There are quite a few New Year's traditions at the Jagou household: beignets, watching the Tournament of Roses, wondering aloud when Jerrah will fire his GM, and not eating Texas caviar for luck. It's not that we don't believe in the mystical powers of the black-eyed pea, it just does not fit in with our palette (which is a polite way of sayin' we don't much care for it).
This site has a tradition of its own. It's when I prime the sunshine pump for the upcoming year. As a fan of Mexican Futbol, it usually deals with picking up the pieces after a series of calamities. 2011, though, turned out to be a vintage year for Mexico. The biggest challenge, then, is to see if the momentum can be kept.
What else is on the wishlist?
...that Mexico qualifies for the Olympics. The fiasco from 4 years ago not only led directly to the demise of Hugo Sanchez from the national team, but it also dragged more than a handful of players into such a deep chasm, their careers have yet to recover. the only ones who seemed to rise from the ashes are Memo Ochoa and Pablo Barrera. Can't say the same for Cesar Villaluz, Luis Landin, Santiago Fernandez, Sergio Avila, and Juan Carlos Silva.
Qualifying for the Olympics is important to Mexico, but much more important to the television partners. Outside of diving, taekwondo, and the occasional track & field star, Mexico's performance at the Summer Olympics is not particularly stellar. Having, the soccer team playing in tournament, therefore, is a great way to mark-up the rate card on the ads. Obviously, having them play beyond the group stage would be a big win for all involved.
Maybe even the players.
They have the talent to do so, now that Marco Fabian, Jonathan Dos Santos and the rest of the Quito horndogs have served their six-month suspensions. They have to get by the qualifying tournament first. Which is something they have failed to do the last two times the tournament was held in the US.
...that Marco Fabian and Jonathan Dos Santos consolidate themselves on the Tri senior squad. Marco Fabian is probably the best Mexican attacking player in the local league. He has all the tools, vision, speed, and a nose for goals. He will have ample opportunity to solidify his claim for a spot on the senior squad with not only the local tournament, but he will play in the Olympic tourney and the Copa Libertadores.
Jonathan Dos Santos has had a hard time cracking Barcelona's first team.
I can't imagine why.
He will get his shot, though, as he will be Keita's replacement during the the Africa Nations Cup. He has also been moonlighting at right back, which used to be Efrain Juarez' exclusive neighborhood on the national Team. Juarez' level of play has fallen off precipitously he h, as he has made some mind-bogglingly childish mistakes at Zaragoza this year. The spot is there for the taking. Let's see if Jona will finally make his debut with the senior side in an official match.
...that Carlos Vela becomes a full-time player... somewhere. As Darrel Royal says, potential just means you ain't done nothing yet. Vela has shown flashes, but not consistently enough. He is on uptick at Real Sociedad for now. Consistency is the next step for him. But that has been the next rung on the ladder for sometime now.
...that Club America becomes relevant again. Odiame más (hate me more) was a brilliant marketing slogan for the Mexico City club. Lately, the most hated team in Mexico has been the most ridiculed. The missteps and misfortunes have been plentiful, well chronicled here, and most happened under Michel Bauer's watch. The former team president was replaced by a committee of three. And the moves they have so far might be an indication that they know what they are doing, unlike Bauer.
Their new coach, Miguel "el piojo (louse)" Herrera has made the rounds, to be sure. But he is as competent as he is entertaining. The Louse has a strong personality, uses a formation that has proven to be successful in the MFL, and has had a reasonable amount of success as a head coach. They also brought in Venezuelan international Oswaldo Vizcarrondo to shore up the leaky back line. The defender is one of the big reasons why Venezuela has real aspirations of qualifying for their first World Cup. Club America might have the kind of season that their fans might crow "odiame más" again.
...that Chivas makes another deep run in the Libertadores. The Omni-Mexican squad is one of the few Mexican teams (sadly) that take the most prestigious club tournament in the Americas seriously. They made the final the last time out and have a squad that might be even better this time around. Chivas' commitment to the Libertadores will be a sad contrast to current league champions, Tigres, who will likely play the tournament with a reserve squad -- a la Tuca.
...that Angel Reyna finds his footing. Imagine calling your boss a dumbass in your company's weekly e-bulletin. Launching tirades about your superiors at the post-game presser is not the best way to ingratiate yourself with your employers - especially it is makes their air.... Angel Reyna's disappointment was, well, palpable, after America's 3-0 superclasico loss. His team's anger was a little more than apparent. They separated him from the squad immediately, and now he has landed North -- in Monterrey.
Rayados were very disappointing not only in the last season, but in the Club World Cup. Word is that Humberto Chupete Suazo, one of the best foreigners to play in the league, wants to play closer to his home in Chile. If Chupete departs, Reyna (although not a true striker) certainly has the chops to fill the goal scoring void. Rayados are too talented to lay an egg two seasons in a row, right?
...that Pumas win the Concachampions. Hey, it worked last year.