Friday, March 14, 2008


Sorry I'm late starting this guys. As usual, the press scrum downstairs ran long. Nice crowd in here now. They're noisy, too.

6 - Not much flow so far, a midfield battle , but just then, Cesar Villaluz breaks out and crosses. Edgar Castillo takes a shot - over the bar.
9 - GOAL! Castillo! Mexico was exerting a bit more control and pressure on Guatemala and got the ball into the box, where it pinged off a Guat defender. Castillo onetimed it into the net. 1-0 Mexico. Whew. I nearly missed that goal.
"They don't need Landin, obviously," Grahame says. "He's the one that's been holding them back?"
Grahame is joking, but Mexico's long scoreless streak from the run of play is finally over.
12 - Actually one reason why I was late to the pressbox is that I stopped in the tunnel, where a glum Will Johnson was standing. "You have to cheer for Mexico now," said Scott French. "Yeah, I guess," responded a clearly crushed Johnson. Mathematically, though, Canada still has a chance, and Will will be back for that last group game.
15 - The crowd is happily pulling for Mexico now. They've got a FK. A half-bicycle kick pops the ball up and into the hands of Ricardo Jerez.
16 - The crowd bays approval as a yellow card is shown to Manuel Leon for taking down Castillo. Weak low FK, though.
18 - A Guatemalan attack gets snuffed out as Memo catches a cross. Normally, when a team is down a goal, they're the aggressors, but Guatemala can't seem to get out of their own half much.
19 - Mexico FK - Castillo takes it, it's too far forward for anyone on his team to reach - Jerez catches it.
24 - Maybe it was the grass. Mexico is playing much better today. Quick, sharp passes, energy all over the field.
26 - Maybe it's the forwards who can't score. Enrique Esqueda receives a pass at the top of the box and slams it past Jerez - it's wide.
28 - Guatemala are struggling tonight. Nervous passes - touch seems off for many. Confidence is so key for young players. When they lose it, it really shows.
31 - Esqueda falls on the line, but ref Walter Quesada isn't buying.
34- Can anyone explain to me why the long-sleeved version of the Mexico jersey (check out Castillo for it) is short in the arms? It makes the players look like they outgrew it and couldn't afford a new one. Weird fashion choice.
36 - Guatemala looks tired and it's not even halftime. Ooh, they get caught on a counter and Castillo cuts back beautifully to get the ball into the box. He's grabbed and Quesada runs over with a yellow card for defender Christian Noriega. "They took down Nery Castillo," Grahame says, complimenting Edgar.
37 - The FK just outside the box comes to nothing, though, right into the wall.
40 - CK Mexico - cleared out. GOAL! Grahame sees the counter building, sees Carlos Villa break out behind the defense. "Nice, this will be a great goal if he can score it." Right on cue, Villa beats Memo with a low shot to the left. Jean Marquez had the great pass, but a backheel flick to him from another Guatemalan player started the whole sequence. 1-1.
45 - Villa again! He nearly sneaks in a goal with a quick turn and shot at the top of the box. Memo dives to parry it out. The corner is cleared.

Halftime - Mexico looked great early on and Guatemala looked overwhelmed, but they hung tough and Mexico couldn't seal the deal with another goal. Guatemala's goal was against the run of play, but it was a beautiful counter, build-up and finish. Well deserved.

