World Cup Dreams Shattered

2 plays less than 2 minutes apart tell the story of Luis "El Chapo" Montes. The first, a 25 yard bullet that found the back of the net. The second, a reckless challenge after sloppy ball control.

The ecstasy and the agony of the sport we love. Luis Montes, the tenacious little midfielder from León scored a terrific goal at Jerry's place. Not 2 minutes later a collision left him with a broken fibia and Ecuador's Segundo Castillo with ligament damage in his knee. 

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They will both miss the World Cup.  The whole stadium, all 85,000 of them, was completely silent. The Mexican players were devastated, as were their Ecuadorian counterparts.  "It hit the team really hard.  They looked like gonners on the touch line.  Some ever had tears in their eyes." Mexico's coach, Miguel Herrera,  said in his post game presser.  He also stated that  saw a team, some that was taking their frustration out on the locker room furniture.  It was clearly the toughest moment, (and biggest test so far) of Miguel Herrera's very short career at the helm of the national team.

He had to get the players' heads back in the game, back to accomplishing the goals set out for this game..  They did.  Marco Fabian, Montes' immediate substitute, scored a screamer of his own, and Giovani Dos Santos got his name on the scoresheet for the first time since the Olympics. 

Herrera was understandably someber in his post-game chat with the press.  Montes was a guy who understood his role in the Herrera system perfectly.    And by finishing the season as strong as he did with Leon, there probably wasn't a hotter player on the Tri.

Now Herrera has to prepare without him.  Luckily he has some options. 

The first one is the one who stepped in for El Chapo today:  Marco Fabian.  Fabian mirrors what Montes does on the left side of the field.  Herrera likes to place his players on their weak side so that they can cut inside and shoot, like the first two goals today.  Fabian, though, has a little more hustle on defense and is also strong with his left foot.

If Herrera wants to go box to box on both sides, then Gullit Peña and Hector Herrera are his boys.  After a shaky first half, Herrera was moved out of the holding role and unleashed on the right side.  Gullit has seen a dip in form as of late, and his starting role, which was appeared to have been cemented long ago, has some cracks.

Giovani.  He is left footed, loves to venture wide, and turn inside to shoot.  He has played there before, and if he does so again, it would open up a spot on the front lines for Chicharito or Raul Jimenez.

On a personal note... just like anyone else, there are players that I favor and some that I don't.  But I one thing I would never do is wish injury on a player, no matter how much I dislike him.  Unfortunately, there are folks in our little community who don't feel the same way.  Some of the stuff I read  today was deplorable.  That needs to stop. 

As for Montes, he is headed for Guadalajara via private plane to have surgery in Guadalajara.  Despite the fact his World Cup dreams are shattered, he still has his sense of humor....

Fuerza Chapo.