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Santos Laguna eliminate Dynamo to set up CCL semifinal clash vs. Seattle

HercGomez (SBI)


The Houston Dynamo had a one-goal edge and some daunting history to overcome as they took the field in Torreon, Mexico to take on Santos Laguna. MLS teams have found Estadio Corona to be a house of horrors and the Dynamo became the latest team to find out just how difficult it is to escape Torreon with a result.

Santos Laguna pounced on a pair of Dynamo blunders just five minutes apart to take control of the two-leg series, and put the match out of reach in the 77th minute when Marc Crosas headed home an insurance goal to give Santos Laguna a 3-0 victory and 3-1 series victory in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

The victory sets up a match-up between Santos Laguna and the Seattle Sounders in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals series. Santos Laguna thrashed Seattle, 7-3 on aggregate, after blowing away the Sounders in the second leg in Torreon.

On Wednesday night, Santos Laguna forced the Dynamo into a pair of costly errors, starting with Warren Creavalle being whistled for a penalty in the 23rd minute. Juan Pablo Rodriguez had his penalty kick saved by Tally Hall, but Hall’s save rattled off the underside of the crossbar and fell in front of goal, where Rodriguez pounced to tie the series.

Gomez made it 2-0 just five minutes later when he forced a Dynamo blunder with some hustle. As Bobby Boswell and Tally Hall hesitated to play a ball rolling toward the Dynamo penalty area, Gomez raced in and shot it past Hall to make the score 2-0.

Houston struggled to create chances against Santos Laguna, managing just two shots on goal. Defensively, the Dynamo struggled to cope with the big field in Torreon and Santos Laguna’s speed, and they wound up devoting more energy to trying to stop Santos Laguna rather than creating chances of their own after Santos Laguna took over the series lead.

Now Santos Laguna will face the Seattle Sounders in the two-led CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. The first leg will take place in Seattle between April 2nd and April 4th, with the second leg being played in Torreon from April 9th and April 11th.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. I wonder if random Mexican fans are posting today about how Tigres was such a poor representation of the Mexican league because they brought their reserves and didn’t take the tournament seriously. Or perhaps posting about how Herediano was an embarrassment to the league because of their poor performance and ridiculous tactics that were bound to fail. Somehow I doubt it. People like Old School and others just prove the inferiority complex of MLS fans. The reality is that the Dynamo went down there, made three mistakes and were punished appropriately for them. Chances are, the same performance against an MLS side may have resulted in a 0-0 draw or perhaps a 0-1 loss. This doesn’t say anything that is not true about MLS. It simply says that it is tough to win in Mexico because you can’t afford to make mistakes. The ridiculousness of ideas that this means we need to change the rules regarding who goes to CCL needs to stop. This team easily won their group and represented well. They simply didn’t get the job done last night. It’s not like they went down there and lost 6-1 like the US Open Cup winner did last year.

  2. The sad part is that Houston will be in it this year again and again they’ll stink it up. All three goals were bad mistakes. You cant give a rebound on a penalty and if you your defense better be able to clear it, the defense needs to be in sync with the goalie gomez goal was a real softy, and the goalie shouldnt get beat on the near post on the third. All houston needed to do was park the bus and they sucked at it only two shots on goal pathetic. LA will rep for the league I dont see seattle doing it.

  3. I do agree that the better team won, but I don’t know that I’d really say Santos forced Houston into those mistakes that led to the first two goals.

    Creavalle’s takedown was just a rookie mistake and there wasn’t any reason for it, the other player had good position but nothing exceptional was done to force the play.

    The second goal was just indecision from Boswell and Hall, Gomez is a good enough striker to pounce on it and convert but didn’t do anything except pressure the play like any forward would.

    What’s frustrating is that this was a winnable game for the Dynamo, had they simply not made dumb mental errors.

  4. I think we have a flawed defense that is effective enough for 2/3 of MLS but gets exposed by regional competition, LA, and the occasional MLS opponent. Boswell is too slow, we play almost like a zone, and we don’t have enough pure defenders. The goal where Boswell and Hall get split reflects that Boswell often needs others to bail him out for speed, sometimes just gets beat.

    I also think Houston needs to up the forward quality. We’re playing with one real forward, supported by a mid. I think bringing Ching and Weaver back was unwise, and the bet on Cummings so far is not paying out. We often struggle in spring and retool in the summer, and I think the team is not so much bad as mediocre. But mediocre doesn’t win titles. Kinnear has another summer reboot on his hands.

  5. The Dynamo need to spend some serious cash, to get their rosters even with Santos, and the rest of the teams left in CCL. The game highlights the biggest hurdle that most MLS teams face–not being able to afford the better rosters.

    • That would be nice. It’s especially frustrating when you look at LA, who is owned by the same company as the Dynamo (AEG, though only 50% stake in Houston now) and last season had three players who each made more by themselves than the entire Dynamo roster, yet they won’t open the purse strings for Houston.

    • Hell, we need to get on par with LA, Seattle, NY maybe (or at least spend like they do). but yeah we hear you loud and clear.

  6. Extreemly dissapointed in the Dynamo play. they were on their heels the whole game. Pretty bad effort with the defense. Boswell should have cleared that play, inexcusable. Didn’t think we would miss Ashe so much, I was wrong. No attack to speak of. No forward play. All in all it was a bad representation for MLS.

