WOODY BAUM - Monday, May 17, 2010
Francisco Torres and Pachuca fall to Toluca in the second leg of their liguilla semifinal bout.
Toluca 1 – 0 Pachuca
Pachuca's unlikely liguilla run came to an end on Saturday as they lost to Toluca in Toluca. The series concluded with Toluca prevailing on three goals to two on aggregate. Toluca will now advance to the finals to take on Santos Laguna.
Pachuca entered the Estadio Nemesio Diez needing a win to advance on aggregate after tying Toluca at home on Wednesday. Pachuca initiated the game playing with urgency and Damien Alvarez took the first shot in the second minute that went wide left.
Toluca responded by slowing the game down with Antonio "Sinha" Naelson helping to win possession for the hosts. Francisco Torres started and played all 90 minutes. The American helped Pachuca to build up the attack, distributing the ball from the midfield, making several runs, and taking several shots from long range.
While Pachuca continued to attack they frequently left themselves exposed to counterattacks and were lucky to have not been scored upon by Sinha in the first half when he received a beautiful through pass with only the goalie to beat, only to see his chipped shot fall inches wide.
However, Toluca would not forgive on their second clear chance of the night, when in the 41st minute, Nestor Calderon delivered a cross that was headed away by Gerardo Rodriguez. However, the rebound fell to Antonio Rios outside the area, who then shot past Pachuca keeper Rodolfo Cota.
Despite being down a goal, Pachuca had reason for hope before the half, as Toluca defender Osvaldo Gonzalez was sent off for receiving his second yellow of the night after a hard tackle on Damien Alvarez.
Although up a man, Pachuca was unable to take advantage. In the second half, they dominated possession, but were unable to generate and convert chances at goal as the Toluca defense played disciplined soccer all night. Pachuca's first real chance of the half came in the 81st minute, when Damien Alvarez's header was kicked away on the line. Several minutes later in the 84th minute, Ulisis Mendevil's header bounced off the post.
Despite the strong play, Pachuca was unable to get the two goals that they needed to reach the finals. Despite not reaching the finals, it was a successful season for Pachuca as they were able to win the Concacaf Champions league and qualify for the club World Cup. With the season over, Torres will report for national team duty in New Jersey as the US prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.