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D.C., Houston host important Champions League matches tonight


Two massive CONCACAF Champions League matches loom tonight for the remaining two MLS squads in the competition. D.C., in need of a win to boost their chances of making a rather unlikely quarterfinal bid, face lowly San Juan Jabloteh (8pm, FSC) of Trinidad & Tobago who have yet to win in the competition.

United will have to do it with a number of players unavailable through suspension and injury — Jaime Moreno, Dejan Jakovic and Avery John are all suspended, while Bryan Namoff (concussion) and Josh Wicks (dislocated shoulder, sprained knee) are hurt.

Down south in Houston, Pachuca comes to town with much at stake for the Dynamo (10pm, FSC). Houston's record is much more impressive than D.C.'s but thanks to a much more competitive group, three points is almost a must tonight. Anything less than a win would leave Houston relying on other results, though they do have Metapan, winless in the group, left on the schedule.

Think either Houston or D.C. can get the win tonight? Can either make the quarterfinals?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Sorry to disappoint you CJ. With head to head I think there is virtually no way Houston loses to Metapan if they trot out the same line up (which I think they will). As I said before, if Unido plays at Pachuca like they did at Robertson I think Pachuca rolls easily no matter the line up.

  2. I think it’s highly likely that all 3 MLS teams advance to the Quarters. Houston and Columbus could have made it a lock by winning their last matches. But while no-one (DCU, Houston, Columbus) is a lock, the odds favor each of them significantly–it would take a weird confluence of results in each case.

    As for the post that DCU is taking the CCL more seriously than MLS b/c they have a weaker chance of the MLS playoffs….Santino Quaranta was held out of last night’s match even though he could have played. The team wanted to give his quad some extra time and avoid tweaking it so he’d be available for the Chivas match this weekend.

    Last of all, it seems like all of the serious contenders for the last playoff spots in MLS are trying to decline the honor. DCU, NE, RSL, TFC are all doing a great job of bleeding points or missing opportunities. It would be a truly amazing joke if FCD were to make the playoffs and a terrific indictment of DCU, NE, RSL and TFC (though I cut NE a bit of slack what with the recent injuries to Heaps and Ralston).

  3. amazing how many series fans still don’t know: GOAL DIFFERENCE DOES NOT MATTER. THE TIEBREAKER IS HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD. That is, if Arabe and Houston are tied on points, Houston advances. so all you need is a Houston win and an Arabe loss in the last round, with both teams then ending on 10 pts but Houston advancing thanks to a win and a tie in two games vs. Arabe. Normally, I think Houston easily beats Metapan and Arabe has no shot at even a point in Mexico, at Pachuca. But with Pachuca having already qualified, who knows.

  4. Houston has to win and Unido lose by a combo of 4 goals. That is not impossible. If Houston plays like they did tonight they can score 3 or 4 on Metapan. If Pachuca takes the game serious (after 5-0 I think they will) Unido will crumble. They were HORRIBLE at Houston and I do not expect them to be any better. That game could easily end up 2 or 3-0 in favor of Pachuca.

    As for tonight, tough lost. For 70 minutes the Dynamo were clearly better. They seemed to lose steam and I think the subtraction of Davis hurt. Did not like the Davis for Robinson sub. Mullan’s shot of the post is the one that sticks out in my mind. That was tough.

    Not sure why everyone is so down on Clark, he does what they ask him to do which is slow the ball down and redirect while holding down the defensive midfield. As for Cameron, I think he is Clark replacement next year and I think those who watch will see how far behind Rico he is. He goes forward well for a CB but as a midfielder he is fairly clumsy and does not have a long distance shot.

    Coming down to that last game I can not help but think about that farce of a game at Unido. Houston should have won that game and the ref just played way to big a role. Oh well, the Dynamo should play all the regulars and hope for the best. Push forward without mercy and hope it goes well.

    On another note, I think we saw two future starters in MF for the USMNT tonight in Torres and Holden. Both guys were very good at what their clubs ask them to do. Throw in Bennie, Davies, and Altidore with a wise old Donovan and Dempsey and the future in attack looks promising.

