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Thursday Kickoff: Crew falls in CCL, D.C. downs TFC and more

The task was tough, but looked attainable on multiple occasions for the Columbus Crew.

The Crew needed to win in Mexico to advance to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, and looked capable of doing so after taking a 1-0 lead just before halftime and tying Toluca 2-2 in the second half to even the overall series. On both occasions, Toluca responded swiftly to steal away the momentum.

Mexican international Zinha scored a pair of stunning free kick goals, including one just seconds after Guillermo Barros Schelotto made the score 2-2, to help give Toluca a 3-2 second-leg victory and 5-4 series victory to earn a place in the Champions League semifinals.

Columbus had a chance to win the series on away goals after Zinha's second strike, but hopes of that fightback were hampered severely when forward Steven Lenhart was issued a red card in the 80th minute.

Despite the loss, the Crew showed good form for a team still in pre-season, and Columbus' ability to push Toluca to the brink bodes well for the Crew returning to the level that helped the club win the MLS Cup title in 2008.

The loss drops the record of MLS teams in meaningful matches in Mexico (non-exhibitions) to 0-19-2.

Here are some other stories to get your Thursday going:


Jaime Moreno continued his stellar pre-season form by scoring the loan goal in D.C. United's 1-0 victory vs. Toronto FC in Carolina Challenge Cup action in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday.

Toronto went a man down in the 28th minute when midfielder Amadou Sanyang was issued his second yellow card. The red card was the fourth in four matches for Toronto FC players.

Moreno broke the scoreless deadlock in the 62nd minute to give D.C. the lead and give Moreno his third goal in two Carolina Challenge Cup victories.

In the day's other Cup match, Real Salt Lake routed the Charleston Battery, 3-1, on goals from Robbie Findley, Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola.

D.C. United will conclude Carolina Challenge Cup play on Saturday vs. Charleston, while Toronto will take on Real Salt Lake.


The past and the future of Mexican soccer was on display on Wednesday as Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Javier "Chicharito' Hernandez scored goals in Mexico's 2-1 exhibition victory against fellow World Cup participant North Korea in Torreon, Mexico.


The Philadelphia Union will play host to Spanish powerhouse Valencia in an exhibition match this summer at the soon-to-be-completed PPL Park in Chester, the club announced on Wednesday.

The date for the match has yet to be finalized, though the Valencia website has the match slated for July 31st.

The match is one of three Valencia is expected to play in the United States. New England and D.C. United are also proposed opponents.


The San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo played to a scoreless tie on Wednesday night in pre-season action in San Francisco.

The shutout was the fourth straight in pre-season action for the Earthquakes, who close out pre-season play on Saturday with a match vs. the Portland Timbers.


You could soon see yet another American buying an English soccer team, only it's not someone you would expect.

Sean 'P. Didddy' Combs is reportedly interested in buying cash-strapped Crystal Palace. No word on whether he'll rename the club Ciroc Palace.


What do you think of these results? Did the Crew impress you last night? Starting to believe it could be a good year for D.C. United? Getting worried about Toronto FC's pre-season form?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. i was also impressed by them, shirts tucked in and all. they seemed very disciplined: not a lot of fouling, and i didn’t see one dive. seemed very technical. i enjoyed watching them.

    But omg, did you see the two fat princesses in the sky box cheering the goal, in their prom dresses, hilarious!!!

  2. what impressed me was the fact that the defense and the midfielders remained composed with the ball and didnt clear the ball downfield with panic anytime pressure came. Believe it or not but N.Korea looks more than capable in beating us sadly to say

  3. North Korea played btter than i expected. The are tall and fast. there left winger is their best player. They played better than the U.S. ever do in mexico. And i am not joking. North Korea actually try to keep posession and find each other. The marking by North Korea was very disciplined except for on that goal by chicho. Blanco scored from a free kick. Hey North Korea are not a fraid to to make the long shots toward goal either when the U.S. are afraid everytime. so what does this tell me? it got me pissed.

  4. Well, had Columbus gotten the job done at home, they wouldn’t have had to go down to Mexico and try to pull off a tough win in the first place. In a home and away series, you’ve got to defend your house…

  5. – good to see the Crew hold tight.

    – wait a sec, did mexico actually play IN mexico?!

    – I will be at the DCU/Valencia game if it happens.

    – “because he likes the name.” – awesome reason to purchase a football club…

  6. Does winning the Champions League put them in the World Club competition held last year in Japan – I’ve always wondered this….

    It’s embarrassing that it has taken over 15 years and still no one in Mexico. You’d think the odds would of shaken at this point… At least DC still has a chance to go down in the history books! Good showing by Columbus, fair play, goalkeeping let you down however.

    Glad to see us winning again, sad to see it was because of Moreno who seems the only one capable of scoring thanks to our office’s gamble on a never-was Aussie…

  7. Nice going TFC! Four red cards in four preseason games. You’ve adapted quite well to Preki’s hacking style of playing ugly.

  8. It’s the same boring story every year: MLS teams lose to Mexican teams. It really has become quite boring because the outcome never changes.

  9. Zinha’s free kicks were well taken, but Hesmer and the defense were not on the same page on the second score. There appear to be multiple break downs, Hesmer’s the worst.

    Game also showed why Rogers and Franky should not get anywhere near SA 2010.

  10. I don’t know how we lost. I am the best defender in the league & deserve to be paid millions like all the American players deserve. It’s those internationals who are ruining MLS for guys like me.

  11. I was at the game, and Sanyang was straight red carded for an open handed shove/hit to the face of DC player after a dangerous tackle. This is what started the fight during the game.


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