Copa America draw: Mex and US National team overview

copaAmericaCentThe Copa America draw took place and groups are ready and in place. Mexico is in group C with Uruguay, Venezuela and Jamaica. Chilean coach Noel Sanvicente, stated Mexico can be considered a favorite. Of course he also praised his team as one not to be underestimated. Psychological warfare may be taking place here, when calling Mexico a favorite. Not that they are in a group of death or anything, but this is a South American tournament including the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Chile. One of the El Tri opponents, Jamaica, is a CONCACAF team that is beatable, Venezuela is not usually a top South American team. Uruguay will be the biggest challenge in the group, on paper.

We know that Mexico plays better when they are considered the underdog or are forced to elevate their play to take on giants like Brazil or Argentina. We have also seen Mexico struggle vs CONCACAF teams that they were supposed to handle without major problems. This tournament is an excellent opportunity for Mexico to shine and show their worth versus the powers of CONMEBOL. Also any type of beating given to Uruguay is a good thing.

The US National Team is also in this tournament. It will take place in the US after all. So Mexico and the US will essentially be the home teams. The USMNT are in group A with Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay. We have seen many “Molero” games with the US and Mexico vs Paraguay, so many would see them as a beatable opponent. Costa Rica has been a top team in CONCACAF, and could pose a challenge for the US. Especially at a time where it may be thought that the US is at a low level of play recently. Consider the US already losing the CONCACAF cup as well as the Gold Cup prior, not even making it to the final. Is this the worst US team to be put together for a long time? Also is this Copa America the toughest tournament the US will participate in since the World Cup? Not a good time for the US to come in at a low level of play.

There is always the fighting spirit that the US can rely on. The underdog grit. The “dig deep” attitude that could lift the US up to Copa America glory. On the other hand, I have seen many US adversaries say the US will go “3 and out”, or even chant “I believe that they will lose!”. It should be an exciting tournament.

Pumas and Toluca get home wins in 1st week of Libertadores

pumaswinWith Puebla failing to get past the first stage, Toluca and UNAM are the only hopes for Mexican clubs in the Copa Libertadores. Both teams have similar defensive styles of play and in the first week, both now have wins.

Toluca played first and was in trouble to start as Moises Velasco got into a bit of a ruckus with Gremio players and was sent off with a Red Card. However, Toluca stayed strong and ended up with a surprising 2-0 win.

The UNAM vs Emelec match was exciting. Pumas came out and scored an immediate goal in the beginning seconds of the game. Ismael Sosa received a nice cross and put it in the back of the net, as Emelec players seemed to fall and failed to clear the cross.

Emelec didnt play bad and came on the attack, playing better for much of the 1st half. Then they tied it 1-1 with a nice play in the center of the field, getting behind the UNAM defense. The scoreline wouldn’t last long as Pumas scored off another nice cross, to a cutting Dario Veron, for the header that bounced once off the ground and fell into the back of the net. Set pieces or crosses would prove to be very effective for Pumas. This of course goes along with the playing style of Pumas in recent times. Long passes, playing vertical and strong gritty defense is what Memo Vasquez has made this Pumas team into.

In the 2nd half David Cabrera for Pumas gets a red card on a dangerous looking tackle. This would result in Emelec getting a goal to tie the game 2-2. Pumas just wasn’t having it though, as another set piece would enable the felines to take the lead again 3-2, with a header from Gerardo Alcoba. Pumas looking like the USMNT with all this grit, set pieces and excellent goalkeeping.

Pumas would finish the scoreline off with a final goal to make it 4-2, which was actually an own goal off a cross from the right side.

PikolinIt is worth noting that Pikolin Palacios had an excellent game, blocking many hard shots taken by Emelec. His athleticism, reflexes and quckness saved Puma hide on multiple occasions. After having a semi-bad game last weekend vs Dorados, he came back with avengance. He must still have hunger for some National Team minutes.

In yesterday’s episode of the Dos a Zero podcast, we talked about how these teams could have good performances in the tournament, even though expectations may not be too high. Both these teams are in the mid to lower half of the LigaMX table, and it may be a good idea to put Libertadores as a potentially higher priority, if LigaMX hopes don’t pan out.

We will watch closely how these teams continue to fare as the tournament progresses.

