Dorsal #12 Pancho Villa’s Army Los Angeles Chapter party it up before Mexico vs Jamaica @ the Rose Bowl

The Tamborazo could be heard as you drive up to the historic Rose bowl in Pasadena, on a sunny typical California day. When you park, you will be greeted by the sea of green, and I am not talking about the gorgeous grass on the golf course that serves as a parking lot for the Rose bowl, but the 83 thousand fans that packed the venue for the upcoming Copa America Centenario group C match, Mexico vs Jamaica.

Now enter the Pancho Villa’s Army Los Angeles Chapter contingent @PVALosAngeles into this mix and you get one of the best Futbol atmospheres in this Copa America Centenario, that had everything, Mexican food, Tequila, and just unbridled jubilation from all the Mexico fans.

The tequila and other assortment of spirits starts flowing, combined with some fantastic live Tamborazo + beautiful señoritas, Pancho Villa’s Army delivered a great tailgating spectacle  of epic proportions.

The party was so good, that Photojournalist @afroxander , could not fight off the temptation of such good offerings and forbidden fruits by the LA contingent Pancho Villa’s Army.

These Pancho Villa soldados were just getting ready for war in the stands, in one of the greatest arena’s known as Azteca del Norte, formerly known as the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California.

PVALA

As always, there are fans who come and are ready to deliver a message

Then the message got a political overtone, not that I blame them.

Pancho Villa’s Army was ready with the Tamborazo in the stadium, and unleashed a large TIFU, that went without incident, like it happened in Glendale Arizona vs Uruguay.

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The 12th player, has entered the arena, ready for battle.

Mexico vs Jamaica, Uruguay Eliminated, sets up a great match up at the Rosebowl

Mexico entered the Copa America Centenario Group C match with the news that Uruguay had been eliminated by Venezuela in the previous Group C match up. Jamaica cognizant that today, they had to win today in Mexico vs Jamaica at the Rose bowl in Pasadena, in order to have any chance to qualify to the quarterfinals. This proved to brew the perfect storm for an exciting back and forth match up that had rapid changing high’s and low’s during the entire match before a sold out Rose bowl in Pasadena.

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Mexico started with the same line up from its previous match vs Uruguay, except Jesus Dueñas was in for the suspended Guardado, and Juan Carlos Osorio opted to field Yasser Corona for Diego Reyes and Raul Jimenez for Javier Aquino. Chicharito +10 + the 12th Player were ready to take on the Jamaican team and qualify for the quarterfinals of Copa American Centenario.

Cheech3

Mexico kicked off a match that will be remembered for the player rotation and at times a shaky defense. Mexico will score thanks to Chicharito scoring his 45th goal for the Mexican national team at the 18th Minute with a fantastic Header. Mexico stayed on the attack and kept pushing up with their 4-3-3 formation to the Jamaican goal guarded by the Andre Blake.

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Courtesy of Ivan Fernandez 

Mexico maintained possession but was hampered by occasional turnovers by the defense. This emboldened Jamaica to play for the counterattack. That is when Yasser Corona stepped up and became the hero of the night, by saving the Mexican goal, and a combination of Ochoa’s trademark spectacular performances.

In the second half, Juan Carlos Osorio decided to change some inequities in the field and substituted Tecatito Corona for el Chuky Lozano. The key change that gave more balance in the midfield to Mexico, happened when Jesus Dueñas came off to give way for Jesus Molina. Eventually Chicharito came off and El Hermoso Peralta came on, which was a masterful key move by Juan Carlos Osorio, since Peralta scored and sealed the result for Mexico in the 81st minute. At that moment, it was checkmate. Jamaica says good bye to the Copa America Centenario with one match left to play.

Regardless of all the nitpicking on the defense that kept Jamaica with a clean score sheet, the 83,263 fans were treated to a fantastic night of back and forth Futbol, that will linger in their collective memories till the end of their times.

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Nestor Araujo gave us a small brief rundown on how the defense performed vs Jamaica, and he was kind enough to to answer a few questions about the match in the mix zone.

And Miguel Layun tells us what he thinks about him playing in a different position that he is used to

The 12th player Mexico vs Uruguay Copa America Centenario

 

Its 115 degrees outside the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona, but that doesn’t seem to faze any of the Mexico fans. The fans are partying it up with the Pancho Villas Army, which are hosting a fan fiesta all out Pachanga at the Westgate Entertainment District.

