February 4, 2014
The Big Verde Weekly Update: Andres Guardado, protests, and a rant about Carlos Vela rants.

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(Arsenal bench, here I come!)

If I had a dollar for every time I mentioned Carlos Vela, I would probably have enough to bribe the FMF to attempt to bribe Vela to play for the Mexican national team.

You’ve probably already heard the story, but I’ll give you a summary anyways. During Piojo’s recent trip to Europe, he visited Vela in order to discuss his future with the national team. Piojo later posted online that Vela was not committed and didn’t have the mentality he was looking for. Vela later posted a letter stating that he was not completely mentally prepared to return and would feel bad taking a spot from other potential players who have worked so hard. Long story short, Carlos Vela wont be going with us to the World Cup.

Everything regarding the situation makes me feel uneasy. Vela not going to the World Cup makes me sad. It’s as simple as that. He’s undoubtedly our most talented player within the past year or two and not having him on the pitch will be detrimental. Does that make him a bad person? No. Does that make him “not Mexican” or a “traitor?” Of course not. How can we all judge the situation and Vela when there are so many unknowns? Now here is where I begin to feel more uneasy or bothered, because although Vela’s decision to not go doesn’t make me happy, plenty of response regarding the situation is even worse. Whether it’s the ludicrous commentary from fans online or the surprisingly immature banter from writers, it makes me feel uneasy. I’m not helping either, as I’m criticizing the crap-storm that is the Vela situation, I’m throwing even more crap into said storm and making it worse. Then again, we here in California are going through a drought so if any of that storm contains moisture, bring it on over.

It’s actually quite interesting to see people try to figure out a narrative about his refusal to play for us. Sure, everything Vela says is juicy material for an article but every writer would love for him to return so they could write a Disney-esque treatise about Vela’s valiant return (I’m one of those people). Maybe we should all leave twitter and the internet for a week and go find a new hobby. I picked up table tennis recently if any of you feel like driving to California and challenging me. Perhaps I should finish watching this season of “Downton Abbey” or re-watch my favorite Simpsons episode. Either way, I hope Vela or the FMF eventually open up about the situation so we can all stop yelling at each other. On to other futbol related things…

Andres Guardado has moved to Bayer Leverkusen on loan! I’m genuinely excited for the move and if you haven’t read my article about the decision, you can read it over here.

Another player who has moved abroad is Jonathan Espericueta who is on loan with Villarreal B from Tigres. The nineteen year-old is best known as being the Silver Ball winner at the 2011 U-17 World Cup and also a member of the squad that made it to the round of 16 at the 2013 U-20 World Cup. I’ll be sure to give you updates about his progress in Spain.

One more thing, if you’re living in the United States, be excited for this. It may not involve Mexico but I would probably pay a pretty penny to watch Spain.

Alright, I believe that’s it for now. Let’s check out some of the “action” from the weekend. (Disclaimer: “Action” may refer to only six players getting time on the field)

Updates

-In other Carlos Vela news, it seems as if we sometimes forget that he actually plays soccer. Well, only for a total of two minutes last Thursday. During the second quarter-final match of the Copa del Rey between Racing de Santader and Real Sociedad, the Santander squad protested the game and refused to play. Why did they protest? Well, they haven’t been paid…since last September. The squad has received much support from fellow players and fans in wake of the news and I’m surprised that they have been playing for as long as they have without receiving money. Sociedad’s next game against Atletico Madrid was obviously not as easy. With Barcelona losing to Valencia the day before, Atletico were poised and ready for a win at home that would place them at the top of La Liga. Vela had an average game and did well when he had possession, but I felt as if it was seldom seen. I would have liked for him to have more of an influence on the attack over the weekend. Atletico capitalized on Sociedad’s mistakes in the back and had no real troubles with the occasional long shot from Vela and company. Atletico Madrid 4-0 Real Sociedad.

-Giovani dos Santos and Javier Aquino both started in yesterday’s game between Villarreal and Osasuna. Gio was a constant threat against Osasuna and was unlucky to not get a goal, especially during the second half when he had a few opportunities. Gio did have an excellent assist during the fifty-fifth minute when he perfectly played the ball back to Trigueros instead of crossing it into the box (as everyone expected). Trigueros was then able to take an accurate and powerful shot outside of the penalty area. Although Gio couldn’t score, he was more than able to help create opportunities. Javier Aquino had a good game as well and his confidence seems to be rising with every opportunity. He still makes the occasional bad pass or bad touch, but has a huge amount of potential if he can polish his skills. His playing recently can be summarized through two opportunities that happened yesterday during the first half. The first was a perfect and impressive back-heel pass that he gave to one of his midfielders. The second, his only chance on net somewhat wasted after shooting the ball straight to the keeper. Villarreal 3-1 Osasuna. By the way, Osasuna’s only goal is a must-see.

-Chicharito was on the pitch for a total of twelve minutes during Manchester United’s last two games (all twelve in the game against Stoke). Chich made three passes against Stoke and his only real highlight was being fouled slightly outside of the penalty area. It’s going to be a tough time for him now that RVP and Rooney are back in the mix. I personally think he should have found another team during such a crucial time before the World Cup. Best of luck to you little pea. Manchester United 1-2 Stoke City.

