Again outwitted by VCR programming – this time, due to neglect to keep the time current; damn thing started recording at 9:00 p.m. I’ll spare you the full, profanity-laden story.
The upshot, though, is that I didn’t see this whole match – only enough of it to know Atlante FC was a little better than good for the win. How good? I started watching after the half and was able to turn it off around the 80th minute, thoroughly secure in the knowledge that the Costa Rican club (Deportivo Saprissa, for the record) would never equalize. They created their chances, even made Atlante’s show-boat ‘keeper use all his tricks, but Atlante kept Saprissa on the back-heel with strong tackling and an impressively speedy attack.
Still, cracking goal from Saprissa’s Walter Centano.
Getting back to the Mexicans, how they attack is worth noting: they poured forward in a way you don’t often see, with players running ahead of the ball into gaps that allow short, diagonal forward passes to their feet. Either it was something they Saprissa allowed through zonal marking, or Atlante is just that proficient at their game. The won on a pretty goal, one involving this quick little bugger named Bermudez, but it was the vision and precision of the final ball that most impressed me. They tackled hard in the middle as well, imposing themselves on the game generally. Tough customers, these guys, perhaps even the class of the tournament.
The Costa Ricans know how to play as well. Seeign what they can do on the return leg should prove interesting….not Houston v. Municipal interesting, but this quarterfinal seems more evenly matched than the other two.
For the record, though, if it’s a matter of who gets through to the semis, I’m definitely pulling for the Costa Ricans. Unless, they had a banner day, I’m not liking the Major League Soccer clubs’ chances against these guys.