Los “4 Grandes” All Win… Really

With a name like the “4 Grandes”, one would think that news of them winning should not be something to write about.  Well, they did win.  And they all won on the same weekend.  Again, you ask “what’s the big deal?  These are the premiere teams, the flagship clubs, the most powerful and popular clubs in Liga MX.  They are used to winning and winning championships.  So WTF, John?”

Well, let me tell you.

Yes, the big 4 won this past weekend.  America dispatched Leon at the Azteca 2-1

 

while Guadalajara surprised league leaders Monterrey in the tamalera 3-1.  A guy by the name of “la chofis” scored a riveting brace.

Cruz Azul made Atlas look so bad, favorite son Rafael Marquez begged forgiveness from the largest RednBlack supporters group, Barra 51 (named after the last year they won a league title).

After giving up an early goal, Pumas put together a 4 goal spurt to down Monarcas.

 

causing a butterfly to cry in a post-game TV interview.

The big deal is not that they won.  It is that they all had wins in the same matchday.  Something that had not happened in 4 years.  4 years.   Not very big 4-like.  We have to go back to Matchday 9 of the 2012 Clausura to see the last time this happened.

In those 4 years, Club America has certainly had the best run.  A couple of League titles and a CONCACAF trophy have restored order (if you ask any Americanista) to the world.  Cruz Azul and Pumas each have lost a final in that time frame, while Chivas has been in the wilderness, losing games and going through coaches and front office types like a tourist who eat too much street food goes through a roll of toilet paper.

 

The current table has them in the following positions:

  • 3. America       21 pts      +7
  • 5. Cruz Azul     18 pts      +7
  • 9. Pumas         15 pts      +2
  • 12. Chivas       12 pts        0

The 8th place team, Tijuana has 16 pts, so it is conceivable that with 6 dates left, all four sides could make the post-season.  When was the last time that happened? The 2011 Clausura, which coincidentally was won by Pumas – another opportunity to make the Butterflies cry…

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Clásico Nacional Wins the Ratings Battle

darwinIn a time when cable channels are losing subscribers to all manner of other content providers, there is one recently launched channel that is squashing the current narrative and proving to be a major success story:  Univision Deportes Network.

Launched earlier in the decade, the channel took its time to take root, as one would expect.  But carriage agreements with major carriers has been key.  Additional distribution for Univision Deportes Network has been one of the main reasons Univision has reported quarterly profits over the past year, so it is easy to see why network programmers have been steadily moving their sports properties off the over the air channels, Univision and UniMas.

The ratings for the Club America win over their arch rival Guadalajara have been announced.  And the broadcast took all other soccer games to the woodshed

For those who are math disabled, the Cremas-Cabras Clásico has 6 times the audience of the nationally broadcast MLS games, and nearly 4 times the audience of one of the US’ most popular sides, Manchester United, and their draw with the hammers in the FA Cup.

The ratings may have been even higher were it not for a carriage dispute between AT&T and Univision.  Those folks on U-Verse did not get to see America’s 2-0 win at all.

It would have been unspeakable just a few years ago to air the biggest, most important match of the Liga MX calendar on anything other than Univision, but the runaway success of UDN has changed the paradigm.  The momentum will carry through, at least through the summer as Copa America will also air on the Univision family of networks.

Despite the great news, it is not all flowers and sunshine for Univision, However. Telemundo outbid Univision for the rights to the World Cup starting in 2018.  Telemundo will have very large shoes to fill.  UDN’s coverage of Brazil14 was easily the most comprehensive (and best) in the history of US televison.

 

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

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Psychoanalysis of the Club America vs Chivas Super Clasico

What a fun game for an indifferent Pumas fan. So let’s begin.

Paul Aguilar StompThe game starts out very well for Chivas. The showed heart and hustle as an obvious underdog, battling relegation. It is a sign of a good attitude in the locker room to motivate a team that has been struggling, to step it up against their greatest rival. Who knows if it was Almeyda or Captian Omar Bravo who motivated them, but they came out with energy and on the attack. Even amidst negativity in the media, gossip about Gullit drinking, and relegation. In times like this, a team can come out half hearted or beaten before the game begins, or battle back as an underdog. Chivas came out as the latter.

Chivas attacking paid off and Conejo Brizuela got a goal in the 23rd minute, however it was called off. There was no dispute that he was offsides and that the goal should not have counted. The problem is with the side line ref, in that he hesitated to make the call and had to meet with the head ref to talk and call back the goal after the fact. This can play an issue in the mind of the Chivas players. The goal was scored, a whistle was not blown and Brizuela celebrated with his teammates as he pointed to the heavens. It is a glorious moment to have scored against your arch enemy. Then imagine how Brizuela and Chivas feel after it is ripped away from them. It has to be saddening and depressing. Again Chivas would have to dig deep and self motivate their mind and body to continue playing. This seemed to be the case, but you could tell there was a drop in play. America gained their composure and was able to get more possession and opportunities for attack.