PVFAN

The beer, err excuse me, the Cerveza is flowing non-stop to the jubilant Mexico fans who are getting ready to support their team on Copa America Centenario’s debut match vs Uruguay on June 5th in Group C.

Pancho Villa’s Army setup the Pachanga at the Salt Tacos y Tequila restaurant, which allowed for non-stop celebrations 3 hours before kickoff. There was tamborazo, a Mexican music and traditional Puto chants all over the restaurant.

Inside the stadium, the Uruguay fans could not be left behind, they gathered by section 128 and started singing songs, but where expectedly drowned out by the Puto chants hurled at them.

 

This Mexican Lady won the night celebrations, seems like that is an indication of what is to come, when the 12th man takes the field

Mexico vs Uruguay Pre-match notes

Its 11 am and is 110 degrees Fahrenheit in another lovely Glendale Arizona morning, a perfect day to for a match of futbol today in Mexico vs Uruguay, today at 5 pm local time.

This will be the 10th time Mexico makes an appearance in the prestigious Copa America. Quite fitting that its their 100th anniversary, which makes Copa America the oldest tournament in the sport of Futbol. Mexico’s participation since 1993 has reaped a record of 17 wins, 12 ties and 15 losses while scoring 60 goals and receving 53.

 

A few notes:

Mexico’s head to head record vs Uruguay is 7 wins 7 ties and 5 losses.

In Copa America, Mexico leads the series vs Uruguay at 2 wins, 2 ties and 1 loss scoring 8 goals and conceding 6

In the last Copa America match ups, Uruguay beat Mexico 1-0 to a sub-23 Mexican team

Mexico destroyed Uruguay 3-1 with the help of the shooting star that glistened our collective watery eyes called Nery Castillo.

Mexico’s best ever finish was in their debut, Copa America 1993 in Ecuador and Copa America 2001 which was held in Colombia in which they finished runners up

Mexico has a record of 1 win, 3 ties and one 1 loss at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The lone win was vs Guadalupe in the 2009 Gold Cup. The one loss was vs the United States in Hugo Sanchez’s disastrous debut as manager with the Mexican National Team.

Uruguay has a record vs CONCACAF opponents of 3 wins, 3 ties and 3 losses in Copa America Tournaments.

 

We are ready

Press conference prior to Mexico vs Uruguay with Juan Carlos Osorio y Andres Guardado

The press conference at the University of Phoenix Stadium was brief and Juan Carlos Osorio repeated ad naseaum that he hopes Luis Suarez plays tomorrow, so we can play against the best Uruguay has to offer. Andres Guardado was mostly asked about the functionality of the team and how the “Puto” chant can harm the national team with sanctions and fines. Both Osorio and Guardado are optimistic of Mexico’s chances tomorrow in the group stage match up Mexico vs Uruguay.  Juan Carlos Osorio thanked the fans for their passionate support, and both Osorio and Guardado admit that the fans are the 12th player in the match. Osorio is concerned that Juergen Damm was not match fit, but is confident that his time to shine will come. Osorio alluded to the fact that he is only 23 years old, and with the possibility of still going to Europe.  Tomorrow a great game awaits us.

JCO talks tactics vs Uruguay:

JCO talks about Damm/Candido and Guardado talks puto chant:

Jesus Dueñas says Uruguay is not as dynamic as Chile

Blessed by the Arizona 114 degree weather, the team changed their training venue from the originally planned outdoor training grounds at the Grand Canyon University, to the comfortable closed ceiling of the University of Phoenix stadium. Once the training was over, the team was bused to the Westin Hotel in Downtown Phoenix, and Jesus Dueñas @jessusduenaz29 and Jorge Torres Nilo @jorgetorresnilo made themselves available for a quick press conference at the aforementioned Westin Hotel.

 

 

So there you have it, According to Jesus Dueñas, Chile was a more dynamic opponent that Uruguay will be, therefore it will be an interesting match to watch.

A quick USMNT and Mexico, Copa America take

copa-amercoa-centenario-usaCopa America is Today! The excitement begins. So let me just make a quick and possibly obvious observation on the USMNT and Mexico teams for this tournament.