  5. ALSO, a DYNAMO fan and I’ve mentioned it to my friends since the beginning of the season that Cameron is the best player in the team. A couple of weeks ago while watching the Dynamo I heard some spanish commentators speaking highly of him (they believed he was the best player in the field/ would not be surprised to see him go to Europe/ and they were wondering while he has not gotten a look from the USMNT

    Life is wonderful. Take it easy.

  6. I dont know how you say Clark was non existent. This is why he gets the USMNT hate. I was at the game and he was ALL over the field. Holden had a below average game. Clark > Holden tonight. Ching was bad. Cameron is the best player at cleaning up mistakes.. 75% of which are his own. Odero has never been able to finish.. still cant.

  7. In my opinion, Cameron is actually a better player than Clark; it will be interesting to see how he develops. Come on Dynamo.

    Posted by: Kyle | September 30, 2009 at 11:43 PM


    Kyle – Cameron is a poor player. Bad decisions, hospital passes, and leaves men open (more than once is a mortal sin)….He is a typical US player rite now; athletic but no head for the game! And, yes, I am a Dynamo fan…..Whether he even gets to Rico’s level is yet to be seen BUT even then he still won’t be good enuff.

  8. i predict arabe and pachuca will draw 0-0 while strolling around the pitch and both will advance, a la the 1982 anchluss conspiracy that allowed germany and austria to advance at algeria’s expense.

  9. “DC United will qualify if Toluca beats Marathon tomorrow. If Marathon gets a result it gets difficult for DC as they have to play at Toluca”

    Given the goal differential situation, I’m not worried.

    Toluca 12 points, +12
    DC United 9 points, +4
    Marathon 6 points, -6 or -7
    SJJ 0 points, doesn’t matter.

    We would have to lose to Toluca by about 5 (well…that’s actually not out of the question), and Marathon would have to win by 3 or 4 on the road against an SJJ team that played them very tough in the first game, which was in Honduras. Barring some unforeseen astonishing US Confederations Cup-type thing, DCU can afford to lose the last game, even if it’s by two or three.

  10. aristotle, the old CONCACAF Champions Cup was a joke. LA won in 2000 by beating DC and two teams from Honduras. DC was a bit more impressive. They beat Joe Public, Leon and Toluca.

    Back then, MLS teams played all of their international matches at home. It wasn’t aggregate. You won three matches at home, and you are the champion.

    As everyone always says and it is true, MLS will continue to get better. Talking about the “glory days” of LA and DC is misleading though. These young players are getting a great experience by getting slaughtered at the hands of Mexican teams. They will learn and will be better prepared next time, I hope.

  11. Jose, I hope you are correct. It would be nice to have 3 teams in the next round. Maybe then we could sneak one into the final.

  12. It might behoove Pachuca to let Arabe at least get a draw in the next match. That would knock Houston out of the competition. Of course, I doubt Pachuca is scared of Houston, but they are certainly better quality than Arabe.

    Posted by: Never First


    Seeing how Arabe beat the crap out of Pachuca in their first meeting, I think Pachuca will be out for revenge

  13. It might behoove Pachuca to let Arabe at least get a draw in the next match. That would knock Houston out of the competition. Of course, I doubt Pachuca is scared of Houston, but they are certainly better quality than Arabe.

  14. Houston squandered their opportunities in the first half.
    1-1 would have been a fair result.
    But you could see a difference in quality in favor of Pachuca.
    Unfortunate loss, because Houston played some great soccer in the first 60 minutes or so.

  15. Update on MLS teams

    DC United will qualify if Toluca beats Marathon tomorrow. If Marathon gets a result it gets difficult for DC as they have to play at Toluca

    Columbus Crew needs at least a draw against Puerto Rico to guarantee qualifying. Also advances with a Saprissa tie/loss.

