2017 Clausura Liguilla Quarterfinal recap

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Greetings Cantina Patrons, we hope you have been enjoying the 2017 Liga MX Clausura playoffs as much as we have. Despite there being no surprises in the first round match-up results we can confirm that our podcast predictions were spot on. So, grab a pint of something frosty, pull up a chair and join us for this weeks round up.

I Feel Your Pain Bro

As expected the Rojinegros of Atlas once again crashed from the playoffs to the dismay of their hopefull fans. We were going to say without pain nor glory but judging by some of their fans reactions there clearly was much pain. The ‘Rojinegros’ last league Campionship was in the 1950-1951 season – 66 years ago. While Atlas were not favorites for the league title a victory over Chivas was very much in he cards. Atlas had won the first leg, at home at Jalisco stadium, by one goal. Perhaps, it wasn’t much of a difference but Chivas had now strubg together a five match winless streak having only scored once and off a penalty kick. Needles to say the Goats dominated the second-leg and leveled the series 1-1 to advance by having finished the season in better standing. “Ah you think failure plagues you? said the Atlista to the Cruz Azul fan. “You merely adopted the Cruzazuleada. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

Morelia’s fairytale comes to an End

Morelia had a thrilling finish to the regular season where they not only avoided relegation but managed to sneak into the league playoffs. Their first-round match-up against Xolos of Tijuana looked promising with the Monarchs edging out a one-nil win at home at Morelos stadium. However, just as it appeared that the curse of the league leaders was going to be set in motion Xolos made the most of the Caliente Stadium home advantage to win by two goals and advance to the semifinal.Perhaps the curse is not over yet as Tijuana must not face the mighty Tigres. “They are a great rival, champions of Mexico and have everything to repeat but we are concentrated on turding the tide in our favor,” said Miguel ‘Piojo’ Herrera after the match.

Chorizo Power loses it’s Spice

It might not seem like it, as there had been little noise, but the Diablos Rojos of Toluca are celebrating their centenial and expect to make the final to celebrate with a Championship win. The Diablos arrived to the playoffs on a four match winless streak only to stun Santos, at the Corona stadium, with a resounding 4-1 victory! All seemed well for the ‘Choriceros’ but on the return their leg they were made to suffer in their own devil’s cauldron of the Bombonera stadium. Santos very close of tying the series, winning 3-1, and putting the fear of God into the devils. “It seems that at home we are scared to execure our gameplay. I say it seems like it because I do not think it is fear, it is anxiety of wanting to do everything right and become unbeatable,’ Toluca boss Hernan Cristante told reporters after the match. Toluca’s next opponent will be another club that is having a difficlt time of winning at home: Chivas!

Savage Takedown!

There is nothing worse than losing to your cross town rivals like losing to them in lopsided fashion during the league playoffs. The Rayados Monterrey were no match for an on-fire Andre-Pierre Gignac and his Tigres who won the series with a humiliating 6-1 fashion: losing 4-1 at the Volcano followed by a 2-0 defeat at home. “This is the worst pain I have felt since being here, it is a difficult blow, I am beaten, very sad for what happened in this series. I want to thank the fans who supported us until the final minute…I am responsible for this defeat. Today I am beaten, truth be told I am hurt and sad because we could not achieved what we wanted,” lamented Antonio ‘Turco’ Mohamed during post match press conference.

Savage beatdown!


Following up on the Savage Takedown in Monterrey, there were also scenes of violence. For the second time(1st being in Veracruz) this season in opposing team’s stadiums, Tigres fans get fists flying at their faces and it wasn’t a fair fight. I read in one article, 50 fans taking turns beating a couple of Tigres fans. Just brutal. Why did this happen? During the return leg game in Rayado dominated BBVA stadium, when Tigres was obviously going to win the series, announcers commented that Nahuel Guzman was making fun of Edwin Cardona, by inflating his cheeks, calling him gordo/fat! The gloating may have gotten out of control on the field and spread to the fans, who had to be upset with their team’s result in the first place. The gloating was just adding fuel to the fire. These are the times where you need to wear the opposing team’s jersey underneath your team’s colors, just in case you are fleeing for your life.

Mole Tour Roster

NEW YORK (Tuesday, May 16, 2017) – The Mexican National Team held a press conference today to announce its roster ahead of upcoming matches against Croatia at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, on May 27, presented by Nissan, and against Ireland at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on June 1.

