Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saprissa Hates Club America More

Here's my wrap-up on how Club America took care of bidness against Saprissa in Costa Rica

I've been to the Monster's Cave, back when I lived in Costa Rica during part of my college years. It's a concrete cave of a stadium, but I always thought of it as small. I mean, I've been to Azteca, which is huge. 

But it gets wild there when the fans fill it up. They get loud. But all the fan support couldn't push Saprissa past an Aguilas squad which has found its form this season. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

One Big, Happy Family

Sure, there are problems in Mexico, but that doesn't mean that the country can't celebrate when one of their own makes good


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Best Never Rest

I'm checking out the number of veteran players who made the latest Liga MX Best XI - quite a few. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cubo Cut Down

I'm not really referring to how Erick "Cubo" Torres went down in the box - it's more about how the president of Guadalajara, Nestor de la Torre, reacted. 




Though I didn't even know what Nestor had said about Cubo when I went to the Tecate presentation the next day for interviews, I couldn't leave it out of my article. 



I'm not sure if Torres will last the season at Chivas, but Houston will probably be happy to welcome him early. 


Leftover quotes from my interview:  


Nestor

We don’t have any problem playing against the Galaxy. For us, the Galaxy is a team with good characteristics and it would be a competitive game. I think it would be interesting. It would be interesting because of what the Galaxy represents in this community and because of what Chivas also represents in Los Angeles. It would be an interesting clash of cultures.
Chepo

Nadie gana solo. Es una parte importante - la aficion.

No one wins alone. The fans play an important part. So does the owner, the coaches, the players, the trainers, the equipment people - everyone plays a part. Together, we can do this.

Cubo


Well, in life and in work, the ability to adapt is important. When people can adapt to change, they can be successful. Whether it’s Chivas USA, the national team, Chivas Guadalajara, or Houston, I’ll work hard to adjust and do well.

I’m working hard, with a lot of humility and when it’s time to go to Houston, I’ll be there with that same attitude. I’ll be proud to be with a good organization like the Dynamo as well.

Chepo

What is here in the United States is very special, because the fans here don’t get to see the team in person very often, but they’re so excited when they do get to see the team. It means so much to them. We want to make the fans happy.

We want to bring the team here more often.

It’s a great responsibility. It’s very similar, but the magnitude is different, in terms of the amount of people. The people identify with these type of squads. To coach Guadalajara, to coach Mexico, it is similar. The difference is there’s 120 million people in Mexico, aside from those in the USA, and despite the differences economically, culturally, male or female, or religion, they simply want to see their national team win. They get really excited about that.

It’s something that professions have to learn to handle. They have to face a lot of pressure, but but despite that, they have to go out and perform their best. We know that it’s like that - sometimes you’ll be on top, sometimes you’ll be on the bottom, but you have to be able to express yourself and stay professional. People will notice when you put your best effort out there. And when they see that, they’re satisfied. Usually, the results will follow as well. If you win, of course you get the reward from that effort, but even if you lose, you still know that you gave your best. In the end, that gives you satisfaction as well.

All of players have to compete against each other, and I have to evaluate who is in the best form at the time. Whether they start, or are on the bench, or even make the bench, that’s part of the competition. What’s complicated for me is making those choices.

I don’t feel like a savior. We, as a group, have to work on this mission together. So everyone has to be strong so that we can reach our goals.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Strikers Struck Down

Miguel Herrera, Mexico's ebullient coach, is in a bit of a quandary.  The double demands of Copa America and Gold Cup have, in my opinion, been part of a difficult test for Mexican players that helps them improve. 

But it's a strain to play both tournaments, so different rosters are often utilized. 

However, El Tri is getting really thin at one particular important position. 

What should Herrera do? What can he do? 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Living the Dream

I'm sure LD didn't intend it, as celebrities in commercials don't really get to pick the storyline of their scripts, but I think some junior ad person had a little fun poking at Jurgen Klinsmann with this new bank commercial. 

