It's Derby Week in Mexico, and the Refs Get a New Toy

The Mexican Primera highlights two of its best derbies this weekend. America treks a little further north from their nest at Villacoapa to play Cruz Azul at the Estadio Azul (6PM EDT, ESPND). Menawhile, in Monterrey, Rayados also head to the northern part of Monterrey to take on Tigres at the Volcán (8PM EDT, Tel).

Even though America has struggled for the better part of the last two years, they still manage to find a way to beat their cross town rivals. It’s been six years since Cruz Azul fans have been able to use the scoreboard trump to settle all arguments. Both teams have started the season on a positive note. America even won two in a row for the first time since Temo wore the canary yellow unis with a win last week over Atlas. Cruz Azul bounced back from a loss at Santos last week with a mid-week victory in the Concachampions. They easily handled Saprissa at the Azul.

The Estadio Azul is an interesting place. Its origins, like the bullfighting ring next door, are due to the fact that they were both pits, quarries, for soil used to make bricks. Instead of filling in the holes, stadia were buolt instead. The 35,000 seat stadium is sold out, and chances are pretty high that the visiting fans will outnumber the home supporters. Even though this game is a huge rivalry (el clásico joven, they call it), the passions pale in comparison for what will take place in Monterrey.

The fan-base for both teams in Monterrey is more unconditional than it is for just about any other team in the Mexican Primera. One thing one rarely sees in either a Tigres or Rayados game are empty seats. The fans are loyal… and masochistic. The teams have combined to win a grand total of 4 championships. Both fan-bases are inexorably linked not only for the enthusiastic support of their teams, but their equally unabashed hatred they have toward the other.

Other teams have other derbies and clasicos that the fans look forward to more. That is not the case at all with this game, and that’s what’s fun about this derby. That’s why I think it is the best derby in Mexico. The numbers could not be closer. In 71 games, there have been 23 ties, 25 Tigres wins, and 23 Monterrey wins. Monterrey has not won in the last 6 games. Not that they need to be reminded.

Another point of interest for the upcoming weekend is the debut of Futline, the “wall spray”, in the Mexican Primera. The refs will be provided with a biodegradable spray that will allow the refs to show exactly where a wall should be placed for a free kick. The little can has enough for twenty sprays. Is that going to be enough?

Naturally, there is a sponsor for this nifty little product, Comex. I wonder if the FMF has ever turned down a sponsorship opportunity. This is, after all, the only federation that I know of that has an official diarrhea medicine. The Spray has been used in both Brazil and Argentina. I wonder what the over and under is on how soon a player will feign temporary blindness when some of the particles get in his eyes. I say 2 weeks.