MEXICO NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER:

Goalkeepers: Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Granada), Alfredo Talavera** (Toluca)

Defenders: Oswaldo Alanís** (Guadalajara), Néstor Araujo (Santos Laguna), Raúl López (Pachuca), Rafael Márquez (Atlas), Héctor Moreno (PSV Eindhoven), Diego Reyes (Espanyol), Luis Reyes (Atlas), Carlos Salcedo*** (Fiorentina)

Midfielders: Jonathan Dos Santos (Villarreal), Jesús Dueñas** (Tigres), Andrés Guardado (PSV Eindhoven), Erick Gutiérrez (Pachuca), Elías Hernández (León), Jorge Hernández (Pachuca), Héctor Herrera (Porto FC), Miguel Layún (Porto FC), Jesús Molina (Monterrey), Orbelín Pineda** (Guadalajara)

Forwards: Javier Aquino** (Tigres), Jesús Manuel Corona (Porto FC), Jurgen Damm** (Tigres), Marco Fabián*** (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jesús Gallardo (Pumas), Javier Hernández (Bayer Leverkusen), Raúl Jiménez** (Benfica), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca), Oribe Peralta (América), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)

**Pending approval from his club
***Only available for New York game

Mexico vs Chile COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO: 0-7

The title says it all, Mexico lost 7-0 to Chile’s national team in Copa America Centenario’s final quarterfinal match up, and it is single handedly the worst loss for the Mexican National Team in all its history within Copa America participations. Mexico lost 7-0 in front of 70,547 TRI fans, who congregated at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. The Mexican fans began to leave the stadium early as soon as Mexico had allowed 4 goals in the 52nd minute.

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The goals kept on coming. Like a bad dream that you are unable to wake up from. Mexico could barely muster 40% possession in the entire 90 minutes. Mexico had only 1 shot on goal in 90 minutes, also a meager 75% passing completion rate. The Mexican midfield was ran off the field.

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Juan Carlos Osorio felt Mexico was still in the game, after all, Mexico was down 0-2 at halftime. He made 2 substitutions, took out Duenas and Chuky Lozano and debuted Gullit Pena and brought on Raul Jimenez. These changes had an immediate impact, by Mexico allowing 3 goals at the beginning of the 2nd half and be down 5-0. Clearly Mexico was done for, so Osorio took out an attacker, Tecatito Corona for a defender, Diego Reyes. That did not help, and Chile went on to score 2 more goals and the humiliation had come full circle for the Mexican National Team.

 

At this point, what does one do, in the same shoes as Juan Carlos Osorio. Coming from the hottest winning streak in Mexican history, to crashing 7-0 to the 5th ranked team in the world, Chile? You go on a apology tour of course. Most all the players, including Chicharito, who has been avoiding the press and mix zones in previous Copa America Centenario Matches, was the first to come out of the locker room and apologize to the fans via the press. Then one after another, national team member came and said sorry. They gave us their reasons, they said they backed the coach and that they trust him completely. They all sang the same song and dance.

 

Santiago Banos who is the sporting director for the Mexican National Team also came out, and declared that coming from a record winning streak, to this loss of this magnitude, it can be considered an accident of Futbol. Almost hinting at this will never happen again. He also stated that he backs Juan Carlos Osorio, and that there is no plan B to replace Osorio.

 

Maybe Mexico needed this painful defeat. This generation has been dubbed, the most talented in our storied history of this National team. Maybe we need to fall, to taste rock bottom. Another door closed for the Mexican National team. Let us ride into the sunset, until a new opportunity arrives for Mexico to rise once again, and other doors open in 2017 and 2018.

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Will we see Vancouver Again? Let’s Hope so

vancouver skyline

Despite losing 3-0 to Mexico at BC Place Friday night, Canada still sits in 2nd place in Concacaf Group A, which would be enough for Canada to make the final Hex.  If they manage to hang on, and it is a big if, then the City of Glass will hopefully be in the rotation of venues.

Please, please let it be in the rotation of venues.

I am not going to lie.  The big part of the allure of covering this game was going to Vancouver. Oh, and the game as well – there was that too.

It all seemed to come together:  Vancouver’s proximity to Seattle.  The ridiculously small amount of points to fly from Austin to Seattle.  The fact that it was a nonstop flight.  My TV schedule was clear.  So off I went.

The flight is long, and since I was not on the airline where I enjoy premium status, it was not particularly comfortable – a 4 hour flight will do that to you.  That part of the world is so lush and beautiful, and with good reason.  My 150 mile drive up to Canada provided my with no less than 8 bouts of rainfall.  Makes sense why the call it Raincouver.