Lets look at the preparation games played by these teams. US played Puerto Rico, Ecuador and then Bolivia. Puerto Rico is a very poor team and more like a cascarita than a real game. US won easily, but did get a goal scored against them. Ecuador, is a bigger challenge of course. US came up with their typical strong defense and late goal to get the win. A late goal and the way the game was played gave Ecuador the ability to say that it was an even and well played game. That it was an unfortunate goal that just came late. Then the Bolivia game, is another easy game vs the bottom of the CONMEBOL table.

Basically the US taking it easy for prep games. I will say prep games may mean very little. It is the play in the actual tournament that counts.

Keep that in mind as we now shift gears to Mexico. El Tri played vs Paraguay and then Chile. Many said the Paraguay game was not needed, and just a Chile matchup would be sufficient. A 1-0 win vs Paraguay is expected. It is the 1-0 Chile win that is interesting. Chile is the defending Copa America champion. They have the likes of Alexis and that drunk guy with a mohawk, Vidal. They play in Europe with vital teams. Yet they still lose to a lowly Mexico. Chicharito scores a late goal to stun the Chilenos. Now much of this game, Mexico was defending and not possessing like they normally do. It could be said it was not the best game for Mexico and that Chile deserved more. Mexico however with a threat like Chucky Lozano and great passing by Miguel Layun gave Mexico the opportunity to win off the head of Chicharito. A late goal that didn’t give enough time for Chile to react. Especially since they subbed out Vidal and Alexis. A win by Mexico that seemed very much like the USMNT wins.

So no need to be fully impressed by either teams. The Chile win by Mexico should give more hope than any of the 3 USMNT wins, but that is not saying much based on Mexico’s overall play vs Chile.

Enjoy the Copa!!!

Brandy, Cigars, Gio, Chivas, and Liga MX Semis

It is time for another edition of the gentlemen’s agreement.  In this installment soccerchronicle.com ‘s John Jagou and futmexsource.com ista Joel Aceves hash out the Gio mess, Chivas’ new media leap, and the Liga MX semifinals.

John Jagou:  I was very surprised that Gio did not make Copa America. I am not surprised that FMF bungled the whole thing up. One day these guys will get their stories straight.
Joel Aceves:  I am also surprised Gio was left out not only becaause of well he has been playing with the Galaxy, but also what he means to the national team. Still, there is hope that he gets capped for the Olympics.
 
JJ:  It used to be for years, decades even, that Mexico did not have the depth to omit players of Gio’s quality. Mexico does have quite a bit of depth now, which is why Osorio can live without Gio for now. He has Tecatito and Chucky.  The guy who was expendable was Jurgen Damm.  Damm is fast, talented, but he is no Gio. Not having Gio on the team will now rachet up the pressure on Osorio. If the expectation of making the semifinals is not met, the press will crucify Osorio for this decision.  But they will crucify him for any and all missteps.
JA:  It reminds me of Bora’s second run with the national team in the late 90s. He was criticized for not calling Carlos Hermosillo. Good ol Velibor would then piss off the press by saying he respected their opinions. Knowing FMF there’s a number of reasons why Hermosillo was sidelined and even after Manuel Lapuente replaced Bora, el Grandote de Cerro Azul remained absent from the Tricolor.
With Gio I get the feeling there’s a question of sponsorship behind Osorio’s announcement that the reasons for Gio being left out will remain between them.
 
JJ:  The worst part is how many people believe the coach when Gio said he had declined. Then said it would be unethical for me to talk about the reasons. WTF
 
JA: My take is that FMF has stipulation with TRI sponsors that require Gio to be present in big games-events. And Osorio leaving him out, in my own opinion based on tactical reasons, causes a problem that is easily resolved by claiming the player asked to be left out.
 
JJ:  The worst part of the whole thing was Gio making press junket appearances without his people having any idea that the list was being released in the middle of said appearances. He was live on the radio with Grant Wahl as the list was being released. Grant asked him why did you decline the call? Gio was shell shocked.
 
JA:  I missed that interview. Fellow Deuce podcaster Beto kept referencing it and looking for the clip to no avail. I did see Televisa interviewing Gio at a supermarket whilst he promoted head and shoulders and his replies and body language tell me he really wanted to play the Copa America.
 
