Friday night in Austin, Texas, the inaugural ATX Pro Challenge tournament kicked off with the two semi-final games. This first edition of the pre-season tournament featured three MLS teams; Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, & FC Dallas. They were joined by the hosts, & new members of the USL, Austin Aztex. The winner of the tournament will receive this beautiful trophy:
The trophy itself may have stole the show from the actual play on the pitch too, just take a look at these tweets:
We'll see who takes it home on Sunday, but for now, here is my quick analysis of the two games on Friday.
FC Dallas 3 - Columbus Crew SC 1
Not the way the Crew wanted to start out their pre-season campaign. Crew definitely played better than Dallas on the whole, but while they might have had most of the possession, they were not able to capitalize on it. Crew had a few good chances throughout the game and finally got on the scoreboard in the 65' minute. Crew wouldn't be able to reduce the deficit further.
On the other side of the ball, Dallas didn't quite control the ball as much, but they were dangerous on the counter-attack. Dallas were able to maneuver their way, especially down the left-flank, and slice the Crew's defense on a couple of occasions.
Dallas will now play D.C. United in the ATX Pro Challenge Championship game on Sunday at 3:15pm CST while the Crew will play the host, and their new USL affiliate, the Austin Aztex at 1pm CST in the consolation game.
D.C. United 2 - Austin Aztex 0
It wasn't the coming out party that the Aztex had in mind. The newly added USL side had trouble keeping up with the talent of United. The Aztex did start the match off in a brightly fashion, but cooled off relatively quickly. Throughout the game the hosts had a few spurts of success against the MLS side, but couldn't break through. Austin were plagued by a number of off-sides, including one that took back a goal, poor passing, especially in the mid-field, and poor execution in the attacking third when they did have chances.
D.C. United weren't really pushed much during this match. They held possession quite well and were able to break down the Aztex defense for two goals. When the Aztex were threatening, United's defense held very well, none better than goal keeper Bill Hamid's one-handed goal line save from an Aztex corner.
United are now one game away from adding that tremendous trophy to their already packed trophy case. For the Aztex, I think they need to work on their execution if they are going to have a chance to beat the Crew come Sunday.
I will be back in Austin for both the consolation and championship games. You can watch the matches on the Aztex's YouTube site live and by following @AlamoSoccer & @kevinkwc on Twitter.
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