Thursday, September 4, 2008

Poor display

I talked to Francisco Mendoza after Chivas USA bowed out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. He seemed frustrated, and afterwards, I thought it was more than than just the regular disappointment every competitive player has after a loss.

"I think these competitions are important - just as much as league games, if not more so," said Panchito. "These are the games in which MLS measures itself on an international level - where people from outside the country are looking at the teams and the players."

What I realized is that as a young player, Panchito is looking to the future. MLS has proven to be a launching pad for quite a few players - but mostly American players.

Commissioner Don Garber may point to transfers like Jozy Altidore as examples of players scouted via their league play, but that's a bit disingenuous. Jozy was a prodigy back with the U17 team in 2005, and he definitely garnered attention with his U20 play in 2007. Of course, I'm sure the European scouts who courted Jozy checked out his league games, but there's no way the other games against international competition didn't play an important factor.

Mendoza's visibility isn't getting the same boost from MLS play - Sven and his scouts simply aren't watching MLS like they're tracking games in the Mexican league. Panchito understands that he's not going to get opportunities with the Mexican national team if he isn't able to prove himself on a bigger stage.

Good performances in tournaments versus teams from other countries, especially in the latter stages of competition, could catch the eye of scouts abroad as well.

Mendoza's effort in the recent games couldn't be faulted, but he wasn't able to finish, either.

"I'm disappointed in myself," said Panchito.

I asked him if he felt the league bore any responsibility - if he thought the league was handicapping their own teams through poor cheduling.

"I don't like to blame anyone else," Panchito said. "I can't control what they do. I still think we could have won. We should have won, but we didn't."

Honestly, MLS as a whole, let alone any individual players, doesn't impress anyone when their teams limp out of tournaments the way they did in the CONCACAF competition. At least they didn't go out with the surly behavior of Atlante in the SuperLiga, though.


Anonymous said...

Andrea, I'm not sure if the assertion that the MLS is primarily a launching pad for American talent is necessarily correct. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of foreign players who used MLS as a stepping stone for bigger things: Juan Toja, Damani Ralph, Stern John, and Ryan Nelson are names off the top of my head. If their total numbers are lower, it's due to limits on foreign players.


Didn't Sven checkout a Chitown Fire game to scout Temo?

Pancho seems wiser for playing in the MLS. He needs to look in th mirror to really understand why he isn't making scouts look twice.

So much potential and so unrefined.

A.C. said...

Anon, honestly, if you're going back to Stern John and Ryan Nelson and Ralph, that's proof positive that MLS hasn't really launched a lot of foreign talent. I didn't say exclusively American, but primarily so for sure.
My point is that the ratio of Americans to foreigners launched is unbalanced beyond that of the ratio of Americans in the league.

The Hammer said...

Mendoza just isn't good enough. On a good night, he's the 2nd best player on his team, at certain points, he was below Guzan, Kljestan, Razov + Galindo.

Not to mention the left side for Mexico is getting pretty stacked. He's just not good enough.

Anonymous said...

the problem for panchito is that no one in mexico knows who he is --no one, i mean NO ONE i know in mexico watches or even cares about the mls -- plus that position is well covered... isn't that where guardado and castillo also play?

i have a lot of respect for panchito, but he has a better chance of making the usmnt, if he were to become an american citizen... which i have heard he is considering.

temoc is another story, completely different story.

saludos, d

A.C. said...

There's little likelihood, practically speaking, that Panchito can get a chance with the U.S. national team. The citizenship process would take too long - he'd be in his thirties, and Beckham or Preki notwithstanding, that's over the hill for many players, especially for a first call up.