JJ:  Gio knows that Tri appearances are what have given him the career he has. It certainly hs not been his club career.  It makes no sense that he would turn it down. SUM and MLS were depending on him to play. It was a big black eye for them both.  Like I said earlier, Mexico might have more depth now, but shutting out a difference maker like Gio is not a good decision.And I do not think it was Gio’s.

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The Gentlemen Break Down the Liguilla

In the latest edition of the (and freshly rebranded) Gentlemen’s agreement, (nee Weekend at Joely’s) futmexsource.com correspondent Joel Aceves and soccerchronicle.com writer, John Jagou take a look at the 3 big mid-week fixtures, including Pumas’ Libertadores quarterfinal.

 

John Jagou:  I felt bad for Gullit this weekend. He could have increased his hit points and attained legend level status with Chivas fans, but the cross bar said otherwise. And then our friend Oribe scores another huge goal to add to his legend.  It is why Osorio has to take him to Copa America. There is no Mexican player who has come up as big and as consistently as Oribe over the past decade.

 

Joel Aceves:  Gullit has gained a reputation for lacking testicular fortitude.  It is the alleged he lost his starting spot in Mexico’s World Cup squad.  Agreed on Oribe, he even has shown to have the quality to bench Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez! In any case the Horrible One should be a welcome addition to either Olympic or Copa America squad.

 

JJ: I do recall hearing the same thing about Gullit, that he did not deal well when the pressure was ratcheted up, and it cost him in Brazil. You saw some of that when he first played with Chivas, but it seemed like Almeyda had gotten him to calm down and not press. Regardless, the season overall was a good turn of events for Chivas. If they can manage to avoid a slump in the coming Apertura, they can finally, after 3 years, exorcise the relegation fantasma. That should help them play with a lot more confidence. It has been a while since I have said this, but I am bullish on Chivas, provided they find a goal-scorer.

 

JA:  Mexico Boss Juan Carlos Osorio claims that it was his call to Gullit that set the player straight. He is on record saying that he talked to el Lagrimas Esmeraldas and told him to set aside his personal problems and that if he regained his level he would be called up to the national team again.

Next season will be key for Chivas, which have already climbed to 13th place of the relegation chart. Below them are Atlas, Morelia, Puebla, Veracruz, and whichever team gets promoted (either Necaxa or Juarez). As for finding a goal-scorer, Chivas’ best bet will be their Cantera,

 

JJ:  Over to America. As much as it pains you to admit, you have to be really impressed with the job that Ricardo Peláez has done at Club América several years ago. The club was in complete disarray, even flirting with relegation before he took over. Since then, they have become the model club in Liga MX.

In a sense, he has made America hated again. 4 titles with 3 coaches, but with essentially the same base of players. If they manage to win the title this season, it will be even more impressive because they will have defeated 3 of the 5 best teams in the league this season.

 

JA: On the contrary John, I’ve actually been an advocate for Peláez as it was a welcome change in Liga MX. Nestor de la Torre had been doing a similar job at Chivas. Granted not as successful but the team was very consistent:  won the league title, then played two semifinals after that, in addition to a Copa Libertadores final.  It is no coincidence that the club fell apart once he left.

With Peláez, I like that America’s board of directors have given him complete confidence to run the club.   In the past we have seen coaches come into a club like a snake oil salesman, making big promises.  The club would then supply Mr. Snake Oil a brand new roster of players, and when that coach’s fails to meet the high expectations he had set himself,  it’s on to the next quick fixer.

Peláez has shown that long term planning has its merits. He sacked coaches that were not willing to be part of the club’s process. Those were risky moves on his part as was hiring the low profile Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Ambriz but the club’s success has shown that Peláez has been right all along. My hope is for more Liga MX clubs to take this approach as I feel it will lead to a more competitive league.

 

JJ:  I am not so sure your fellow Chivas compatriots would understand or appreciate your healthy respect for Club América’s recent fortune. Some maybe asking to revoke your credentials. But there is something to be said about continuity. And it makes much more of an impact when a club with America’s pedigree succeeds because of it. If Liga MX turns into a copycat league, then, as you stated, the league will become more competitive.

A certain degree of continuity also be used to describe how Pachuca and León have worked themselves into the top echelon of the Liga MX as well. Both of them had good wins to advance to the Liguilla semis, where they will face each other. Pachuca’s kids are fun to watch, but Leon’s Elias Hernandez has been spectacular this season. He deserves a chance to play in Copa America.

