The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

The Auld Enemy

Posted by steigs on February 5, 2008

So it’s US-Mexico time again, a friendly tomorrow in Houston.  Let the previews begin!

Will it be more of the same?  As Chang rightly puts it:

Pregame trash-talking from Mexico, followed by a game where Mexico dominated technically and in terms of possession and yet lost. The post-game routine usually consisted of Mexico stating it was the better team and how it didn’t deserve to lose.

Well, actually, so far it appears that Mexico won’t trash-talk us before the game.  Does this signal some respect?  Or just a lowering of expectations from the now twice-beaten egomaniac Hugo Sanchez?  Uh oh.  Maybe that means the rest of the usual fare is off the menu.  In fact, I’m expecting a draw tomorrow.  It just seems like maybe Mexico is due.  It’s not like it’s a real home game for the US — you play the game in Houston, you get a whole lot of Mexican immigrants in green jerseys in the stands.  And I’d rather mess this game up than one in qualifying or in the Gold Cup.

I think what I find most intriguing is the angle Chang points to — here comes the next generation.  We’ve got Adu and Altidore.  They’re starting to see players from their U-17 World Cup winning team enter the national team picture.  (Hello, dos Santos!)  And let’s face it, their young guns have a better pedigree (so far) then ours.  The US has a wonder boy at Benfica — they’ve got one at Barca, for example.  Altidore still plays in MLS, after all, even if Real Madrid is supposedly watching.  We’re doing pretty good in international youth tourneys — Mexico actually won one.

The player I’m actually curious to see again against Mexico is Michael Bradley, who has turned into a goal machine in the Dutch league.  He’s a big boy, a physical presence in midfield.  We need him to play well and show that he can disrupt the Mexican attack as well as generate some forward movement for us.  He seems to be tearing it up in Holland — is he making a leap in prowess that will lead him somewhere else soon and let him be a middle-of-the-park fixture for the US for years to come?  This would be an excellent time to show us that.

This seems an excellent time as well to post my tale of attending the ’05 qualifier against Mexico in Columbus, that dos et cero affair that clinched our qualification for Germany 2006.  That tale after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Mexico, US | 1 Comment »

Pulling a reverse Blanco — baseless Donovan speculation

Posted by steigs on January 14, 2008

It’s the transfer window market and the papers, particularly the British ones, are alive with speculating, gossip, and wishful thinking.  The BBC even offers a daily round-up, as a public service. 

So I was surfing through the comments on Goff’s blog today and, among random claims about DC United signings and debates about players acquiring British accents, came across this beauty:

Steve

1)Any truth to Landon “Landy” Donovan heading to Club America (Mexico)? spoken rumors this morning on a spanish radio show…

Ah, that’s perfect — big name player, loosely sourced, makes little sense.  We all know Donovan is deeply attached to California.  He gets plenty of criticism for not wanting to play in European leagues, something many fans would develop his immense talent further — or at least toughen him up more.  What are the chances he’d pick up and head to Mexico City instead?  Sure, he speaks Spanish (good for him, by the way) but, jeez, the Mexican fans hate him.  (That said, if there’s anything to this, I’d expect to hear about it on the excellent Sideline Views blog first…)

Oh, but let’s pretend for a minute this was actually in the works.  It would actually have the potential to further bring together American and Mexican soccer cultures.  It would be…a reverse Blanco!  Bringing Blanco’s anti-hero act to the Chicago Fire has been a great success on the field and an even greater one off the field, bringing Mexican league fans to MLS games to see “Mr. White.”  If we sent Donovan down to Club America, the big money glamor team of the Mexican league, he’d be anti-hero for them.  If Landon played to his potential, I’m sure he’d do well down there too, which might nudge a bit more respect for American players from Mexico.  And more English-speaking American fans might go looking for Mexican league games on television….

 Imagine a CONCACAF Champions League final between a Club America with Donovan and a Chicago Fire with Blanco!

 Oh, well.  Never going to happen.  I expect Landon to stay in California, maybe moving back to the ‘Quakes if playing for the Los Angeles Beckhams gets to be too much for him.

 But here’s another thought.  I know an American player who’d be perfect for the Mexican league — Clint Dempsey.  He’s a good Texan boy, he understands our neighbors to the south.  He’s doing too well in Europe right now but maybe in four or five years, after a good run in the EPL, Club America will come calling for him.  And he’s got just the attitude to embrace the anti-hero role and play it to the hilt….

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Another reason to visit Cancun

Posted by steigs on December 10, 2007

The championship of Ameria’s most popular soccer league was decided last night.  If you only speak English, though, you probably haven’t heard about it.  (One exception is the LA-based Sideline Views blog.)  The league, you see, is that of Mexico.

I only caught part of Atlante’s 2-1 second leg triumph over Pumas.  It was a decent game, given the high stakes involved.  What was more remarkable was the location — Cancun!  Tired of being one of the unfashionable of Mexico City’s many teams, Atlante up and moved to Cancun over the summer, looking to the resort’s workers as a fanbase.  It was a shift more akin to what American “franchises” do than is the usual practice in international soccer.  And that’s not the only thing that seems kind of familiar about the Mexican soccer league.  They have play-offs to decide their championship too, not the classic single table regular season approach seen through most of the world.  A Eurosnob fan would probably be inclined to assume that it’s another sign of Uncle Sam’s pernicious influence south of the border.

Whatever.  We DC United fans are now day-dreaming about a match-up with Atlante in one of next year’s continental tourneys.  It makes more a much appealing away game road-trip than, say, Columbus or Houston.

While we shiver and plot, a little more about the Mexican soccer league, involving a 2005 visit from Pumas (and Hugo Sanchez) and why some Mexicans root for “the Goats.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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