-Guillermo Ochoa was injured during a practice last week and wasn’t able to take part in Ajaccio’s game against Evian. There are no details yet on how long he will be out for, but appears as though the injury to his hip wasn’t very serious. Ajaccio 1-1 Evian.

-Espanyol have had a rough trip playing three straight away games in a row. The first two against Valencia and Real Madrid are always going to be difficult but the third against Real Betis (who haven’t won a La Liga game since September) was supposed to be easier…much easier. Hector Moreno did well with his distribution of the ball but was missing in the back defensively. There were multiple times when Real Betis were surging through the middle but Moreno was nowhere to be found. Maybe they were underestimating Betis, but Espanyol’s defensive line was playing much higher up than it should have been. Espanyol 0-2 Real Betis.

-Andres Guardado is now a member of Bayer Leverkusen! I guess this will be the end of me covering Valencia…for now. Time to practice my German.

-Unfortunately for Nery Castillo, Rayo Vallecano have brought in Samuele Longo, a twenty-two year old striker on loan from Inter. Nery was bumped off the roster in their game against Levante. Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Levante.

-Gabriel Piccolo was once again left out of Partick Thistle’s lineup. I haven’t seen any reports regarding an injury but I assume the arrival of Partick’s newest central defender, Lee Mair, probably has something to do with his exclusion. I even tried e-mailing Partick Thistle about the situation, but they never got back to me. Sigh. Partick Thistle 1-1 Dundee United. Also, if you get a chance, read this interesting interview on Gabriel Piccolo done by Soccerly.

-Jesus “Tecatito” Corona is still injured and was left out of Twente’s roster. According to his twitter page the injury is not serious. FC Twente 3-1 Cambuur.

-Both Diego Reyes and Hector Herrera sat on the bench during FC Porto’s loss against Maritimo on Saturday. Then, just a day afterwards, Diego Reyes scored against Maritimo B while playing for FC Porto B! Vengeance! Redemption! FC Porto 0-1 Maritimo.

-Ulises Davila was left on the bench once again and has been struggling with finding playing time. The last time Davila played a full game for Cordoba was last December. Things were looking good for Davila after his hat-trick last November, but he has only scored one goal since then. Cordoba 1-1 Alaves.

-Anibal Zurdo on the other hand played all ninety during Sabadell’s match against Deportivo la Coruna. Sabadell 1-2 Deportivo la Coruna.

International player of the week: Giovani dos Santos.

Games (p.s.t.)

Wednesday, January 5th 2014

11:45 a.m. - FC Twente (Tecatito) @ Heerenveen - Eredivisie

1:00 p.m. - Real Sociedad (Vela) @ Barcelona (w/out Jona) - Copa del Rey

1:00 p.m. - Estoril @ FC Porto (Reyes & Herrera) - Taca de Portugal

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Friday, February 7th 2014 

11:30 a.m. - Bayer Leverkusen (Guardado) @ Borussia Monchengladbach - Bundesliga

Noon - Granada @ Espanyol (Moreno) - La Liga
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Saturday, February 8th 2014

9:00 a.m. - Malaga @ Rayo Vallecano (Nery) - La Liga

9:00 a.m. - Deportivo Alaves @ Sabadell (Anibal) - Segunda Division

9:45 a.m. - FC Twente (Tecatito) @ PSV Eindhoven - Eredivisie

11:00 a.m. - Villarreal (Gio & Aquino) @ Real Madrid - La Liga

11:00 a.m. - Stade Rennes @ Ajaccio (Ochoa) - Ligue 1 

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Sunday, February 9th 2014

3:00 a.m. - Lleida Esportiu @ Villarreal B (Espericueta) - Segunda Division B Group III

6:00 a.m. - FC Porto B (possibly Reyes) @ Santa Clara - Segunda Liga

8:00 a.m. - Fulham @ Manchester United (Chich) - EPL

8:00 a.m. - SD Eibar @ Cordoba (Davila) - Segunda Division

10:00 a.m. - Levante @ Real Sociedad (Vela) - La Liga

10:45 a.m. - Pacos de Ferreira @ Porto (Reyes & Herrera) - Portuguese Liga

Noon - Sevilla @ Barcelona (w/out Jona) - La Liga

——-

Monday, February 10th 2014

11:00 a.m. - FC Volendam @ FC Twente B (possibly Tecatito) - Eerste Divisie

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Notes: FC Twente B is actually called “Jong FC Twente.” I have just used “FC Twente B” in order for less confusion. I also recognize the fact that I put Tecatito and Diego Reyes as possibly playing for both their senior and “B” squad. Due to the fact that I can’t tell the future, I placed the schedules of the “B” teams as well in case they are utilized for the other roster.

I believe that’s it for now. Send all your comments, praise, and/or criticism to my e-mail: thebigverdesoccer@gmail.com or my twitter. I honestly enjoy any and every piece of feedback.

Have a good week!

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