Superliga Preview 2010- Who Will Be The New Champion?
The MLS has only two cups outside of the MLS Cup. The SuperLiga and the U.S. Open are those two. The U.S. Open comprises of only soccer teams from America, but not just from the MLS at the same time. The SuperLiga is a competition between the MLS and Mexico's Premier Division.
The three past years of the SuperLiga have seen two Premier League Mexican teams win, Pachuca(2007,1st champion) and UANL Tigres (2009, 3rd champion) and one MLS team win, New England Revolution (2008, 2nd Champion). Out of the three champions, two return this year which would be the Revolution and Pachuca. Past runner-ups have also returned, including the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo.
The SuperLiga happens before the start of the Mexican Premier Division's season.
Let's get to the preview.
Group A- Houston, Puebla, Pachuca, and Chivas USA
One of the tougher teams in the MLS make their third appearance in the SuperLiga.
Pros: They are a very defensive team and have proved such. They can easily win games if they are able to keep up their defensive prowess.
Cons: They have struggled as of late, losing five straight games.
Key Players: Brian Ching, who has scored three goals since his return from the World Cup, and Bobby Boswell, the big player on defense.
Coming off some recent disappointment, Puebla looks for redemption in this year's SuperLiga.
Pros: The team is under new management and looks very motivated for this tournament. With the recent additions to the team, the team looks much stronger.
Cons: Despite the reinforcements, the team lost key striker Herculez Gomez to Pachuca.
Key Player: Carlos Ruiz, who is a very dangerous striker.
First-time SuperLiga champions, Pachuca feels strong coming into the SuperLiga, calling themselves one of the best teams in the Americas.
Pros: After a major talent overhaul including the addition of Herculez Gomez, the offense of Pachuca has never looked better.
Cons: Can be weak defensively.
Key Players: Herculez Gomez, a major offensive weapon who scored 10 goals last season, and Jose Francisco Torres, a dominant midfielder.
Another team who makes its third SuperLiga appearance, Chivas looks to finally make it out of group play and maybe more.
Pros: They are gathering momentum after getting into the U.S. Open semi-finals.
Cons: They have earned only one point of of their last seven league matches.
Key Player: Justin Braun who has had 6 goals in 15 appearances for the team.
Group B- Chicago, New England, Pumas UNAM, and Morelia
Last year's runner-ups look to brighten the Fire's current season.
Pros: The Fire have made a good run coming into this after having a bad start to the season.
Cons: They are still a struggling team despite the run, and are hoping penalty kicks don't come back to haunt them.
Key Players: Marco Pappa, a young striker who can score from a distance, and Wilman Conde, a veteran midfielder who continues to lead in times of trouble.
New England Revolution
The only MLS SuperLiga champs hope to turn around their dismal season at this SuperLiga.
Pros: This is the very same team who can inspire themselves from their last SuperLiga appearance.
Cons: They are playing horribly in the MLS. They have been injury plagued as well.
Key Players: Matt Reis, the goalkeeper returns from injury who can lead on the team, and Shalrie Joseph, the veteran midfielder looks to give the spark in the Superliga.
The team makes their SuperLiga debut and has new hope after finishing in the Quarter-Finals in the Mexican Premier League's Bicentenario.
Pros: Under new management, they have been playing their best ball.
Cons: The team may have trouble with the style of play of MLS teams in the SuperLiga.
Key Player: Francisco Palencia, who is a two-time World Cup participant, returns to the pitch of the MLS and brings his great vision and striking ability to it.
The team returns to SuperLiga after missing the past two editions and looks to strike gold.
Pros: The team is coming off two solid tournament performances from the Mexican Premier Division.
Cons: After missing the past two editions, Morelia may have trouble readjusting to the time before the start of their season.
Key Player: Elias Hernandez who in the Bicentenario has seven assists, along with seven goals.
Summary of SuperLiga
This SuperLiga looks not so good for those of Group B. Many teams in Group B have only a few shining stars that could lead them to the finals. Look for a Group A member to win it all. Members of Group A are just way too strong for the members of Group B to have a chance.
Pachuca to win it all.
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