Monday, July 27, 2009

all things futbol this weekend

Gold Cup

Mexico's 5-0 whooping on the US was an awful result for Bradley's Gold Cup squad. While the first penalty call was ridiculous - Gio Dos Santos elbowed Heaps in the face and then fell on him - the other scores were great goals. The Vela - Gio attacking force yesterday (plus Nery Castillo) is truly the future of Mexican soccer and the Americans should be very concerned, especially with the dearth of quality LBs to deal with Dos Santos. He is clearly the best player the Mexican Federation has.

Now I know this loss feels embarrassing to the US fan who is used to winning every important match vs the Mexicans on US soil, but I think everyone needs to calm down. We had zero players on the squad yesterday that contributed to our Confederations Cup success. None. Heath Pearce was in SA but didn't play a single minute. In fact, he was third string behind BOCANGEGRA, arguably our slowest CB who was shifted over to LB because of a lack of options, and Bornstein. Pearce had a terrible day defending Dos Santos yesterday. Brian Ching is possibly the only true starter but he is not our scoring superstar - he is a role player who complements our stars. And it can be argued that he lost his starting to spot to Charlie Davies after this summer. The only other 3 players that I think even have a shot at the World Cup roster are Perkins (3rd string GK), Marshall (4th string CB at best), and Holden (the last midfielder in). So basically, our 3rd and 4th stringers lost to Mexico who employed a couple of their most dynamic talents. While it is disappointing to finally lose to Mexico on US soil, I'll be a lot more worked up when our A squad loses a qualifier in Columbus.

However, there is no excuse to completely implode the way the team did after that incorrectly ruled penalty call. The good news is that hopefully this loss will motivate Landon and company to win a historic victory at Azteca in August.

(Edit 8/11 - Mexico called in 12 of their Gold Cup players to the WCQ vs the US. The US called in 3, and only Brian Ching will even have a chance to play. Marshall and Holden might not even make the gameday 18. Everyone needs to calm down. We sent a crap team and we got a crap result. I'd much rather have won that WCQ 2-0 in February than the meaningless 2009 Gold Cup.)

Edgar Castillo

I decided to watch the Tigres' first league match vs Puebla to see Castillo play for the first time. I came away extremely impressed by his speed and technical skill. I think his attacking ability is clearly superior to Bornstein, Pearce or Bocanegra. I didn't see enough to judge his defensive discipline but I think his talent demands that US Soccer take a serious look at this kid, as long as he shows some maturity off the field and some hard work on it. After what Dos Santos did to us, we need to be open to all options at LB.


Becks had a nice assist to Landon for the equalizer vs Kansas City on Sat, but then confoundingly got into another exchange with a fan. This time he did shake the fan's hand but still blasted him angrily after the match. Why is he so thin-skinned all of a sudden? Beckham has endured enough abuse from crazy English and Spanish fans that he should be able to handle weekend US fans by now.


Onyewu played in 2 more games after his debut and was both shaky and solid in both outings. He got the opportunity to play vs Chelsea in the 2nd half but I thought he was a lot more comfortable in his third game in the Milan derby. Even though he was beat in the 4th minute by Milito's near post effort (which should have been stopped by that Frankenstein Kalac), I thought he showed a lot of his value to the team with some sturdy defending and strength in the air. That said, he's got to make sure to minimize his mistakes and not cost his team - which it has twice in 3 games.

Chelsea vs Club America

When Pavel Pardo said that it was a great day for Mexican soccer, I knew that only Chelsea could redeem my day. An upset vs Chelsea would send Club America and all of Mexico into a tizzy. Worst still, Ancelotti opted against sending out Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Anelka, Bosingwa or Cech. Fortunately, brilliant interchanges between young Di Santos and Malouda resulted in 2 goals and a peaceful night for me.

The World Football Challenge was a great treat for soccer fans in the US. Based on attendance numbers and ESPN's full support, it is likely that we will have the chance to see more and more big teams playing each other in the summer here in the US, which will help alleviate the sports boredom brought on by baseball in the summer months. Maybe next summer, we'll see Real Madrid take on Chelsea or Barcelona take on Man U?

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