(I can’t get enough of his mullet)
There’s plenty to talk about nowadays when it comes to Mexican soccer. Whether it’s the FMF, players abroad, the Liga MX, Chivas, the national team, or Miguel Herrera’s fantastic hair-do from the 90’s, we’ve all got plenty to say and there is plenty to be said about. The elephant in the room at this point is Miguel Herrera and his recent player allocations for the upcoming playoff games against New Zealand.
Herrera has essentially called up the same squad that was used against Finland on October 30th. After the injury to Hiram Mier, “El Piojo” has reinforced the fact that he wants to use domestic players only, after calling up Hugo Ayala instead of Hector Moreno. I personally think this is foolish. It’s one thing to say that the players may not have enough time to gel with the team or acclimatize to the conditions, but at least put them on as back-ups. At the very least put on Gio dos Santos, Hector Moreno, and Chicharito on the bench. I wont doubt that the long plane rides might have a factor on the players for the competition, but this isn’t a punishment nor just a friendly. If they are willing (which I’m sure they are) to “suffer” through these flights and the eventual acclimatization, than why not? Whether Herrera will admit it or not, most of those guys overseas are our best players, they at least deserve a spot on the bench. These players would be flying in luxurious first class seats watching Breaking Bad episodes and snacking on shrimp until they got to their destination, this isn’t Oregon Trail. I don’t know, maybe I’m asking for too much. The only real suffering I will have to endure is re-fueling on tequila or Manhattans when watching the game.
Perhaps it is pointless to argue about Herrera not bringing in any European players. He isn’t going to change his mind, and as I’ve mentioned before, these players he called up should suffice. Sure eight of them are in their 30’s and eleven of them have only ten caps or less, but they’re talented enough to beat New Zealand over a stretch of two games. It’s also key to keep in mind that Herrera will be utilizing a Club America based squad that just so happens to be playing in their usual home stadium, Estadio Azteca. In a year where we have seen the Azteca crowds (understandably) turn very quickly against us, fielding a mostly America side that has seen much recent success is not a bad thing.
I’m worried that we aren’t taking New Zealand serious enough or maybe it’s just me that is not taking them seriously enough. When I first heard that we were playing against the “All Whites”, all my uncultured mind could think of was this “highlight video" that made the rounds awhile back. Most of the squad plays in Australia, so it will be ninety minutes of that right? This will be so great! It’ll be like a Mexican version of the Harlem Globetrotters de Futbol vs (literally) Bret and Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords, right? Not exactly, and the more research I do, the more I recognize the fact that they do actually have some great talent on the squad. They have this young guy named Marco Rojas who is returning from a recent injury, but if he is half as fast as he used to be, our defense will be torn to shreds.
Winston Reid, who plays as central defender, starts for West Ham United and is a strong and technical player that should definitely give any other of our forwards trouble (turns out, he might be injured for the upcoming games, huge loss for New Zealand). Don’t expect gorgeous triangle passing or complex marking from New Zealand, but do expect speedy play, crosses, and utilization of their strength and size. I could go on for days about this upcoming series of games but I’ll leave that for next week.
-Tough times once again for Chicharito. After not receiving a single minute of playing time against Fulham, the hungry striker was given an opportunity to once again prove himself against Real Sociedad yesterday. There wasn’t very many opportunities for the poacher but when those opportunities arrived, he failed to capitalize. The most notable mistake was a clear opportunity in the second half when Hernandez lofted the ball over the bar when he was just yards away from the net. Manchester United seemed content with the tie and Real Sociedad seemed to have a similar disposition with this being their only point so far in the Champions League. Manchester United 0-0 Real Sociedad.
-Since we’re discussing Chicharito, we might as well bring up Carlos Vela who was also on display in the Champions League game yesterday. Vela also had a bit of a quiet game against United but it was obvious that Sociedad’s tactics were focused more on their defense and counter attacks. Oddly enough, United’s lack of finishing in the final third actually lead to Sociedad taking more shots (Vela had three) even though they only had 45% possession. Vela has been consistent with Sociedad recently but is still underwhelming in comparison to his old form. In his last thirteen games, Vela has created only one goal and two assists. Manchester United 0-0 Real Sociedad.
