Monday, September 22, 2008

Forget it

I just finished writing my Tuesday Press-Enterprise column. I decided to write about the Mexican national team, since they're playing on Wednesday out here in Los Angeles.

One of the things I noticed rather quickly when doing research was the strength of the team that will play on Wednesday. Strength of course isn't the best way to describe this team.

First, the roster:

GK: Guillermo Ochoa (América); José de Jesús Corona (Tecos).
D: Diego Martínez (Tigres); José Antonio Castro (América); Edgar Dueñas (Toluca); Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Tecos); Leobardo López (Pachuca); Fernando López (Necaxa); Fausto Pinto (Pachuca); Jorge Torres (Atlas).
M: Antonio Naelson (Toluca) Mario Méndez (Toluca); Jaime Correa (Pachuca); William Paredes and Luis Pérez (Monterrey); Arnhold Rivas (Tecos).
F: Enrique Esqueda (América); Francisco Fonseca (Tigres); Carlos Esquivel (Toluca); Carlos Ochoa (Monterrey)

Now, I'm not comparing this team to any other national team team. I'm comparing this team to the Mexico teams used during qualifying. Compared to those teams, this roster is not as strong. Not saying it's weak, just not as strong. Actually, nowhere near as strong.

Of course, that doesn't mean a whole lot. First, it's my opinion. Your opinion could be that this team is stronger than the one that beat Canada 2-1 on Sept. 10. You would have a tough time arguing that but you could argue it... maybe.

Secondly, these games could come in handy. They are opportunities for players to show themselves to Eriksson. Some players have yet to play for Sven-Goran Eriksson, many of these players in fact including Guillermo Ochoa. This game is certainly not without meaning to them.

But as I mention in my column, the fact that six Mexican teams are in action this week severely hampered Eriksson's options. No players from Chivas, Pumas or Santos. Forget about Cruz Azul and San Luis players. For accuracy purposes, we have to mention Atlante too.

Anyway, the game then will be a mix of players who will try and show their worth to Eriksson for the first time (Ochoa, Jaime Correa, Zinha) as well as those trying to re-establish themselves with the national team in general (Gringo Castro, Kikin Fonseca, Mario Mendez).

Still, if you're on the fence about going to this game, get off and stay home. Perhaps it's my dislike of fighting through the Coliseum traffic on a Wednesday night, knowing you've got to get up early the very next morning. Or maybe it's the decent-but-not-headlining-opponent that is Chile. And then, and most importantly, there are ticket prices for the game itself: ticket prices range from $30-70. If you spend even on the low end, it's debatable whether you get your money's worth given the roster. If it were an international fixture date and all the top players were here, that's a different story. But paying $30-70 to see whether Enrique Esqueda can break through for the senior team... well, that doesn't sound too appealing.

And if you live within driving distance and are tired of seeing these kinds of friendlies played in the US - to take a phrase from my column, these kinds of "cash grabs" - then you should not go. Voice your displeasure that way. Because if they keep drawing 40,000 to 60,000 for these games, well, you'll still see plenty of them played on American soil year in and year out.


Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the displeasure with the roster for this game from a lot of Mexican fans. The first time I saw it was thrilled because for the first time that I can remember someone coaching Mexico is looking at larger pool of players. What good does it do to bring in the same old characters when you know what they can do. Who knows, Eriksson might find a great depth player that would've been overlooked otherwise by other coaches picking the same tired old players. I saw bravo for his choices.

Anonymous said...

Eriksson's all time record of only five COMPETITIVE games lost during his tenure with England was marked by "poor" friendly match results.
"El Tri" fans should not be surprised (or disappointed) if Svennis continues his policy of using (losing) friendlies for experimentation and potential player trials. It's competition match results that count!
Proud to "be" Sven-Goran

Anonymous said...

poor ticket sales are apparently a reality for this game... seems like a lot of folks agree with luis on this one...