First of all, the entire premise is based on what Klinsmann famously did in 2003 - play for Orange County Blue Star under a pseudonym. Like so many things Klinsy, the story of why is a bit inconsistent - in one piece, Klinsy says the coach suggested the pseudonym (but why would the coach know or care to pick out Klinsy's home town as the last name?) - yet elsewhere, Klinsy has said he picked out his son's name, Jonathan, as his psuedo, but then wrote only the initial on the team sheet, leading everyone to call him Jay. 

Of course, even if Klinsmann had written his real name, many wouldn't have recognized him anyway. LD is far more recognizable in the USA than Klinsmann ever was as a player. The idea that the Latino player on the rec squad here wouldn't recognize LD is pretty unfathomable. 

Then there's the subtle dig at the very end of the commercial. LD has been left on the bench (like JK left LD off the roster) and it's very much played to the "what an idiot coach!" angle. That's unmistakably a JK slight, at least in my opinion. 

Judge for yourself. 


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How the Superbowl Destroyed the JK Myth

I blinked at the screen, and I still didn't quite believe it. The Seattle Seahawks, on second and goal with time ticking down in the Superbowl, despite having the running services of Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch available, had tried a passing play. 

It was intercepted. The New England Patriots won.

Like millions of others, my first thought was that coach Pete Carroll was an idiot. It wasn't a profound or original thought - the Internet exploded with similar thoughts. Not even the most ardent Seahawk fan thought their coach made the right call.

It never occurred to me that Jurgen Klinsmann would be at all affected. 

Frankly, I'd gotten tired and bored of arguing with JK defenders. Time after time, his lofty, tangled rhetoric notwithstanding, he'd proven he knew little about how to motivate and guide players to good results. 

Granted, I'd had hope back in 2006, when he'd been willing to shake up the established power structure in Germany. With Jogi Low to provide tactical nous, JK tightened up the squad's fitness, blunted the media demands on the players and helped them get to, well, about the same place as they usually did in the World Cup. Yet JK somehow took credit for it all when Low led the team to the pinnacle and captured the World Cup eight years later.

I'd given up on Klinsmann in late 2006 because his bait and switch approach of halfway accepting the USA job before pulling out showed he didn't have anywhere close to same respect for the position as he had for the Germany post. His turn-around led to an awkward transition to the man who deserved better, Bob Bradley. 

After 2010, I didn't think Bradley should get an extension, but not because I thought he'd done badly, just that fresh ideas were worthwhile. But by then, I'd heard enough about JK to be wary of his appointment. 

That culminated in his call to leave Landon Donovan off the 2014 World Cup roster. I was honestly not too surprised by this and instead more disappointed in the lack of backlash JK raised with the move. 

"Trust JK, trust the team!" was the idea I heard from many fans and media, most of whom avoided even challenging JK on the reasoning behind his choice. JK saying he saw other players "a little bit better" than LD was accepted far more than "We don't want to waste a running play" was from Carroll. Both made little to absolute no sense. But the complete hubris and ego involved was also similar. 

At least Carroll took the blame for his call.

What I didn't expect is others to see that, too. Sure, for years I've been skeptical of JK and his tactics, but even the recent losing streak didn't seem to sway his supporters. "MLS sucks, and USA MLS players suck" was the blame for the lack of wins and poor play, again and again. 

But there isn't any NFL Europe to look to as the fairy-tale solution for a U.S. coach's failings. The criticisms of Carroll seemed to suddenly wake people up to the idea that this is what Americans do - those who love sports are unscathing in demanding better from those who guide their favorite teams. In order to push a squad to glory, one can't accept losses or bad calls with lame excuses. 

Not from Carroll. Not from Klinsmann. Not from anyone. 

Maybe it's coincidence, that so many are now looking at JK more skeptically and unhappily. Or maybe it's just that when eyes get opened, even if looking at a different sport entirely, they stay that way. People trust their eyes now looking at the USA play poorly, and they wonder, rightly, why JK, who is so good at taking credit, won't take any blame.


















Then there's this. I'll leave it here without any comment.