We now know America scored 2 great goals, to take a commanding lead. This again can put a psychological burden on a down and out Chivas team. They still, however, battled and did not give up. They were running on pure passion.

So let’s talk passion. Passion is what brings fans to the stadium. Passion and love for their teams is what makes people yell, cheer and be loyal even through hard times. The deep desire to win is what motivates Chivas or America players to run hard after a ball. And Yes, sadly it can motivate fans to throw obscenities and even objects at the opposing team. It is no surprise to see this happen. Yes it is ugly, but these fans have passion. It may not be properly focused but it is passion. It is this same passion that would make Santos fans insult the Mexican NT hero Giovanni Dos Santos. Even a Chivas fan who threw a cup of beer at CONCACAF Cup hero Paul Aguilar and hit him in the back.

This passion even exists for players to do whatever it takes to win or get an advantage. Paul Aguilar has passion in the instances where he gets stomped on in the corner and proceeds to flop around like Pikolin did in last year’s Liguilla. His goal was fulfilled as the Chivas player got red carded and America took the advantage. He did the same later, when the cup of beer hit his back and he rolled around some more. He want’s to win and this is the type of things that sometimes needs to be done. Is it hated, yes, but it will continue to happen. Just like beers will continue to fly, so lets get over it.

Finally, to touch on a word that is commonly used in spanish, Ardido. This means rustled, upset, salty or many other adjectives that could be used to describe Omar Bravo near the end of the game. You could tell he was frustrated and in one instance he got hacked, fell to the ground and the America player got sent off. He then proceeds to run away and heads straight to Sambueza and hits him chest to chest. This was of course purposefully done as he was heated in the moment. Luckily he did not get carded himself, because he was carrying a yellow previously. This “rustle” on the part of Omar Bravo could have cost him the concentration and cool head he needed in later opportunities he had to score, but failed.

So the mind, emotions can play a huge part in Futbol. This type of passion, energy and competitiveness is what makes this Clasico the best in Mexico. Yes even greater than the Clasico Regio, which may have better teams that are higher on the table, the Clasico Nacional has more on the line, for fans and players.

Queretaro beats DC United, Aguilas tie Sounders.

Queretaro, playing at home defeated DC United 2-0 with goals from Candelo and Benitez. In a game that wasn’t as exciting as one would hope, it ended with a bang. Queretaro fans had reason to celebrate as the two goals came toward the end at the 70th and 83rd minute.

The America – Seattle game was a bit more exciting. It took place in Seattle’s Century Link field before what i believe was 40,000 fans approximately. Seattle has been a team with the loudest and most active Support groups in MLS. Although some might call them corny, you could hear their chants on the Univision broadcast toward the end of the game. The scoreline went back and forth and ended up in a 2-2 tie. Seattle demonstrated a weak back line that got beat on multiple occasions. On the opposite side, Seattle exposed America on set pieces, both occasions capitalized by Clint Dempsey.

It’s not over yet, return legs take place in March and will finalize the series winner and who will advance to the next round.

CONCACAF Champions League Battles begin today

Santos's Hercules Gomez (L) and Darwin Quintero (R) celebratestheir first goal against Seattle Sounder during their CONCACAF Champions League first leg semi-final match in Torreón, Coahuila state on April 9, 2013. AFP PHOTO/VÍCTOR STRAFFON (Photo credit should read VICTOR STRAFFON/AFP/Getty Images)Heated competition between MLS and LigaMX teams is upon us. USA vs Mexico. The alleged retirement league vs a Mexican league riddled with mediocre South Americans. Most likely insults will be hurled on the field during this battle of pride. MLS has always fared poorly compared to their Mexican counterparts. Could this year be different?

 

Mexican-American, Hercules Gomez thinks that MLS can do it. Herc, of course, played in Mexico and beat MLS teams in this very tournament. He even got into heated smak talk and rough play with his American opponents. Now he is in MLS himself, although not in this years tournament. He is quoted as saying, “I hope they(MLS) smash them all” on the mlssoccer.com website. The MLS teams will certainly get their chance.

America vs Seattle Sounders

The Aguilas have been playing decent in LigaMX, but not necessarily lighting it up. They are still a very talented team and could end up causing big problems for Seattle. They may be without Dario Benedetto, one of their offensive players, as well as their starting goalkeeper, Moises Muñoz.

Seattle will have the services on new superstar Jordan Morris, who didn’t believe the “yo estoy en Europa y tu no” hype and signed with the MLS team. Dempsey is another player who could be a difference maker.

Queretaro vs DC United

Queretaro hasn’t been great of late. Look out for their goalkeeper, Tiago Volpi, who has been playing especially bad. On the bright side they do have newcomer, Carlos Fierro, who has been scoring goals since coming from Chivas. Emmanuel Vill will also have to step up.

