photo by Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports
By FRANCO PANIZO
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Landon Donovan might have been an exceptional penalty-kick taker in his career, but it is that part of the game that got his coaching career off to a losing start.
Club America’s Under-20s won the second MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday night, defeating the Donovan-led MLS Homegrowns, 6-5, on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes. The shootout at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park went to seven rounds, but Anthony Jackson-Hamel missed on the Homegrowns’ final attempt.
Tommy Thompson scored the first goal in the history of the event in the first half, but the MLS side could not hold on. Tyler Turner conceded a penalty kick in the 67th minute for a push inside the penalty area, and Sergio Rodriguez capitalized on the opportunity by slotting in the ensuing spot kick a minute later.
Club America nearly won it before the end of regulation. Substitute Homegrowns goalkeeper Matt Lampson got just enough of the ball to push a 76th-minute shot off the post, and Victor Rodriguez fired a stinging shot from the right side of the penalty area two minutes before the final whistle that just went wide.
The MLS Homegrowns were on their heels for much of the second half, and they would have surrendered an equalizer earlier if not for Alex Zendejas preserving the lead in the 58th minute by heading a ball off the goal line.
Five minutes earlier, Club America had another quality chance that Brandon Garcia fired off the post.
The Homegrowns also came out of the gates slowly, but came to life after Thompson struck. Thompson opened the scoring with a low finish from 23 yards out in the 34th minute, dribbling upfield and taking advantage of the space in front of him. The ensuing shot had power behind it, but Jonathan Leon Quinones got his hand to it and should’ve kept it out.
Memo Rodriguez nearly made it 2-0 for the MLS Homegrowns four minutes later, hitting a bending shot from outside the 18-yard box that was denied superbly by a flying Quinones.
Quinones also delivered in the penalty shootout, stopping an attempt from Zendejas in the opening five penalties before seeing Jackson-Hamel shoot his effort over the crossbar in sudden death.
What did you think of the MLS Homegrowns’ penalty kick loss to Club America’s U-20s? Which players impressed you? Like seeing Donovan involved and on the sidelines?
Share your thoughts below.