-Andres Guardado will be out for 2-3 weeks after injuring himself last week against Almeria. Guardado was obviously out for Valencia’s game against Getafe over the weekend. Valencia 1-0 Getafe.
-Jona dos Santos just underwent surgery on his right knee yesterday. We still expect him to be out for at least six months. Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol.
-Hector Moreno had a decent game against Barcelona over the weekend. Well, he was decent until Neymar decided to double nutmeg two Espanyol defenders and create a beautiful assist right in front of Moreno. It was a big mistake and one that lead to their inevitable loss to Barcelona but considering the circumstances, Moreno still did an overall acceptable job against the likes of Messi and friends. Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol.
-Nery Castillo is once again injured with a muscle tear and will be out for four to six weeks. Rayo Vallecano 2-3 Real Madrid.
-Injuries injuries everywhere. Early in the second half against Elche, Gio dos Santos had to be subbed off after what appeared to be a thigh injury. Early reports have claimed that he will be out for four weeks but further testing will be done in a few days to determine the damage. In the same game Javier Aquino came on as a sub during the last ten minutes of the match. Not enough time to make a serious impact but the young Mexican did well with the time he had. Villarreal 1-0 Elche.
-Over in the Spanish Second Division, Ulises Davila received just twenty-two minutes in Cordoba’s 2-2 tie against Sporting Gijon while Anibal Zurdo received twenty-six minutes for Sabadell during their 2-1 win over Murcia.
-I make fun of Mexico’s current defensive woes but they are at least slightly better than that of Ajaccio’s. Guillermo Ochoa does solid work week in and week out while his defenders are essentially sauntering around each other. Tough game for Ochoa with horrific defending from his side. Ajaccio 1-3 Valenciennes.
-Over in Scotland, Gabriel Piccolo played all ninety minutes in Partick Thistle’s beating by Aberdeen. Partick Thistle 0-4 Aberdeen.
-Jesus “Tecatito” Corona came on as a sub during the sixty-sixth minute for Twente over the weekend. Twente 2-2 NEC Nijmegen.
-Hector Herrera may not see any action today due to his red card, but he did come on as a sub during the last ten minutes of Porto’s game against Belenenses. Diego Reyes remains with Porto’s B squad. Porto 1-1 Belenenses.
International player of the week: Well, everybody is either injured or had a bad game so I’m going to have to go with Carlos Vela who was neither but wasn’t spectacular either.
Games Games Games (pacific standard time)
Wednesday, November 6th 2013
9:00 a.m. - Porto (w/out Herrera & Reyes) @ Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League
11:45 a.m. - AC Milan @ Barcelona (w/out Jona) - Champions League
Thursday, November 7th 2013
10:00 a.m. - Valencia (w/out Guardado) @ St. Gallen - Europa League
Saturday, November 9th 2013
7:00 a.m. - St. Mirren @ Partick Thistle (Piccolo) - Scottish Premiership
7:00 a.m. - Real Sociedad (Vela) @ Real Madrid - La Liga
11:00 a.m. - Ajaccio (Ochoa) @ Toulouse - Ligue 1
Sunday, November 10th 2013
3:00 a.m. - Sevilla @ Espanyol (Moreno) - La Liga
3:30 a.m. - Twente (Tecatito) @ PEC Zwolle - Eredivisie
8:00 a.m. - Cordoba (Davila) @ AD Alcorcon - Spanish Second Divison
8:00 a.m. - Sabadell (Zurdo) @ Sporting Gijon - Spanish Second Division
8:00 a.m. - Real Valladolid @ Valencia (w/out Guardado) - La Liga
8:10 a.m. - Arsenal @ Manchester United (Chich) - EPL
11:00 a.m. - Atletico Madrid @ Villarreal (Aquino & w/out Gio) - La Liga
Noon - Barcelona (w/out Jona) @ Real Betis - La Liga
1:00 p.m. - Rayo Vallecano (w/out Nery) @ Celta Vigo - La Liga
Also, don’t forget that our U-17 team plays in their respective World Cup Final against Nigeria this Friday at 8:00 a.m! Go Mexico!
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter for more of my ramblings and if you feel the need to creep on me some more, I just created an instagram account right here or just look up “funkydiscoduck”
November 6, 2013
The Big Verde Weekly Update: It’s my time on the soapbox! Also, everybody’s injured.