Sunday, April 26, 2015

Super Clasico is finally Set Up

For a while now, Club America v Chivas has been a relatively mild affair, because there hasn't been much at stake between the two squads. But now there is a lot. 

Meanwhile, defending Liga MX champions Club America are fighting to retain a playoff spot, so there's a lot at stake for them as well. 

Here's a preview that Tom Marshall and I wrote covering both sides for this big game today. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mike Penner, Bruce Jenner and Me

Years ago, at the great media brouhaha that was the official unveiling of David Beckham, I was walking on the concourse of what is now called Stub Hub Center stadium, when I spotted a tall woman. She, like me, was on her way to the media rooms designated for different groups of reporters. Even though Beckham's move to the Galaxy was a huge story, there weren't that many women covering it, so I noticed her. I stopped for a moment, thinking that she might be an ex-athlete turned reporter, perhaps a former basketball or volleyball player. It even occurred to me that, if so, I should ask her about that, and get a unique perspective that might add some insight into a Beckham event reaction story. She looked somewhat familiar, so I tried to remember where I'd seen her before. Then I realized she was Christine Daniels, the transgender sports writer whose story I'd read about about earlier that year. 

Even before that galvanizing story, I'd read Mike Penner columns/stories in the LA Times for years, but never ran into him in the LA pressbox for Galaxy games, where Grahame Jones had the regular local soccer beat. I'd been keeping up with Christine's blog, and I wondered if it was ok to start with that as a intro comment, "Hi, I've read your blog; I'm a reporter, too, are you going to come to more soccer stuff?" 

But then Christine walked into the suite marked for national media reporters. I went to the one for local media. Maybe I'd see her after the interviews ended, I figured. Or perhaps she'd be out soon again to actually see Beckham play and I could introduce myself in the pressbox before a game. 

Beckham came to the local media interview room last. Christine and most of the other reporters were long gone by the time I stepped out of the suite into the bright sunshine. 

Selfishly, I hoped I would see her again soon. I had friends in the LA pressbox, but sometimes it still felt a little isolating to be the lone female reporter there. I imagined that Christine wouldn't be intimidated, at over six feet, walking into a locker room full of players amped up after a game. I, who was always more comfortable at a keyboard than speaking in person, would sometimes wonder if players refused interviews or ignored my requests for a quote because I was a woman and they didn't take me seriously as a reporter. I figured Christine wouldn't be so easy to brush off. I also thought I could help her if she needed anything translated from Spanish. We could be like a distaff soccer-writing Mutt and Jeff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alexi Lalas is Doing Fine, But What About Bob?

Just another day in the soccer-writing life, but now I suddenly have a few hundred more Twitter followers than before. 

It's pretty much Alexi Lalas' fault. 

The man has a gift for garnering media attention, so perhaps he's in his best career fit as a sports pundit, but I remember well when his trajectory in sports management seemed unstoppable. 

Instead, Lalas was derailed when he became the ringmaster in the circus that was the LA Galaxy's colossal craziness in the early Beckham years. It's kind of a shame, given his energy and enthusiasm, but living by the propaganda sword means dying by it as well. 

Bob and Alexi Lalas
That's what happened to Lalas, but like the phoenix, he's risen from the ashes of that disaster to do quite well on television. 

Still, I wonder what happened to his little Yorkie, which I believe he told me was named Bob. 

Alexi would bring him to Galaxy practices sometimes. Maybe Bob hides in the TV studio or Alexi's office now. 

Update! Alexi says Bob is fine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Once More Into the Ring

Ahead of the big "friendly" USA-Mexico game today, Luis Hernandez has a new commercial for Wells Fargo similar to the Landon Donovan one. It's to introduce a banking app in Spanish. 

Like Donovan's, the scenario is a coach handing out jerseys to players, and Hernandez, as the new addition, uses his banking app to send in his payment quickly. But a crucial difference (as well as a tip of the hat to the Mexican fan loyalty in the rivalry) is that as soon as Hernandez pulls the jersey over his head, his hair magically grows into the long tresses he once sported, complete with a headband. Everyone on his team recognizes him and celebrates having a legend on their team. 

Hernandez then runs to the field in triumph, despite never actually having touched the ball yet. "El Matador" was indeed a Mexico icon. While his Galaxy career wasn't spectacular and he lost to LD and the USA in 2002 in the World Cup, he gets the last laugh here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Matosas Going Nowhere?

So I wrote on Matosas and the latest struggles for Club America

Meanwhile, this dude just offered a GIF visual of the same situation. 

Here's a more statistical, analytical tack. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

21 Not Gunning For Those Above

Yes, the title is a reference to the Green Day song. 

Memo has proved himself against world's best teams before
It's also a reference to my latest article. Mexico is ranked at 21 and it isn't playing any teams ranked higher of late. At least, not until their Costa Rica friendly. 

Ok, I know the rankings aren't everything, but Argentina was on a USA tour at the same time as Mexico. Why not schedule that? 

Mexico did manage to win both friendly matches of 2015 thus far. So - anyone want to predict El Tri's first loss this year? Let me know your guess if you have one.