Ep. 22: Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast – CopaMX, Libertadores, Messi/CR7 and more.

yameritoChivasWe had a fun show talking about a wide range of Footy topics, such as the Messi penalty “controversy”, CopaMX and Libertadores games as well as the Osorio/Giovanni visit.

On the Messi penalty, we talked both sides of if the “provoking” Messi penalty, as well as CR7 comments about the great MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar).

Some panelists also rejoiced as Chivas got a CopaMX win vs Leones Negros. Also Toluca came out strong winning their initial Libertadores game.

It was a lot of fun, check it out…

Ep. 21: Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast – Mexico vs Senegal – Molero

MexVsSenThis episode we talk about the recent Mexico “molero” vs Senegal. We discuss the flops and stand out players from the game. We also have sound clips from Osorio and Pikolin from post the game press conference and mixed zone. Osorio answered a question from the Senegal press on the reason why Mexico gave Senegal a few good scoring opportunities during the game.

We also discuss the Chicharito injury and his career in Europe. As well as some Libertadores talk and LigaMX. A bet was also taken between two of our panelists on the winner of the Santos vs Monterrey game from tonight.

Tune in!

A Mexican Friendly that went from less to more.

Mexico vs SenegalMexico started out with a semi-familiar back line, at least in Molero games. Yasser Corona, Flores, Zavala as well as Captain, Nestor Araujo. The weakness in the Mexican defense seemed to lie initially with Jerry Flores, then Yasser Corona joined in with a couple of nearly fatal mistakes. Yasser was taken out at the half, as was expected. Osorio was well aware of his mistakes and noted them in the press conference after the game.

One of the attractions for this game was the opportunity to see younger up and coming players. Hirving Lozano did start the game and he was definitely dangerous, but didnt have the cohesion and help needed to make an impact in the marker.

Jurgen Damm was as speedy as ever, even coming back to recover defensively. However, the surprise player seemed to be Candido Ramirez, who hasn’t been playing much for his club, but his first touch in the 2nd half was a nice cross to Jesus Dueñas who put it in the back of the net. He looked to be on fire and energetic on the left side.

With Candido now on the left, Lozano moved to the right where he eventually sent a cross over to Rodolfo Pizarro who scored the 2nd goal for Mexico. Pachuca teammates unite!

That would wrap up the match. In a game that started off slow and scary with various defensive lapses, Senegal proved to lack finishing on the few opportunities they had. Jesus Corona came up big on a couple of them. Senegal had some spots where they showed “garra” and even went on the attack for spurts, but Mexico controlled it in the end. Two goals were what the 15,000 fans who were in attendance were waiting for.

Juan Carlos OsorioOsorio was asked in the post game press conference by a Senegal reporter, what he thought of the Mexican defense and how Senegal was able to nearly score on 2 or 3 occasions. JCO was adamant that the reason Senegal was able to get these golden opportunities was because of individual error. He referenced the Yasser Corona error as well as a counter off a Mexican corner kick, where he instructed them to play it short. He defended the strategy of the team. He said, the scoring opportunities were not because they were created by Senegal but due to individual error, and that their system/tactics did not fail them.

JCO also talked about Chucky Lozano and almost said he was just as skilled as Tecatito, but then changed his phrasing to say “not as skilled”. Lozano is good, but needs some more growing to reach Tecatito level, but he is well on that path.

Overall the game started slow, but gained entertainment value as the youngsters got the opportunity to shine and work hard to prove to Osorio that they belong for future National Team call ups.

 

There will be Haters: Mexico vs Senegal

Tomorrow evening the Mexican national team will take on Senegal in Miami, Florida. The players called up for both Mexico and Senegal, are not be 1st string National team players. No Chicharito, No Andres Guardado. We do get to see some young and up and coming players. The two goal scorers vs Honduras Jurgen Damm will be there but Javier Aguino, will not due to injury.

Some good young players will get to show their worth. Chucky Lozano, Carlos Salcedo, Erick Gutierrez and others will get a chance. So while many say that a visit to the Mall will be among one of the highlights of this visit to Miami, some of these players will be fighting to impress. They will be looking to show Osorio that they can “aprovech” their opportunity with El Tri and deserve a future call up in a more critical game.

There will be haters, however. Many call this game a waste of time. They question the Marlin’s Park promotion, as one in particular has pictures of 1st team players such as Chicharito, Guardado and Oribe. It is hard to think that Mexicans will go to the stadium to watch this game not knowing that it is not a FIFA date and these players will not actually be there. Futbol passion is strong, however, so the fan showing may still be solid. However, I am not sure how big a Mexican community exists in the Miami area.

