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.

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.

Tigres Offense vs Pumas Defense Stats preview

Pumas vs TigresSo Martin Del Palacio has been putting up some great Youtube videos analyzing the statistics side of these Liguilla games. You can find his videos here!

I wanted to review a quick video he covered in text format for you to read. This is what he gathered. Props and credit to Martin:

Pumas Defense:

Pikolin the best goalkeeper in LigaMX?

Stats during Apertura 2015 for Pikolin Palacios (Pumas goalkeeper):

  • Most shots received at 126
  • Blocked 83 of those shots. (Best in League of all keepers)
  • 20 goals received. (2nd Best in League)

Pumas gave up 1 goal for every 15.5 shots on goal.

Tigres Offense:

Stats during Apertura 2015 for Andre Pierre Gignac (Tigres goalscorer):

  • 48 shots on goal. (league leader)
  • 1 goal for every 4.36 shots. (Last place amongst top 10 goal scorers)

As a reference lets look at Ismael Sosa’s numbers:

  • 22 shots on goal.
  • 1 goal for every 2.2 shots.

 

Offense as a team:

Tigres:

  • 1 goal for every 10 shots

Pumas:

  • 1 goal for every 5.8 shots

 

So based on these stats, Pumas takes advantage of their opportunities. Tigres creates and has more opportunities, but has a lower percentage of effectiveness. Additionally Pikolin and the Pumas defense has been solid in keeping the ball out of the net. This was displayed in the 1st leg of the America semifinal game, where America dominated but was not able to score on the Pumas defense, even though they had the majority of possession.

It should be an interesting game tonight.

Much thanks to Martin, who you can find on twitter @martindelp