 

JA:  No need to revoke my Goat creds.  I’m about to hand them in myself. Chivas CEO (Jose Luis Higuera) and General Manager (Jaime Ordiales) are known Americanistas. And the club owner (Jorge Vergara) is rumored to be an Atlista. His first foray into Liga MX was to sponsor Atlas and then even tried to buy them. I maintain hope that Vergara’s ex wife Angelica Fuentes, who owns 49% of Chivas, will sell her shares to a proper investor that can then buy out Jorge. Cough Slim Cough

While Leon and Pachuca have been on the right path it is America that has taken the spotlight. For the greater good of the league, America’s success in Concachampions, and even at the Club’s World Cup can influence other clubs to take the same approach:  having a set of goals to reach instead of betting on a coach and mid-season transfers to turn things around.  Last season Cruz Azul brought in Eduardo ‘Yayo’ de la Torre as GM, so it will be interesting to see how much freedom he will have to shape the club. As we can see Yayo has bet on continuity with Tomas Boy remaining at the helm. In the past he would of been gone once the final match-day whistle signaled the Maquina’s latest fracaso.

 

JJ:  Pumas did the same with Antonio Sancho. And they also were judicious in their recent acquisitions — most already Liga MX veterans.  They may not be in the liguilla, but their season is not over yet.

And we can also say that this season was one that was not pockmarked by coach firings. In the not so recent past, it was normal to have 6-10 coaches given the boot at midseason. Some teams would have 3 coaches for the 17 games. So maybe this is the new normal in Liga MX.

The king of continuity is Tuca Ferreti.  Tuca has coached Tigres for 6 years, which is incredible for Liga MX. It is unfortunate that the series with Monterrey was marred by bad officiating and then baiting Tuca into one of his classic eruptions. What the press won’t show, though, is Tuca going back and calmly answering questions.

 

JA:  Well then, I guess we can say that the trend is catching on. We can add Toluca to the list who under Jose Saturnino Cardozo played two Liguilla semifinals. And like Pumas dominated the Copa Librtadores group stage. Unfortunately, Toluca had one bad game against a Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

That said both Pumas and Toluca failed to make the Liguilla, which I blame on the short season which, ironically, has been one of the most influential factors in Liga MX club owners’ erratic behavior in their quest for instant results with the quick fix.

 

JJ:  I don’t mind that Pumas didn’t make the liguilla. I would much rather they focus on the Libertadores anyway, which they can do now without any distractions. A few years ago when Monterrey won their first title under Vucetich, they chose to play the Libertadores with reserves. The reigning champions at the time had an opportunity to measure themselves against SA’s best, and they play with reserves.  Baffling!

Take the shot when you have it because you never know when you’ll get another chance.  Pumas has a legitimate shot at the semis after a 10 year absence in the tournament. It is a busy midweek schedule. Pumas vs Independiente del Valle (ECU) on Tuesday, América-Rayados Wednesday, and Leon-Pachuca Thursday. Who you got?

 

JA:  I’m going with Pumas over Independiente not just because they represent Mexican soccer but because I’d like to believe we have a better league than Ecuador.

In my opinion America-Rayados is the final adelantada and the winner should lift the Liga MX title. I got the sense that Rayados showed some weakness against Tigres in the quarterfinals that America can exploit. So, I will side with the Wilas on this one.

Leon-Pachuca is the Grupo Pachuca Clasico. We’ve all seen what happens when teams owned by the same owner meet: the main club gets favored and in this case it’s the Tuzos.

So, we can be seeing an America vs. Pachuca final: two clubs that have bet on a long term project and continuity. Maybe this is becoming a trend. Latest news is that Vergara offered Matias Almeyda a five year coaching contract.

 

JJ:  I also hope to see Pumas through, but it will be a lot tougher than people expect.  Independiente did just bounce none other than the defending champs, River Plate.  So they are no pushover by any means.

Monterrey’s discipline will make Club America unravel, and Pachuca will prevail over Leon because the last time they played in the liguilla, Leon won.

It’s daddy’s turn.

As always a pleasure, Joel.

 

JA:  Same here.  I am really enjoying these chats.

 

JJ:  As am I.  Hopefully the readers are as well.

 

Catch John and Joel every Wednesday on the Dos A Zero Futbol Podcast live on youtube at 9pm CT, or on itunes.