    Houston needs to beat Metapan and Pachuca to beat Arabe for them to advance

  16. och… looks like Houston is done in this competition… too bad… they have 3 National Team players and they can’t advance….

  17. Very tough loss for Houston. They really should have won this one, but a combination of bad finishing and some great goalkeeping by Pachuca denied them.

  18. Wow, Houston is so unlucky to still be down a goal…no way they tie this up (Ives’ backwards jinx strategy). Holden is far and away the best player for Houston (way better than the invisible Clark), and it is nice to see Torres play. In my opinion, Cameron is actually a better player than Clark; it will be interesting to see how he develops. Come on Dynamo.

  19. Aristotle, the reality is that both LAG and DCU won the Concacaf championship when it was played entirely in the US. Neither team had to play a road game outside the US. It was also a weird affair then. You played 3 games in 3 days. So a totally different experience.

  20. Houston’s finishing is poor tonight. Ching included big time.
    JFT is.. I hate to use the term but “nifty”. His one touches and vision are a cut above in this game. Comparing him to Ching and Holden it really is a surprise he hasn’t gotten more USMNT mins.

  21. Houston are unfortunate to be down 0-1. They’ve clearly had the majority of possession. Just can’t seem to finish. Holden, Davis, and Clark looking good. Ching not so much. Hopefully Gingo Torres comes out in the second half.

  22. 5-1 the final at RFK. Boyzzz Khumalo and Christian Gomez each enjoy a brace, while Fred put the other goal home for DCU, while SJJ scored a garbage goal late to make the scoreline slightly more respectable- after DCU had pulled Julius James, the only starting defender with any notable experience (I do not consider McTavish a true CB, so no, he does not count), and appeared to have switched to a very rare 3-6-1 formation, with a backline of Haburigira, McTavish, and Burch, none of whom inspire any particular confidence. Plus, the player who set it up appeared to be well offside on the replay.

  23. Off topic: full time, FC Dallas 1 – 0 New England. The Revs have a terrible closing stretch: @ Colorado, Columbus, Chicago, @ Columbus. Will they still make the playoffs?

  24. houston lostto pachuca in mexico only by two goals after the terrible arabe unido game which saw 3 big starters for houston red carded. So, they have a good chance against pachuca. They have beaten them before and i think they will win and move to first place tonight

  25. Aristotle i wasn’t talking to you i was talking to travis clark “D.C., in need of a win to boost their chances of making a rather unlikely quarterfinal bid”

    I totally agree with you aristotle.

  26. Personally, I think the differences between the MLS when DCU and Galaxy won is that there is more talent dilution with expansion. Couple tha with the fact that the MLS has not increased the salary cap and has actually limited teams on roster size and their ability to operate proper youth academies and sign players at will and I think you have the reason. The MLS is built to ensure parady.

  27. Tim:

    You must be talking to me, I guess. I don’t know why, though. When I said anything significant I meant the final. It shows that in my post.

    I really don’t think it’s a big deal to reach the quarterfinals of a tournament for CONCACAF teams unless you put the MLS below more than just the Mexican league.

  28. I don’t know how it is unlikely for DCU to advance to quarterfinals. They are in the inside track as it stands. If marathon lose and they win then they qualify for the quarters.

  29. Sadly, I don’t see any of the MLS teams doing anything significant (reaching the final). Houston might have a slight chance of getting to the final but I doubt it. It’s really hard to believe that the Galaxy and D.C. United won the regional championship so many years ago but now no MLS team can do it all these years later.

    Even watching our league’s champion the other night was pitiful. How is it that I knew with certainty as the game got into the final few minutes that Columbus was going to blow it at home against a team they should have easily put away?

  30. It looks like DC might miss the playoffs, so they might focus on their CCL performance a little more. Even if they don’t take it more seriously and I don’t rate them that highly, I still expect DC to advance narrowly. There is a big layoff between the group round and the quarterfinals, so they might be able to bolster their roster through offseason signings and injury recovery.

    I’m more excited about the Houston match, however, and hope they shutout the Tuzos.


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