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Pumas crushes D.C. United to win their Leagues Cup group

Pumas dominated the match en route to a 3-0 win over D.C. United.

via @PumasMX

Pumas came out with a great performance to defeat D.C. United with a 3-0 win that won them their Leagues Cup group. Pumas bounced back after getting a tie with CF Montreal and losing the penalty shootout to get a 3-0 win that gave them the first place spot of East Group 2 with 4 points, a point over DC. Pumas will now face Queretaro.

The first half started with Pumas coming out with Jorge Ruvalcaba and Gabriel Fernandez instead of Gustavo del Prete and Juan Ignacio Dinenno. With the telecast of the Cruz Azul and Atlanta United bumping the telecast (Good job TUDN!), Cesar Huerta got off a right footed shot past D.C. United’s goalkeeper Alex Bono and into the net for the 1-0 lead. Replays showed that Bono should have handled the ball, but made a bad mistake which allowed the ball to go into the net. From outside the area, Eduardo Salvio got off a right footed shot that went just wide. A great cross from Huerta went just out of reach of Ruvalcaba, who would have had a tap in had he connected with it. After a pass in the area, Fernandez got off a great left footed shot that was well saved by Bono. Pumas had started being the better team, but DC had evened out the match. A good combination play from Ruvalcaba and Fernandez ended with his shot going just wide. Ulises Rivas got off a right footed shot that went just wide. Off of a corner kick, Jose Luis Caicedo rose to get to Adrian Aldrete’s cross and the ball went right into the path of a wide open Nathan Silva, who from close range easily tapped in the ball into the net as Bono looked and Pumas took the 2-0 lead. Pumas continued to dominate as the halftime whistle blew.

The second half started with Pumas hoping to convert more of the chances they were creating. Gabriel Fernandez made a great run from beyond the halfway line and then got all the way into the area to get off a strong right footed shot past Bono for a great goal that gave Pumas the 3-0 lead. D.C. United subbed out Jacob Greene, Gaoussou Samake, Cristian Dajome, and Jackson Hopkins for Ruan Gregorio, Pedro Santos, Christian Benteke, and Yamil Asad. After Pumas lost the ball, a play fell to Benteke, whose shot went past Pumas’ goalkeeper, Gil Alcala but it was cleared off the line. The play was also ruled to be offside, so it wouldn’t have counted even if it had gone in. A cross into the area fell and was left there, but Benteke’s shot was blocked by Pumas’ defense. Mateusz Klich then got into the area and hit a shot that Alcala blocked. Pumas subbed out Jorge Ruvalcab and Gabriel Fernandez for Gustavo del Prete and Juan Ignacio Dinenno. D.C. United meanwhile subbed out Nigel Robertha for Erik Hurtado.A shot by Salvio from outside the area forced a save from Bono. Pumas then subbed out Eduardo Salvio for Arturo Ortiz, looking as they were going to sit back on defense with their strong lead. Pumas had a good shot from Del Prete, but Bono did well to easily save it. A good counter opportunity was wasted when Dinenno tried to lob it over the keeper and sent it well wide. Pumas subbed out Jose Luis Caicedo and Ulises Rivas for Jesus Molina and Carlos Gutierrez. Pumas held on to the end and got their win that won the group for them.

Pumas started out their Leagues Cup competition with a disappointing result in Montreal. After wasting the first half there and going down to a 2-0 score, they bounced back in the final minutes to grab a 2-2 tie, only for them to lose the shootout and only get 1 point while Montreal got two. This mean that Pumas came into the match against DC in last place of the group, although with the advantage that a win and even a tie and a shootout win would have qualified them to the knockout stages after DC defeated Montreal. Pumas did one better and played well from the start, being the superior team for 90 minutes. Pumas thus got a clear and deserved 3-0 win, and will be favored to head to the Round of 16 as they face Queretaro, who struggled in their games in Philadelphia. The large quantity of teams in the Leagues Cup means that the knockout stages have a Round of 32, an extra match from the common tournaments who have a Round of 16. Still Pumas and their fans might be excited after their best performance so far from Pumas.