Follow Joel on twitter @joelyaceves

Follow John on twitter @jjagou

Weekend at Joely’s

In the first of what will surely be a series of captivating installments, Soccerchronicle.com columinists John Jagou and Joel Aceves will publish their weekly conversation. The first of edition of this new feature, Weekend at Joely’s, expands on a topic that they both discussed on the dos a zero futbol podcast, the decision by FMF to limit Liga MX gameday rosters with only 8 Mexican nationals.

John Jagou:  Earlier this week, FMF decided to “limit” the number of foreign and naturalized players to 10 per convocación, which would only leave room for 8 natural born Mexicans to dress for a game. What do you think the motivation was for FMF to do this?

 

Joel Aceves:  It’s all about ratings. The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) is run by two competing media conglomerates whose main interest is selling the product of futbol. That said, the availability of football from the world’s top leagues makes FMF believe that in order to maintain fan interest they need to bring in high profile players.  That makes sense but the reality is for every Gignac we get 30 Fantiks.  FMF is foolhardy to believe that a Mexican kid will watch Champions League, La Liga, EPL, then go to Liga MX stadium and be bored. They completely overlook the cultural aspect of the sport and the fact that only a handful of Euroclubs play consistently exciting games. While that same kid can watch Barcelona on tv he still won’t get the excitement that comes with going to the stadium, being part of the club that represents your community and feel pride at their achievements.

 

JJ:  It doesn’t seem to make sense, though. Mexico’s structure, at least at the U-Level for the national team has enjoyed unprecedented success over the past 10 years.  It would seem logical, then that the FMF and the member clubs would give the youngsters as many opportunities as possible to see how much better they can become. Limiting the player pool to 154, while allowing 170 spots to foreigners or naturalized players, when we take it face value, seems to be a very quick way to throw away all the progress that has been made.

Now, there are some who will argue that you can’t just give a player a spot, he has to earn it. And there is plenty of truth to that. If a kid beats out the veterans and foreigners, then there is no question that he is a special talent. But there are so many who don’t really blossom until later in their careers – mainly because their limited opportunities stunted their growth. Oribe is a perfect example.  How many others make their top level debut after the age of 24?  Too many.

 

JA:  I absolutely agree with you that this new rule does not make sense but we have been seeing it since the 05 U17 World Cup win. Very few players since then have gotten opportunities despite the constant success at the youth levels. It almost feels like Liga MX despises their own talent. A few years back the league had implemented the brilliant 20-11 rule, which guaranteed youngsters playing time, and clubs fought tooth and nail to get it removed. It also becomes difficult for Mexican upstarts to compete for a first team place given the short season format that demands instant results. So, clubs would rather bet on a 2nd rate foreigner than nurture their own talent.

As a Chivas fan, I can already see some of the adverse effects the increased amount of foreigners in the league is causing. The club has a very difficult time in the transfer market as there are fewer quality local players available. Chivas desperately needs a striker for next season. A quick look at Liga MXs top 10 goalscorers shows us that there’s only one Mexican player, ironically its Oribe the late bloomer who plays for the dreaded rival, America. He is on the wrong side 30, so his career is winding down. Ideally there should be 3-4 Mexicans on that list and its worrisome that having very little presence is a non-issue for the league.

 

JJ:  Frankly, it is not surprising that there are so few Mexicans among the top scorers. Clubs tend to shop internationally for strikers almost exclusively.  But back to Chivas; the club has a small pool to pick from, and then also has to pay a premium for talent as well because of their personnel policies. The answer for Chivas, at a minimum, is to heavily invest in their youth system. But with Jorge Vergara changing coaches every time he feels a breeze cool his rosy cheeks, he continually sabotages his most sustainable method of talent acquisition.

A lot of this foreign influence also has to do with promoters (which I quite haven’t figured out how different they are from agents) who have embedded themselves in certain teams. They will make more money, no doubt. The bright spot, though, is Pachuca. Their youth system has become Mexico’s most productive. They won the U17 and the U20 Champs this season and are not afraid to give young players chances. There should be more like them, but with this new rule, the incentive is not to make the investment in the future. It is a shame, there are a lot of talented youngsters with nowhere to go.

