My apologies for not posting over the past week or so. I had a little time off. The highlight of my trip: playing on a golf course where iguanas were as abundant as the squirrels on my local track here in Austin.
And this was one of the little ones
I’ll leave MLS to the other bloggers on this site, but I will say that I was relieved to see MLS and its players avoid a work stoppage. MLS and soccer as a whole has become a lot more relevant in the US over the past 10 years (ESPN even crawls MFL results on the weekends). Gone are they days when footie only made the news here when the news bad. This would have given the haters plenty of ammo. Some say it’s a watershed moment. I can’t speak to that, but I love the fact that there is so much footie on TV, I miss more than I watch.
Back on topic….
When FEMEXFUT announced Mexico’s world cup prep schedule, it was easy to divide the 12 games into 3 phases: local league evaluation, local selects with Mexpat assimilation, and the friendlies in Europe. The first phase concludes this Wednesday against Iceland, in what will likely be a sold out Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Call ups of note:
Jorge Torres Nilo has been on every list save the one with the Euros and has started twice. There is always a player that comes out of nowhere to take spot on the roster. Is Torres Nilo the guy?
Braulio Luna has been on every one of the call ups so far. The cagey old veteran has long been one of the MFL’s most consistent players, so it is no surprise that he is receiving the recognition.
It’s better late than never for Adolfo Bautista. He has played well for Chivas so far this year, and Javier Aguirre wants to see what he can do.
Vasco is still looking for another striker. Javier Hernandez was not called up, but appears to have spot locked up with his 20 goal season at Chivas and a 4 goal performance with the Tri. Aldo de Nigris appeared to have the inside track for another slot, but picked a terrible time to get injured. Miguel Sabah and Matias Vuoso get the nod in Charlotte.
With the urgency of his arrival, Javier Aguirre did not have the luxury of methodically evaluating players. But he did have the fortune of a Gold Cup. The call ups for that tournament turned all the talking heads into scratching heads. Sacred cows and Tri perennials were left off the squad. Mexico was in 5th place in the hex, and the players the media expected to pull Mexico out of the humiliation were deep sea fishing, paying outrageous amounts for tee times, and looking painfully cool at the hippest nightspots. More importantly, they weren’t at the training center, and now Mexico was going into the second half of the hex with a bunch of untested nobodies.
Several of those nobodies emerged to form the foundation of the team that Mexico will take to South Africa. But Aguirre still had a long way to go to see who would join them on the 23-man roster. The first group to audition is the local talent. For these four games, Javier Aguirre has called up more than 30 locals, but plans to take only 18 to the world cup training camp next month. He will then shed 3 or four before the team goes to Europe, and then make his final roster decisions.
In other words, for the local bubble players, this is it.