The ATX Pro Challenge finished this past Sunday with 2 games; the consolation game, and the championship game. In the first game, Columbus Crew SC beat the host Austin Aztex 1-0. In the final, D.C. United beat FC Dallas 1-0 to claim the first ATX Pro Challenge championship, taking home the widely talked about armadillo trophy.
Austin Aztex 0 - Columbus Crew SC 1; Third Place Game
My analysis for this game will only consist of play from the second half. Lunch and parking delays due to the Austin Marathon delayed my arrival by about an hour. At halftime the score was 0-0. In the second half the Aztex seemed to have most of the possession but still failed to execute properly in the attacking third, similar to their semi-final game against D.C. United. The Crew were able to break the scoring drought after a cross was tipped into the back of the net by the Crew's Chad Barson. That would be the difference between the 2 sides. After the goal, the Aztex pushed forward aggressively, but were unable to equalize. Columbus captured 3rd place and finished with one win and one loss in the tournament. For the Aztex, the tournament seemed to be a measuring bar for them. They clearly have a lot to improve on, but absolutely showed signs that they could hang with the MLS clubs they faced. Unfortunately, the Aztex left the tournament with 2 losses and no goals to show for it. They were outscored 0-3 in their two games.
The Aztex return to the field later this week to place the Houston Dynamo while the Crew play TP Mazembe of the Linafoot league, the top division in the DR Congo, in the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Florida.
FC Dallas 0 - D.C. United 1; Championship Game
The championship game was quiet entertaining even though there was only one goal scored. Although I don't have official stats, it seemed like Dallas and United shared possession pretty equally during the course of the game. Dallas definitely put more pressure on United's defense, especially goal keeper Bill Hamid. Hamid had a handful of great saves throughout the game. While Dallas' goalie, Dan Kennedy, wasn't troubled as often, he was beaten off a great shot by United's Chris Rolfe. Rolfe was just outside the penalty box and hit a curler into the top right 90 to give United the lead, and eventually the win.
My guess is that the armadillo trophy will be one of, if not the most, unique trophy that United have ever won. United's next pre-season game will be a rematch of the ATX Pro Challenge final against FC Dallas in Dallas. I'll Look for Dallas to bring a little revenge factor to this game for missing out on that fabulous prize.
Ah, pre-season...the only time winning a minor trophy can be so important.
A big thanks the the Austin Aztex for hosting a great inaugural tournament, and thanks to the University of Texas at Austin, my alma mater, for allowing it to be played in their soccer stadium - the pitch was beaUTiful! Maybe next year the challenge could be a Texas only tournament; Austin Aztex, San Antonio Scorpions, FC Dallas, & Houston Dynamo...what a tournament that would be!
Thanks to all who followed me this weekend and appreciated my updates!
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