 

JA:  Pachuca are indeed a good example that it is possible to nurture talent and have foreigners. In addition to their youth success, Tuzos finished the season 2nd in the table. But this is the exception, not the rule.  With the wheels are already in motion for most clubs to easily build up squads with foreign born players, Liga MX will soon mirror the English Premier League with matches having 1-3 nationals on the field.

 

JJ:  Exactly. I guess that is the existential question FMF needs to ask itself. “Do we sacrifice our own identity to make a move that we think will make our league better? Do we improve Liga MX at the expense of the Mexican player?”

England has a top flight, entertaining league that is popular all over the world. England’s national team has made 2 semifinals in international tournaments over the past 50 years. One would think that England would look to the Continent for inspiration, but why would the foreign owners of EPL teams care if the 3 Lions did well at a World Cup? What is their motivation?  On the other hand, Germany was humiliated in 2004 by crashing out of the group stage of the Eurocopa. They committed to overhaul their entire youth and development structure to limit the chances of a repeat performance. I say, so far so good. Italy did the same after their 2010 fracaso. It is true that the Italian league has suffered and may not be as strong as others in Europe, but they have also committed to strengthening the player pool. We will probably start seeing if they were successful or not soon.

One thing none of these countries have, though, is a rule that forces them to play locals like the new FMF rule. But they are also in the EU, so I guess it is moot. Nevertheless, Mexican players may need to start looking elsewhere to make a living.

 

JA:  On that note Major League Soccer must be licking their chops with all the possibilities that will open to them. They have always gone after Mexican talent given the large Mexican community in the U.S and for the most part have been unsuccessful. Either the aging star is burned out or the younger player never adapts. We’ve seen a shift in this however with Giovani Dos Santos joining the league in his prime. We’ve also seen relative unknown youngsters rise up to get called into the national team or return to Mexico with Erik ‘Cubo’ Torres and Carlos Salcedo being prime examples.

So, it is a very good possibility that we will see more and more young Mexican talent flourishing in MLS, being capped for youth national team, and then either going abroad or returning to Mexico.

 

JJ:  They should be licking their chops, and, coincidentally, MLS commissioner, Don Garber, spoke to the Mexican press about his desire to bring in more Mexican talent into the league. It makes nothing but sense. The demographics of the MLS fan base indicate as much. Not to mention the fact that MLS hopes to expand to 28 teams. 28 teams!  There are a lot of roster spots available to fill the 8 new franchises. I am not so sure the NCAA system can fill it all. The irony of a situation where MLS catches up competitively to Liga MX because of Mexican players would be at worst… delicious.

 

JA:  John, are you telling me that Liga MX is about to turn into a bargain bin of young talent for MLS and some of the Euro leagues?  And can such a move be a blessing in disguise provided many players go abroad and succeed?

 

JJ:  I certainly can envision a future where Mexican players can establish a beachhead in MLS. Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Paraguayans have done the same in Mexico for decades.  Mainly because Liga MX has always been an importer’s league. If you look at the historical superstars of most teams, a good chunk of them were foreign born players. There is nothing wrong with that. But with the new rule in place, I suppose Liga MX is trying to become more of a global brand. It would help immensely if Gignac has the Euro of his life.

But it will still be hard for Mexican players to make the jump to Europe from either MLS or Liga MX.  They are still, even today, unproven in the European market. Yes, there are a few players who are making a name for themselves. Compare a dozen or so Mexicans to hundreds of Brazilians, Argentines, even Uruguayans.

 

JA:  That’s the Tricolor fallacy right there; believing that having a dozen players in Europe is enough to truly compete against the top national teams. It is not.  Not by a longshot.  The one thing all of those countries have in common is a very strong and competitive domestic league where their players can flourish. Looking at the last 3 World Cup champions (Germany, Spain, Italy) they all had squads with a core group of players that play for the same home club. It is something we have talked about in the Dos a Zero podcast.

 

JJ:  Those three national teams benefited from having a strong base from 1 or 2 clubs. With the new regulations in place in Liga MX, it would take a very special group of players to even take the field, much less translate that on a national team level. Maybe Chivas will be the answer one day…

 

JA:  Hopefully someday soon.

 

JJ:  Well, don’t get your hopes up.  Haha!  It has been fun, Joely.  We’ll do this again next week.

 

JA:  Hasta la proxima

 

Be sure to tune in to the dos a zero futbol podcast special Liguilla editions.  Next one will be Sunday at the Conclusion of the Pachuca-Santos match

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