DC United has always been a CCL contender. They have challenged many Mexican teams in the past, including Pumas and have even won the tournament once before in 1998.

Excuses

The reasoning for the results, be it bad or good, in this tournament is always interesting. For MLS, they are still in preseason form. Herc mentioned that injuries play a part in past MLS failures. Mexican altitude as well has been stated.

For LigaMX teams, Soccer is their sport, the US/MLS has baseball, pointy ball and basketball. There is no reason they should lose to MLS teams. LigaMX teams also have local Clausura tournament to think about. Do they have the roster to double up tournaments? Another reason LigaMX has the upper hand on MLS was mentioned in the same article by Hercules Gomez. LigaMX teams have more depth and talent. Herc says players 1-10 on MLS teams can play against any team in the world, but after that the talent level drops.

Tune in tonight for the start of some potentially entertaining and fiery Soccer.

 

Ep. 15: Los Cachirules podcast – We talk America’s failure, Tigres win and LigaMX transfers.

Another Wednesday night, another show of Los Cachirules podcast. We discussed the failure of America during the Club World Cup. Atleast they got 5th place. We also discussed the Tigres win, LigaMX transfers and even who we wanted to see descend.

Listen in…

Ep. 13: Los Cachirules podcast – More Liguilla Drama as America falls.

Los Cachirules podcastThe Liguilla final is set and a certain Americanista on the Cachirules podcast is salty like no other. In this latest episode of Los Cachirules, we discussed the Pumas lack of beautiful game play and possession in the 2nd leg of their Semifinal vs America. Pumas had a bad game. They had 2 goals scored on them fairly early. America again found themselves in problems as Sambueza stomped on a Pumas player to then get deservedly sent off.

The panel in its majority viewed the game to be evenly refereed, with bad calls going both ways. It was a tough job for a Ref in such a heated rivalry. The big drama was the clash between Javier Guemez and Javier Cortez. Both players went hard for a ball, with Guemez going in faster and harder. Cortez took ended up with studs up and hitting Guemez in the shin. This caused a fracture and Guemez to be out and will miss Club World Cup. Indeed an unfortunate injury, but the intention of of Cortez or entry to recover the ball did not seem malicious.

Second point of drama in the game is the alleged racist remarks from Dario Veron to Darwin Quintero. This is not the first time this has allegedly taken place. Quintero had an issue with another player while at Santos. First of all let me say, racism or racist remarks have no excuse to be used in my opinion. With that said, in the podcast we discussed the idea of “what goes on in the field, stays in the field”. Wether or not this is a legit statement we discussed the fact that Quintero was called out in the past for being a “chismoso” but no call out of Pelaez or Moises Munoz for the same “chisme”.

There were bad things all around in this series:

  1. Bad Pumas play on the field.
  2. Unfortunate Guemez injury.
  3. Racist gestures in the headlines in Mexican soccer.

We now have a LigaMX final with Tigres Vs. Pumas. Hopefully we can see some good soccer to end the season and year.

We will be having another show on Thursday to talk the first leg of the final. Tune in!

Ep. 12: Los Cachirules podcast – We talk Pumas vs America and more

Dos a Zero podcast

A Dos a Zero podcast

This was an exciting episode, because we decided to start it right after the Pumas vs America game and while the Tigres vs Toluca game was going on.

You all know how the Pumas vs America game went, so you can imagine certain panelist’s jimmies were most definitely rustled. He had his say and may have spurred a blog post from fellow panelist which you can read here.

My take is, the ref made a mistake by calling the early Pumas goal off. Britos was not offsides and Veron converging in, did not interfere with Moises and was not involved in the play. The call may have been that Britos was offside, and in that case it was wrong. The call could have also been that Veron was interferred, but he was not between Moises and the ball. The ball went so quickly past Moises and Veron that none of them could have done anything to change its trajectory. Clearly a bad call.

No matter, you have to fight through bad calls. It was expected for America to be on attack and to have posession. This an elimination tournament and not a regular season game like had been previously played a couple weeks earlier. It was intense. Memories of Goltz and other Americanistas proving to be hot heads came back. It was a heated and physical game. One stat is that America is the team with the most bookings(red/yellow cards). No change here.

Another stat, in the entire game America had 1 shot on frame. The UNAM defense was strong. I recall seeing cross after cross get headed by a Universitario. First touch and defensive posture was strong with UNAM. Some may say that America possessed and attacked, but didn’t put Pikolin in real danger.

Then came the Red cards. As a result open space for the speedsters, Fidel, Sosa and Britos. Even Lalo Herrera came up big with a very nice Cabezazo!

 

Anyways, we also talked the Neymar showboating issue we have been arguing about. The Real Pundits that claim they would have done the same as Isco and fouled Neymar for acting a fool. I’ll let you have a listen for our differing takes.

We also had some play by play on the Tigres vs Toluca game. All in all a great night for Futbol and good discussion.

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