It just doesn’t seem right that we can count on one hand what teams in the Mexican Primera have not made coaching changes in 2008-2009. 2 more coaches were handed pink slips this week. One was not surprising: After much speculation, Efrain Flores was finally given the boot at Chivas. That 11-goal week seemed like it was so long ago. The goals and the wins have dried up, and Chivas are now in danger of missing the liguilla for the second season in a row. In the Mexican primera, it’s harder to miss the liguilla than it is to make it, so Flores has shown some real talent in that aspect.
The other coach who tried to no let the door hit him in the tochus on the way out is Daniel “el travieso” Guzmán, formerly of Santos. It’s a real surprise. Guzmán saved Santos from relegation in 2007, and had several great seasons soon after. They won the Clausura 2008 title. Santos is currently sitting in 4th place in group 1, seven points from 3rd place Monterrey. If there was ever a team that can get real hot real quick, it’s Santos. Likewise, if there was ever a team that can turn arctic overnight, it’s Monterrey. The guerreros were on the favorites to win the Concachampions. Santos’ front office has the right to do whatever they want, but it was premature and disrespectful, to fire the coach who not only kept them in the primera, but won them a trophy. El travieso won’t be eating molletes on the couch in his sweatpants for long, though. Someone will pick him up.
There is nothing like conjuring controversy out of thin air in a qualifier week. The Mexican press has decided that Nery Castillo’s tardiness in his last two call-ups stems from a lack of discipline. It certainly has nothing to do with inclement weather during an incredibly long trip. There is a reason why wars go bad in the Russian winter.Last I checked, Mexicana does not provide Golden Aztec Service to Donetsk, so Nery had to make connections. They also have floated the rumor that Nery was knockered when he arrived. If I had to travel as much as he did over the past few days, I’d have no problem having the attendant provide a steady supply of Maker’s Mark. ¡Salud, Nery!
I feel bad for Gio. He finally gets to stretch his legs a little, and it turns out he didn’t stretch enough. A groin pull will keep from playing the ticos, and we’ll know on Saturday if he’ll be ready for the Catrachos. This year can’t end any faster for Gio, and it looks like he might have to end it in rehab. I pine for the day when Mexico can field Nery, Vela, Guardado and Gio all 100% healthy, confident, and in match rhythm. While Gio’s injury will definitely affect SGE’s strategy over the next two games, another injury sustained by a CONCACAFer is a lot more devastating for his side.
David “la pantera negra” Suazo, who at times is the most dominant forward in CONCACAF, has meniscus issues in his knee, will need surgery, and has been ruled out for the rest of the year with Benfica. He’ll be back, but Honduras is the kind of team that can fall apart as quickly as it can rise up, as they showed in the Gold Cup a few years ago. I hope they can hover within striking distance of qualifying in Suazo’s absence. A full strength Honduras would help CONCACAF send a very strong contingent to South Africa. Not heavyweights, mind you, but definitely some mid-major bracket busters.