  7. What a shaky and poor performance. Ugh.. and Bobby, What the heck man! Terrible game! A game were we had to smart and not make stupid mistakes and what happens? We do the exact opposite and hand Santos the game on a silver platter.

  8. Herc Gomez keeps killing us in CCL. We need to bring him back to MLS. I’m tired of watching a US national scoring the goals that eliminate our MLS teams from the tournament.

  9. Best team easily won.

    Houston were extremely poor representatives of MLS this portion of the tournament. Frankly, they’ve looked like a bad team every match I’ve seen of them this year.

    • If CONCACAF stopped rewarding the MLS Cup runner-up with a CCL berth, and instead rewarded the Eastern or Western Conference regular season champ that didn’t win the Supporter’s Shield, that’d improve the odds of only high quality teams in the tournament. Four berths:
      MLS Cup winner
      Supporters’ Shield
      Conference winner w/o SS (or SS runner-up irrespective of conference)

      • I agree that in most years the SS runner-up would be a better team than the MLS Cup winner because low seeds can sneak into the title game and lose but…

        1. If the Dynamo had won the MLS cup (could have happened if Carr didn’t explode his knee), then the Galaxy would have been MLS runner up and not made the CCL.

        2. Last season SKC was SS runner-up and would have been replaced by second runner-up DCU and at this point we know Houston is better than DCU

        So yes, assuming the MLS cup loser isn’t the better of the two team playing in MLS cup, that would be a good move. In most years it would work.

      • *Just to clarify, SKC would be replaced by DCU because they won the USOC and thus already have a CCL spot. Most of y’all probably know that but if you didn’t now you do.

      • You’re right about the 2012 situation – it would have sucked if LA missed out because they were awful during the first half of 2012, then kicked it into gear and won the Cup – but statistically speaking, MLS is more likely to get a better team if they reward the team who performed the best in its conference (or second best overall).

        Really, that wasn’t intended to be a knock on Houston. Santos is a darn good team and Torreon is a hard place to play, but we must all remember MLS Cup 2010. Colorado won and Dallas lost. Both teams had a hot streak during the playoffs, but they just weren’t (and still aren’t) good teams.

      • LA came from a low seed to the title just the same. They weren’t a conference winner either.

        Houston won leg 1 but ran into a consistent road leg problem it has had under Kinnear. We have generally had positive home results then gone to leg 2 and lost by 3 goals or so. That is not a reason to re-write qualification. It’s something to discuss with Dom.

        I think we put the finalists in because one assumes they are the form sides close of the season. Sometimes teams win the SS or a conference on the strength of early season performance.

        The one that is truly dubious is USOC. There have been a lot of poor performing CCL teams that came from USOC, because many teams don’t try to win it, the site selection is not neutrally done, etc.

    • Extremely poor? and and bad team every time you saw them? Really? you are saying DCU looked better int he first game? Come on man… seriously hyperbole much? And they were better than Santos a week ago.

      • It’s not hyperbole if I’ve said it since week 1. This isn’t some instant or recent reaction.

      • So you are saying DCU is extremely, extremely poor and worse and Santos last week was worse too. Gotcha.

      • Fairly sure my commentary was on Houston.

        You, on the other hand, are looking for an argument, of which I don’t have the time effort or energy.

        Keep having, what appears to be, a crappy day. I’m good.

      • Houston is in this tournament from runnner up in 2011. They then achieved the same result in 2012 and will thus be back next CCL. The suggestion that finalist is misleading is therefore dubious. REPEAT FINALIST. You’re arguing leave out the 2nd place team two years running.

        Also, we made the CCL quarters. You’re acting like we lost first round like many teams in past years. We didn’t. We won our group and the first leg and then just happened to lose the second. To a Mexican team. This does not call for throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

        The fairer criticisms would be pointed to how Kinnear’s approach to CCL and perhaps even MLS in general does not seem to translate to knockout play in CCL. The same thing happens the same way each time we play a decent team in a knockout round. One good home game, but so cautious we don’t build a margin, one cautious road game, where we crumble.

    • Let me start by saying that I am a Dynamo fan and couldn’t be more disappointed in last night’s result. In light of that, and I’m trying really hard not to be insulting here, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Houston easily topped their CCL group with their reserves, including a draw @ Olimpia where they played a man down for 35′. Then, they beat and outplayed Santos at home, though Santos definitely had an off night. Yes, Houston had a stinker last night, but this is a team that’s played 1 league game this season. And Houston didn’t have the advantage of playing the Santos reserves in the 2nd leg. Boswell had a particularly bad game, and he consistently makes teams of the week. Plus, everyone knows Houston’s D is thin this year.

      Thr best team won. You’re deluded if you think DC or Chicago (both who have gotten worse this year AND are just as out of season) would do any better, as Houston proved they were a superior team to both those sides late last season. NYRB? Now I’m not digging on them, but suggesting they would do better than Houston as a point of fact is a joke. SKC on the other hand is already in.

      Now, I know the placing for this tourney dates back two seasons ago, but rosters are much different now, so I analyzed from the POV of last season.

      Your Houston hate (we breathe it) is making your brain and typing fingers act a fool.

      • You don’t know what hate is. I think we’re more indifferent to the orange team. The Dynamo, sorry. Dynamo.

    • I take it this is the only Dynamo match you’ve watched this year then? They destroyed DC and looked pretty solid against Santos first leg.


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