Matias Almeyda: “They are a very difficult team. To make it to the final after competing with the Red Bulls is an honor.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — Unlike Club America coach Miguel Herrera, Chivas boss Matias Almeyda has respect for his MLS rivals.
After the Goats eliminated the Red Bulls from the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, Almeyda gave his vanquished foes some credit. Actually, a lot of credit.
“They are a very difficult team,” he said through a translator after Chivas managed a scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena to reach the CCL final Tuesday night. “To make it to the final after competing with the Red Bulls is an honor.”
The Guadalajara side booked a spot against Toronto FC, 4-2 semifinal series winners of Club America, riding its 1-0 home win last week.
Chivas was outplayed at RBA and never got a shot on or at goal. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, finished with 17 shots.
“It was a suffered win,” Almeyda said.
“We had a ot of pressure by the Red Bulls. We could not find out style of play. We found our ticket to the final and we played like warriors.”
Chivas played like warriors despite some internal problems. Prior to the match, it was reported that the Mexican team wasn’t happy with its travel arrangements from Guadalajara to New Jersey, complaining about a long stop-over in Houston, and over bonus payments.
“There are things that have been talked about in the news,” Almeyda said. “But I always said, these things will be talked about in the environment we are in. I am very proud of the players I trained and very proud of the unity the team has. I was very proud of the players today, especially because they were carrying the Mexican flag in honor. We showed off that hard work does pay off.”
Last week the controversial Herrera downplayed MLS’ success even though it sent two teams to the CCL semifinals.