Geoff Cameron Returns

SuperLiga: Sabah Strike The Difference In Morelia Win

A second-half goal from Miguel Sabah was enough to send Monarcas Morelia past the Dynamo and into the SuperLiga championship match. Houston is eliminated.

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Sabah Strike Sends Morelia To SuperLiga Final

Miguel Sabah's second half volley was the difference in tonight's SuperLiga semifinal match between the Houston Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia.

Throughout most of the first half, Houton was able to control possession but Morelia dominated scoring chances over the course of the match.

Morelia had multiple scoring chances in the first half but were denied either by fluffed shots or stellar keeping from Tally Hall. Houston's best chance of the half came in extra time when a Cam Weaver header hit the post before bouncing away out of play.

Miguel Sabah quickly made up for missed chances when he struck a volley over Tally Hall's head just over a minute into the second half of play. Sabah created space on the play after Eddie Robinson stepped up to play an offside trap, not realizing that Andrew Hainault was behind him, playing Sabah onside. It was a poor start for Robinson, who had just been subbed on for the Ryan Cochrane, who had a fairly lackluster first half.

Things got chippy later in the match after Richard Mulrooney was slammed to the ground in front of the Dynamo bench. Mike Chabala and Geoff Cameron quickly stepped in and an altercation with the Morelia players ensued. As a result of the melee, Chabala and a Morelia player both received yellow cards.

The Dynamo had a late chance when Lovel Palmer struck from the edge of the box, but his shot went just wide of goal.

For Houston, the only positive to take away from this game is that utility player Geoff Cameron returned to the line-up and played just over twenty minutes. Cameron had been out of action since March 24 when he injured his knee against the Chicago Fire. The return of Cameron gives Houston some more, much-needed depth in both the midfield and defense. Cameron can play either position and, really, could play any position on the pitch. While the coaching staff will be sure to ease him into play before allowing him to play a full game, it was nice just seeing him back on the pitch and getting involved in the action.

Houston now must make a quick transition and get ready for Sunday night's match in Seattle against the Sounders. This is a crucial game for both teams as each is trying to get a positive result to keep the hunt for the playoffs alive.

Morelia will return to Mexico in preparation for a match against Queretaro on Sunday. The Mexican club is set to face the New England Revolution later this month in Foxborough for the championship match of the SuperLiga tournament.

Game Summary

Goals by Period 1 2 Tot
Monarcas Morelia 0 1 1
Houston Dynamo 0 0 0

Scoring Summary:
MOR -- Miguel Sabah 2 (Rafael Marquez Lugo 1) 47

Monarcas Morelia -- Federico Vilar, Luis Silva, Mauricio Romero, Enrique Perez, Adrian Aldrete, Aldo Ramirez (Elias Hernandez 46), Luis Noriega, Hugo Droguett, Jaime Lozano (Miguel Sansores 86), Rafael Marquez Lugo (Adrian Garcia 87), Miguel Sabah (Luis Gabriel Rey 59).
Substitutes Not Used: Jesus Urbina, Jose Cruzalta, Rodolfo Vilchis.

Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Ryan Cochrane (Eddie Robinson 46), Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan (Geoff Cameron 71), Anthony Obodai (Richard Mulrooney 71), Lovel Palmer, Corey Ashe, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 46), Dominic Oduro
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Brad Davis, Francisco Navas Cobo.

Photography courtesy of Katy Umana. For a look at all of Katy's amazing work, please check out her Flickr.

 

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Geoff Cameron Returns!

Dynamo utility player Geoff Cameron returned to play tonight when he was subbed in the 69th minute of the SuperLiga semifinal. This is Cameron’s first time to play since April 24 when he injured his knee against the Chicago Fire.

Dynamo staff and fans will be happy to have Cameron return to the line-up as he can play just about any position on the pitch and brings a some creativity to Houston’s attack.

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46: Miguel Sabah Punishes Dynamo With Opening Goal

Miguel Sabah opened up the scoring for Morelia in tonight’s SuperLiga semi-final after chipping a shot over Tally Hall in the 46th minute. Sabah found himself wide open after Eddie Robinson attempted and failed to properly execute an offside trap, leaving Sabah with the time and space to take his shot perfectly.

Robinson’s gaff comes just over a minute after he entered the game as he came on at halftime for Ryan Cochrane.

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Half Time: Morelia With The Better Chances In Physical First Half

We are forty-five minutes in to tonight’s SuperLiga semi-final between Monarcas Morelia and the Houston Dynamo and the match has not disappointed.

Both teams are clearly pushing to score the opening goal, but it is Morelia who have had the better of the chances. On at least two occasions, Miguel Sabah has missed efforts from eight yards out of goal, and, late in the half keeper Tally Hall came up with a huge save when Sabah shot after shaking defender Ryan Cochrane.

Houston have not been without chances, though, and have pushed the ball up along the wings with Corey Ashe and Lovel Palmer leading the attack. Palmer has created a number of potential scoring chances with crosses from the wing and Ashe’s speed has come in handy against Morelia’s pacey squad. The Dynamo’s best chance came in the 45th minute when Brian Mullan crossed to Cam Weaver who headed the ball off of the post.

While Morelia has dominated scoring chances, Houston has been the better at ball possession. Newly acquired midfielder Anthony Obodai controlled play in the middle of the pitch and had decent distribution throughout the half.

Houston’s defense, on the other hand, has looked shaky and is struggling to contend the with pace of Morelia’s forwards and midfielders. Ryan Cochrane got the start ahead of Eddie Robinson, but Cochrane’s lack of pace has been exploited a few times and either Hall has made a save or Boswell and Chabala are forced to move and cover the middle of the back line. Chabala has done a decent job of moving the ball forward, but has created space for a Morelia counterattack when he pushes up the pitch.

