Colombia vs USA: 3rd Place Match, Press Conference with Jose Pekerman and Game Notes

Copa America Centenario is coming to a close, with the second to last match to be played on June 25th of 2016 in University of Phoenix Stadium between Colombia and the United States National Team for the consolation prize of 3rd place. Both teams arrived to this match when they lost their respective semifinal matches, Colombia lost to the reigning Copa America 2015 champions Chile 2-0, and the USA disgraced CONCACAF by being demolished by star studded Argentina 4-0.

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Jose Pekerman made himself available to the media on June  24th at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in a press conference and answered questions from local media and south american channels. He spoke about taking this match serious and wished that they had made it to the final in New Jersey.

Soccer Chronicle was able to ask a question to Jose Pekerman in regards to the quality brought on by CONCACAF. He spoke well of the US national team and Mexico’s performances in the world cup 2014 in Brasil. He says that certain results can distort the actual quality of the teams since the teams are so equal in quality in this tournament. Interestingly enough, El Profe Pekerman omitted talking about Costa Rica, whom Colombia lost to 2-3 in the last group stage match of Group A as recently as June 11th in 2016.

El Profe retired to the training grounds, to prepare for his last Match of this prestigious tournament, and below are a few game notes:

Colombia leads the series versus the USA with 11 wins, 4 ties and 3 losses.

Colombia has a 3 game winning streak in all Copa America tournaments vs the USA

Last match up result, Colombia 2-0 USA

Best performance for TEAM USA was in 1995 when they reached 4th place by losing 1-4 vs Colombia.

Clint Dempsey reached his 52nd goal for the United States, 5 away from tying Landon Donovan as all-time top scorer for the National Team.

Below is a small video of Captain of the Colombian National team James Rodriguez in practice, a day prior to the 3rd place match in University of Phoenix Stadium.

Tomorrow, the Tournament will come to a close, when Argentina faces Chile for the Copa America Centenario final. Both teams come firing at full speed ahead.

The opposite of “coddling” the Mexican National team.

7upWe often hear of parents coddling their kids, or giving kids participation ribbons when they finish in last place in whatever competitive event they are in. In the US, in youth soccer we here about orange slices at half time, caprisuns after the game along with a trip to the ice cream shop as a reward for trying your best. We would never want to criticize little jonny and hurt his little feelings. We also have programs on HBO(trophy kids) about how some parents pressure their kids in sports and then talk about how bad that is.

Now lets shift to grown ups. Do we treat grown up men and women like this? Lets forget about a Jurgen Klinsman US team who had zero shots vs the Argentines and not getting flamed, but instead he is seen laughing at the post game press conference. Lets talk about the opposite of coddling, caprisuns and participation ribbons. In the Mexico game vs Chile where they put no heart or “ganas” and lost 7-0, the following occurred. The Mexico fans whistled at the Mexican players. They yelled “ole” while Chile was passing and playing “monkey in the middle” with the Mexican players. They even yelled “puto” to Memo Ochoa instead of the opposing team.

Some would say this is down right rude and classless. That the fanbase should support their team “en las buenas y en las malas”. Should the Mexican players get a trip to Pizza Hut for trying their hardest? Wait! They didn’t try their hardest! They disgraced the team. Grown men are grown men, because they can handle criticism and concentrate on the task at hand. They are grown men and should concentrate on fixing their weaknesses despite adversity or the opinions of others. The turning of the Mexican fanbase in the Stadium should motivate the Mexican National team to work harder and ensure nothing like this happens again. It should drive them to work hard and strive to be better. It should provide a motivation for them to shut up the haters. We only hear about weak will/minded individuals go get their feelings hurt then take their ball and go home.

This Mexican fanbase should not be berated for turning on the team, or for yelling “ole”, “puto” or whistling. It is just something that happens. Its criticism that should be handled. These same fans, will most likely be back paying top price for tickets to see the Mexican team in the US for the next competition, be it friendly or not. These insults are not necessarily an indication of NOT supporting, “in the buenas y malas”. It’s fans that demand more from their team, and hold them accountable. Nothing wrong with that at all. The players and coach have apologized and hopefully are planning improvement and ways to restore confidence and faith in their fanbase. Not for the fans, but for themselves as players to obtain success for Mexican soccer.

So when we remind or make fun of Mexico for its failures, it’s all fun and games, but it’s also motivation for things to be improved.

We named our show “The Dos a Zero podcast” in jest to have fun in past failures. We had a special “Siete a Zero podcast” after the Chile loss, to cope and have fun even in sadness and failure. So before you write this podcast off as haters or US fans or get defensive, there is context to be understood.

Tune in to our next podcast by following our twitter account: @DosAZeroPodcast

 

 

Ep. 38: Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast – Mexico avoids Argentina! Vamos al Angel!

Dos A ZeroShort on protagonistas, but we podcasted anyways. Talking how Mexico performed vs Venezuela, opinions on Juan Carlos Osorio’s coaching and lineups/rotations, as well as the future for Mexico in this tournament. Mexico has a huge challenge in Chile and this will be the biggest game for JCO as head coach. I feel Chile will not want to lose to a CONCACAF team and will come out fighting.

Now on the topic of avoiding Argentina, yes it’s news, but nothing to overstate. Everyone wants to beat the best, and I would love for Mexico to face Argentina. I just would love for that epic matchup to be in the Final. Selfishly, I am not ready to see Mexico play Arg in quarters and potentially see them bow out slightly early. Argentina is a special type of opponent. One who has eliminated Mexico in a couple of World Cups. It is time for revenge and Copa America Centenario a big stage in which to do it.

Ep. 37: Dos a Zero Futbol Podcast – Copa America is underway!