BC Place was expecting a big crowd, and it turned out to be the biggest crowd ever to watch a men’s game there (the WWC Final was also played at BC place).  IMG_3048What I did not know, though, is that Vancouver is home to about 12,000 Mexicans. I ran into a few of them on the train ride down to BC Place.  I wasn’t entirely sure if they were rooting for Mexico, so I had to ask.

They were.  While I was enjoying my mushroom ravioli dinner in the Media Tribune, a Canadian journalist was telling me that Vancouver is an event driven city.  The locals have their hockey and their BC Lions, and Whitecaps, but nothing draws more than the one-offs, he told me.

Once the stadium was filled, the split was about 70/30 in favor of Canada.  It was a great crowd, and the Press Box I was in was right next to the Voyageurs supporters section.  They were great the whole night, waving Canadian flags as well as the flags of the Canadian Provinces.  ESPN’s Tom Marshall and Mexican Soccer Show’s Wiso Vazquez were able to identify more than I could.

In the end though, Mexico’s quality was too much for the Canadians to handle.  The last 20 minutes saw Mexico play more keep away then attacking the Canadian goal.  Canada may not have the horses to compete with Mexico, but they have a really good chance to make their first hex in 20 years if they can get past both El Salvador and Honduras.  They get the former at home and the latter on the road.  Just don’t ask any Canadian about the last time they went to Honduras.

But if Mexico gets to go back to Vancouver in 2017 for the Hex, I am sure the Canadian won’t mind talking about that game as much anymore.

 

FC Dallas Takes Down Impact

Last season FC Dallas came within a game of the MLS Cup relying on youngsters and locally cultivated talent.  Youngsters will have times when they slip up, as they did last week in the Tejano Derby vs. Houston, a 5-0 pasting by the Dynamo.  Determined not to let that happen again, coach Oscar Pareja instructed his players to play within themselves, use they had practiced, and above all, forget what happened last week in the Bayou City.

It took some doing, but FC Dallas finally broke through in the second half with a placement over power free kick by Mauro Diaz in the 80th minute.  His fellow Argentine Maxi Urruti iced the game with a solid effort of his own – a screamer that found the top corner of the net 7 minutes later.  The score would stay at 2-0, sending the faithful home happy after having to deal with some unseasonably chilly weather in North Texas.

The result should not have been much of a surprise, considering FC Dallas had the Lion’s share of possession.  Were it not for a few spurts at the open of each half by Montreal, the dominion of the round ball would have been Dallas’ and Dallas’ alone.

There was a reason for that.  After studying film, Oscar Pareja instructed his players to bracket Impact playmaker, Ignacio Piatti and limit his off the ball movement.  Piatti started strong, but his influence on the game diminished rapidly, and by the middle of the second half, he had all but disappeared.  With it, much of Montreal’s possession.  Impact did find some fresh wind when their Ivorian superstar, Didier Drogba, made his 2016 debut.  In fact it seemed that the former Chelsea icon inspired both teams to pick up the pace.  FC Dallas seemed to be in a hurry to score a goal before Drogba, and Montreal wanted to make that happen.

Despite his legend status, though, the stars of the the show tonight were the FC Dallas midfielders.  The holding midfielders Carlos Gruezo and Victor Ulloa were excellent in repossessing the offense, while Fabian Castillo, Michael Barrios and Mauro Diaz all took turns with daring and darting runs into the danger area.  Their speed and ball control gave Montreal fits, they just could not complete the play with the ball in the back of the net.  Usually that spells trouble – a player like Piatti, and Drogba, of course, can make teams pay for their offensive shortcomings.

But nothing it was unnecessary foul just at the top of the box gave Diaz the chance to showoff his free kick skills.  His shot badly fooled Montreal keeper Evan Bush, and gave the 14,502 fans the moment they had hoped would happen all night.  With Montreal opeining up to try and find the answer to equalize, it was FC Dallas who put an end to things a few minutes later with Urruti getting his 2nd goal of the season.

The Atmosphere at Toyota Park is lively, but a little labored.  There are drums, a small group of ultras, and the same chants we hear everywhere – but the local flavor is what stands out the most.  It was good to hear the crowd sing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and a trumpet player belted out the theme to the “Dallas” TV show in the 2nd half. In case I had forgotten where I was.

Dallas has a good young team and as solid a midfield as one will see in MLS. If they can somehow limit the inconsistencies that are a product of youth, they will have a part to play in determining the Western Conference champions.

 

Listen to the dos a zero podcast every Wednesday at 9:00PM CDT.

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