Despite all of this, the biggest talking point of the first half has to be the referee. Our head referee has failed to call obvious fouls and has let the game get overly physical. Players are going into challenges late and someone may get hurt if he doesn’t step in and take control of this game.

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Warm-Ups: Weather Report, Players On The Pitch

Welcome to tonight’s SuperLiga semifinal match between the Houston Dynamo and Monarcas Morelia from Mexico. The Dynamo are here after topping Group A, coming ahead of Chivas USA, Pachuca, and Pueble. Morelia came in second place in Group B, falling behind the New England Revolution while besting the Chicago Fire and Pumas UNAM. The winner of tonight’s match will travel to New England to take on the Revolution in the championship match. The weather in Houston tonight is warm and muggy following a typically long and hot August week. There are some storms in the area, but this game should not be affected by the rain.

Monarcas Morelia are expected to field a full-strength line-up for tonight’s match, despite having an important game this coming weekend. Injuries and suspensions, along with a very important game on Sunday against the Seattle Sounders, are creating line-up issues for Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear. However, the Dynamo should be boosted by the inclusion of forward Dominic Oduro, who successfully won his appeal against a red card received in the Puebla match, and the return of utility player Geoff Cameron, who is returning for a knee injury. Houston’s plan of attack against Morelia will be to come out and attack early and try and take control of the game very quickly. The Houston Dynamo have struggled controlling both their nerves and the game over the last few weeks and are hoping that this tournament will give them a chance to settle down a bit and return to form in league play.

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Line-Ups: Morelia Taking SuperLiga Seriously

Morelia are off to a good start in their 2010 Apertura season, and have used the SuperLiga tournament as a jumping off point for league play. While success in the Apertura is of primary concern, the Monarcas feel like this is a tournament they can win and are fielding a line-up that reflects the desire for success.

Here is tonight’s starting XI for Monarcas Morelia.

F: Sabah
F: Lugo
M: Aldrete
M: Noriega
M: Droguett
M: Loano
D: Ramirez
D: Perez
D: Silva
D: Romero
GK: Vilar

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Line-Ups: Houston Dynamo Bring Strength

F: Dominic Oduro
F: Cam Weaver
LM: Brian Mullan
CAM: Lovel Palmer
RM: Corey Ashe
CDM: Anthony Obodai
D: Mike Chabala
D: Ryan Cochrane
D: Bobby Boswell
D: Andrew Hainault
GK: Tally Hall

Bench: Tyler Deric (GK), Brian Ching, Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis, Francisco Navas Cobo, Geoff Cameron

Not Included: Ngwenya (suspension), Cruz (suspension), Serioux (injury), Onstad (injury)

While this may not be Houston’s ideal starting line-up, it certainly is the best the team can muster right now. The return of Geoff Cameron is great, but it should be expected that the coaching staff will ease him into competitive play. I would expect him to see 30 or so minutes towards the end of the match, regardless of the scoreline. Beyond that, starting Corey Ashe on the wing is a good move for a few reasons; it leaves Brian Mullan with the option of moving inside when needed or pushing up in support of the attack. Richard Mulrooney can be subbed on as either a defender or a center-defensive midfielder, meaning the Dynamo could bring out a defender and put Mulrooney in the midfield, switching to a 3-5-2. Regardless of all of this, I think tonight’s starting XI proves that the Dynamo are taking this match seriously and want to win this tournament.

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SuperLiga: Dynamo and Morelia Fight For Final Position

Tonight the Houston Dynamo return to action as they take on Monarcas Morelia in their third SuperLiga semifinal in three tournament appearances. The Dynamo reached the tournament's semifinals after finishing at the top of Group A with a record of 2-0-1.

Morelia, who play in the Mexican Primera Division, took second place in Group B with a 1-1-1 record, will be a tough opponent for a Dynamo squad hurt by injuries and suspensions.

Houston will be forced to play without defender Adrian Serioux, who injured his hamstring against the New York Red Bulls, goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who is having surgery in Germany for an abdominal injury and both Danny Cruz and Joseph Ngwenya who are out due to suspension and card accumulation. Forward Dominic Oduro was set to miss the match after receiving a highly contested red card against Puebla, but the Dynamo appealed the card and the suspension was overturned yesterday.

Houston's line-up should be reinforced by the inclusion of utility player Geoff Cameron, who has been out since April with a PCL tear, but returned to training last week with the team. Even with Cameron returning, the Dynamo are expecting a tough match.

‘We are up against a really good opponent that is going to make it very difficult for us,' forward Brian Ching said. ‘It's fun anytime you get to play against a team from Mexico - especially a good team. We enjoy it, and it's competitive. Whether it's a friendly or a competition like this, we are taking it very serious.'

Morelia captain Mauricio Romero echoed Ching's statements and believes Houston will be a tough opponent.

‘We believe we can go out and play competitive soccer, and we have plenty of respect for a team that is one of the best in MLS,' Romero said.

Tally Hall, who usually fills in as Houston's backup keeper, will get his sixth consecutive start (and fourth straight SuperLiga start) tonight. Hall is expected to the be keeper of the future and tonight's semifinal will be another quality test for the young keeper.

Morelia and Houston have met once before, in the group stage of the 2007 SuperLiga tournament, where they drew 1-1.

If, after 90 minutes of play, tonight's match ends in a draw, the game will be decided by penalty kicks without any extra time.

The winner of tonight's semifinal moves onto the tournament's final, where they will take on the New England Revolution who beat Puebla in penalty kicks last night. If the Dynamo win, the final would be a rematch of the 2008 championship game, which New England won on penalty kicks.

Tonight's game can be seen on TeleFutura and MLSSoccer.com and can be heard in the Houston area on SportsTalk 790 and La Ranchera 850.

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