 “dos a cero” road wins.

        3 -DC United – this would be a disaster, the worst MLS team in 2013

        4- RSL – would be a good team and in great form this year.

        missing would be LA, and Houston. LA definitely in the top 4. Houston is debatable, but always seems to turn it on during cup runs, and CCL is a cup run.

        Conclusion: Current method of selecting US teams via “Cup Competitions” is no worse than using the “top 4″ from regular league play.

  4. Rex says:

    Why is that these CONCACAF games always turn into such a circus? Some of these teams antics are a joke and the refs seem totally out of their element.

  5. MB says:

    Seen my fair share off MLS teams play away games against tought CCL competition like Olimpia. Haven’t seen any put in as dominant a performance as SKC did last night. If an MLS team wins, it will be SKC.