46 - Edgar Andrade is in for Efrain Velarde.
48 - Guatemala looks dangerous on the counter. They're more confident now.
49 - FK Guatemala from the side of the box. It's bent wide of goal, though Memo jumps to make sure.
50 - Yikes, Mexico was in the box with the ball - but couldn't get a shot off. The scoring willies have hit this team again.
53 - Wow - Castillo with a FK, Jerez gets beat by a header by Dominguez, but Wilson Lalin clears the ball off the line. Close call for Guatemala. CK gets cleared.
56 - Dominguez wins a duel on the other end to snuff a dangerous Guat attack.
58 - It's too early for Guatemala to bunker with any sense of security. Haiti certainly showed it is possible to score in the second half.
61- Avila squares for Lopez, who should have done better with his shot. Memo snuffs it. Mexico attack the other way. It's end to end. This game is exciting and flows well.
65 - Esqueda with a shot in the box. He was ahead of the defense, but they cut off part of his shooting angle, so it was a pretty tough shot. He missed high.
66- Mexico is threatening again. The momentum is building and a goal looks like it's going to fall, in Mexico's favor unless Guatemala can pull off another brilliant counter.
67 - GOAL! Guatemala does get a counter, earning a corner. It's served in perfectly by Marco Papa, handcuffing Memo to his line. Lopez, along with a couple of other Guat players, crash the ball together - Lopez gets his head on it and roofs it into the goal. 2-1 Guatemala.
68 - Castillo attacks right back, get into the Guatemala box, then passes to Villaluz, whose low shot isn't very hard, allowing Jerez to smother it.
There's a fight in the stands right beneath the pressbox. Tensions are high. This isn't where security expected trouble, and they're late getting there to deal with the problem. The sideline seats are the expensive ones, and usually calm.
72 - Hugo makes a move. Patricio Aruajo comes off for Santiago Fernandez.
73 - Fernandez is in the box and takes a shot. It's way high. Not a good way to impress as a sub.
78 - Juan Carlos Silva with a sliding tackle stops a Guatemalan counter. Mexico is playing physically. It will either pay off with a goal, or they will soon start seeing cards.
80 - FK Guatemala, cleared out.
81 - And here comes the yellow for Mexico. Contreras taken down from behind by Villaluz. The FK is taken and oh, damn, nearly another goal for Guatemala. Maynor could and should have put the game away.
84 - Pablo Barrera with a shot from an angle in the box. Jerez catches it.
87 - Castillo lost the ball, Guatemala takes off on the counter, builds it well, and then blows it by being a bit offside. Another fight breaks out in the stands. Why? They're just getting escorted out and who wants to miss this game? It's incredibly. I guess a few are losing faith, though.
88 - Jerez barely beats Fernandez to a through ball in the box. That was so close.
90 - Guatemalan flags are waving wildly in the stands, but this isn't over yet. Jerez catches another shot.
90 + Castilo charges into the box again, but touches the ball a bit long. Guatemalan defenders close him out. GK.
Mexican fans are hitting the exits as a Guat player goes down. Mexico shoots and scores, but the ref has blown the whistle and shakes his head no. The FK is taken where the Guat player was fouled.
Final whistle. 2-1 Guatemala wins and has won the group. Mexico is in danger of not qualifying, but still has a chance, though they must defeat Haiti, at the least.
The days of Hugo Sanchez may be numbered.


Anonymous said...

You've been giving Grahame a personality that doesn't always come across in his articles, enjoyable to read...

bwidell said...

I believe the 3/4 length sleeves are just something that Adidas dreamed up. When the USA played South Africa, SA's jerseys had those sleeves as well.

I don't get it, either. When I'm playing and it's cold enough to want long-sleeves, why would I want them to end at my forearms?

A.C. said...

He's sitting next to me - he says he checks Sideline Views every day. Grahame has tons of personality; he's great fun to have as a colleague.

El Rey said...

I wonder who or what Mr. Sanchez will blame for the loss this time. Maybe the fights in the stands were a ploy by the U.S. to distract the young TRIs during the game?

Anonymous said...

no it was the refs who caused the lose, what are they doing out there. Mexico outplayed them and the game should have been 4-0 to mexico.jejejeje Hugo comes up with 1 excuse per minute.

in case you do not understand or are a gallina verde. I am being sarcastic!!!!

hugo sanchez said...

The stupid turf is unacceptable!! In Mexico, there are better fields than HDC.

CACuzcatlan said...

Do you think Mexico would benefit from having a separate coach for the Olympic team? I know Hugo can't coach to begin with, but maybe trying to have his hand in every pot makes him even worse.

A.C. said...

I really respect Ramirez and what he accomplished with many of these players on the U17 level. I think he should have coached the team.

papa bear said...

I can't wait to see the latest 'we are great and those losers just got lucky' stream of excuses from Hugo after yet ANOTHER loss.
This really made my Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does it seem that Mexico's M.O. under Hugo Sanchez is to blow leads?

A.C. said...

Not when they played the U.S., at least - in that game, the U.S. kept blowing the lead.