The epic hater award for this particular game, goes to the great Carlos Albert. Formerly from Futbol Picante, he gives his take on the FMF and the use of the national team. He calls it straight up prostituting the National Team, for financial benefits. The FMF being the Pimp daddy counting the dollars after the players attract the fans.

Have a listen to his take, and sorry for the vertical video. 😀

Ep. 20: Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast – New name, new episode.

dos a zeroOur very first episode under the Dos a Zero name. We had some good convo about some the Chucky Lozano red card and the question of inept refs in Mexico. I agree, it was a bad call against Lozano, others thought all the refs are inept and against the beloved Aguilas de America. 🙂

We also discuss the potentials for the call up that just came out today. The highlight of our discussion was Pikolin. Some despise and some are glad for him. We will have to wait and see how he performs next week and if this will be his only call up ever.

We had some participation in the Youtube chat, and it is appreciated. If you have any comments or questions, be sure to follow us on twitter for the Youtube link every Wednesday. Or in the case of next week, most likely on Thursday.

Saludos

No more non FIFA date friendlies?

pikolinNext week Mexico will play the Senegal National Team in Miami, in what surely can be classified as a “Partido Molero”. Wednesday, February 10th is not a FIFA date and we will not see the top Mexican players in Miami. The Mexicans playing in Europe will not be called up, so we will have to enjoy seeing an abundance of LigaMX players.

We may even get the pleasure of seeing the great Pumas goalkeeper, Pikolin Palacios! In an Interview with Fernando Schwartz and Valeria Marin, Jorge Vergara brought up a good point about these types of games in the US. He mentioned and approved of the idea of not having friendlies in the US that are not on FIFA dates. This would mean all friendlies in the US would showcase the Mexican stars playing in Europe, such as Chicharito, Guardado, etc. The games would be entertaining and the fans would get their moneys worth.

It would also mean that new up and comers may never get a chance to put on the “verde”. Players like Alejandro Palacios and others, who we may be able to see next Wednesday, but possibly never in any real tournament such as Copa Oro or Copa America, much less the World Cup. However, is it right to take away the illusion of representing their country, even if it for just a meaningless friendly?

The fact is Chivas is in danger of relegation and giving up players for a “meaningless” friendly could put the team in further problems, especially if injuries occur. It looks like Vergara and Chivas will only offer up Carlos Salcedo, who is suspended anyways from week 5 LigaMX play.

So while no longer playing non FIFA date friendlies may seem like a good idea to some, such as Chivas, in their state of distress, there may be many LigaMX players who would love to put on the El Tri jersey, even if it is only for a few times. As far as the Mexican fans in the US, there are many who will be more than happy to pay high prices for tickets to attend these games, even without the likes of Chicharito or Tecatito.

The Federation will also be happy with a nice increase in the size of their pocketbooks.

Soccer Chronicle will be onsite in Miami covering the game, so stay tuned to our twitter feed for videos, pictures and news from the game.

Ep. 19: Los Cachirules podcast – Farewell Cachirules!

Dos A ZeroA final episode of “Los Cachirules” and a new start to “The Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast”. In this final episode we talk about the Naturalizados issue, Juan Carlos Osorio’s comparison of Neymar and Tecatito, his “hate” of MLS, LigaMX results and more.

The JCO hate continues from one side of the panel, while he has support from other panelists. Discussion of foreigners in Mexico and their rights as naturalized citizens, as well as the FMF pacto de caballeros that renders those rights null and void.

We also have some fun with Chivas and how Dorados is their ticket to stay in Top Flight of LigaMX.

Stay tuned tonight for our first episode of Dos a Zero podcast!!

Ep. 18: Los Cachirules podcast – Discussion over Kuri agression, refereeing and LigaMX

Messi Los CachirulesOur latest episode was one of “extra cancha” news and drama. Fidel Kuri, owner of Veracruz Tiburones, got into a little scuffle with head of refereeing Edgardo Codesal. This resulted in heated words and slight shoving of an old man. We discuss the actions on the pitch between Veracruz and Leon and how it escalated to the long pant drama.

We also talk about how Club America may be losing its true and faithful 12th man, as another bad call happened in the Wilas vs Atlas game.

These topics and more in the telenovela that is Mexican futbol.

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