Mexican vs Uruguayan fans :DCopa America is what we are about right now. Mexico beat Uruguay in its first match and we talk about how salty Uruguay is, as well as Mexico tactics, drama and Rafa maybe not being such an old man. Rafa is being played in a position where they are protecting him and he seems to be doing well. The goal especially helped his cause.

These results have also helped Juan Carlos Osorio’s cause as head coach. Many skeptics are now being slowly persuaded that JCO is doing good and possible great things. Especially after his win vs Uruguay. Some still won’t be convinced unless he wins Copa America. 😀

We also discuss the tournament as a whole and some of the blunders made. Also the rumors that the Gold Cup and Copa America could be combined. South Americans do not like this idea, but the money is what could sway the interest. Complaints that the tourney is catered to Mexico or that Copa America is a CONMEBOL tournament and not CONCACAF could just disappear with the right amount of zeros on a check.

One last topic we covered was the mentality of South American teams having an attitude of superiority against Mexico and CONCACAF teams. So when they lose to Mexico it’s extra painful and hard to accept. This is similar to how Mexico feels when they lose to the USMNT seeing that soccer is not the main sport in the US. Interesting thought that we touch on.

 

Ecuador vs Peru – Copa America Centenario Delivers Great Futbol in CONMEBOL Rivalry

11937 Fans went to witness one of South Americans storied and oldest rivalries in the University of Phoenix Stadium, when Ecuador faced Peru in the second match of Group B of Copa America Centenario. A little history of this rivalry between Ecuador and Peru, it stems from territorial disputes between the aforementioned countries.

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As in familiar fashion, political tensions tend spill to the Futbol world, and sometimes sets up some great Futbol matches with epic proportions, and this match absolutely had everything that a great Futbol rivalry brings

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Ecuador fielded an offensive 4-3-3 which was commanded by a talented offensive trio in the West Ham United forward Enner Valencia, Gremio’s star forward Miller Bolaños and English Premier side Swansea City’s Jefferson Montero. In contrast with the conservative 4-5-1 fielded by Peru who had the lone Flamengo star Paolo Guerrero.

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Even with all the fire power, Ecuador was against the ropes, since Peru scored 2 goals by the 13th minute. Ecuador lost their nerves and focus, and their passing suffered. Once Peru scored their second goal, Peru started to bunker with 10 men in their side of the field. That was a recipe for a scrappy game.

Ecuador started to find itself right towards the end of the first half, and started attacking in numbers. That left them exposed to the counter attack and Peru got close to their 3rd goal, but their saving grace came when Enner Valencia put on his super hero cape and scored in the 39th minute of a great pass by Jefferson Montero. The game then suddenly turned into a furious back and forth attack fest. It was a thrilling end to the 1st half.

The 2nd half, was all Ecuador, they held on possession, they had 5 shots on goal, compared to Peru’s 2 shots on goal. Both coaches made all their 3 substitutions in the second half. Ecuador’s DT Gustavo Quintero went for the jugular when he substituted Ecuadorian defender Juan Carlos Paredes for forward Jaime Ayovi in the 46th minute. The substitution immediately paid off since 2 minutes later, Miller Bolaños scored and tied the game 2-2 at the 48th minute. The few on shot goals for Peru, were all counter attacks or set pieces. The match was dynamic and scrappy, worthy of a south american rivalry. Eventually Gabriel Achiller got a second yellow card and got ejected towards the end of the game.  The match ended with Ecuador with 53% possession vs Peru’s 47% with a 2-2 scoreline. Obviously the rivalry was still not settled for once and for all

The fans for both teams came, and got a great dose of exciting Futbol, right to their feet. This Copa America Centenario, is starting to deliver the fantastic Futbol that it has delivered for 100 years.

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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.

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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

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!!!

Is Copa America Centenario Worth the Trouble?

Late last week, it was made official.  CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation that was the first to organize a national team level competition, will pay homage to its considerable history by commemorating the Copa America Centenario with a tournament… in the USA.

It goes without saying that after all the indictments that the FBI handed out like a gangsta dropping hundies at the titty bar, this tournament was in serious jeopardy of even being played at all.  But in the end, profit always wins, and CONMEBOL and its marketing partners are set to make a pile of cash with their tournament next June.

The Stadiums will be packed, the temporary grass-fields in field-turf stadiums will try and stay alive, and for the weeks that this tournament coincides with Euro 2016, there will be wall to wall footy from 7am to midnight.  Sound great, don’t it?

But how excited will fans really be when slowly, but surely, South American sides will announce that they will be playing with alternate sides, or U23 teams?  Lionel Messi will obviously be a huge draw, but how excited is Barcelona going to be watching his Messiness dig up Texas-size divots on the less than ideal surface at AT&T Stadium?  Not very. And coming off a knee injury, less so.  Chances of playing CAC – less than 50%

And what of his Barça buddy, Neymar?  Well, he has a score to settle this summer. But at the Olympics in Rio.  So, don’t expect to see him either.

How many of Chile’s Copa America heroes will be State side?  What about James and his band of Cafeteros? Remember, they will be in the throes of their insanely long and emotionally draining World Cup qualifying.

Some National teams, like Mexico, will playing a Summer tournament every year this World Cup cycle.  And some players did the same last cycle.

Venue selection will be interesting.  The most logical host city, Miami, the unofficial Capital of South America in the US, will not be available because the Dolphins Stadium will be undergoing a renovation. Too bad.  It would seem like Miami would be be the epicenter of such a tournament.  For it to not even be involved is really unfortunate.  A long list of attractive cities have great stadiums, but will need temporary fields.  Ugh!

But those gate receipts will be so appealing, so the show must go on.

It is a great idea, one that a lot of folks had been advocating for years, but greed has been at the heart of the execution and organization. It is a cynical way to celebrate 100 years of soccer.