I can't imagine CONCACAF being any happier than they were leading up to the Blazer Bowl (I mean, the CONCACAF Cup, sorry). After concocting this ridiculous playoff while hoping and praying that they got their dream match-up, it was academic the game would be in the US. Which stadium has the biggest gate? The Rose Bowl. When is UCLA off? October 10. Holy crap, that is a Fecha FIFA! It was the ultimate molero play-in for the Ultimate molero tournament. And how fitting for Mexico that the man who coined the phrase would be the Tri's coach.
They got their match-up, guaranteeing a sell-out. To make if fair, though, they decided to raffle off the tickets in a lottery to make the stadium as neutral possible. Well. they can't have everything. But everyone knows that game in Pasadena was always going to have a pro Mexico crowd.
That crowd left the stadium very happy, and they have one man to thank: Tuca Ferretti.
Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti was the FMF's first choice to replace the ignominiously fired Miguel Herrera. But Tuca, having first-hand knowledge of the federations inner workings and politics, politely declined. But he did offer them a temporary solution: he would coach the next four games, including the Blazer Bowl, to give the FMF the necessary time to make a vetted and informed decision. He said, he owed Mexico as much, considering how much the country had given him. Ferretti arrived in Mexico in the mid 70's, became a fixture and a star on Bora's Pumas sides that included Hugo Sanchez and Cabinho. Blessed with a cannon for a leg, Tuca won a few titles with Pumas before bouncing around the league in the twlight of his career. He made it back to CU to finish out his career, and did so in the most dramatic way possible:
Ferretti's final blast of his career, "el tucazo" was the difference in the 1991 final vs Club America. His coaching career started soon after. He was an assistant at USA 1994 before becoming a head coach. He hasn't looked back, and he has never been fired. Think about that. In al league where it is not uncommon to see half the league make a coaching change in any given season, Tuca has never gotten a pink slip. Not one. What he has done is win titles for championship starved fans: Guadalajara (one of two since 1987), and Tigres (their first since 1982). He also won another for Pumas in 2009.
Why Tuca, the straight-talking grouch who has defined his career by deftly managing risk? Because in the second biggest game of his coaching career (with apologies to CONCACAF, the Libertadores final in August was bigger) and only three days he had to prepare his team, he allegedly asked them what formation makes them the most comfortable? No one, including the most ardent Tuca supporters would have ever guessed he would play with 3 forwards. Even klinsi was skeptical in his pre-game presser. Regardless of formation, Tuca's mantra has always been no matter what happens, maintain order. But there they were, Javier Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, and Oribe Peralta, combining for the game's first goal after only 10 minutes. The last goal scored by Paul Aguilar rivaled the Tucazo from 1991. And it was eerily similar to a Tuca training video that surfaced last year. Go to 1:10
And Paul Aguilar's
Freaky, huh? Classic The 3-2 win means that Mexico will be playing in their 6th Confed Cup since 1999, which they won in a thriller over Brazil. Yes, it was at home, but that is what teams are supposed to do: take advantage of playing at home. Tuca is back at home, wherehehad his soup strainer shaved off for the third time in6years.
Speaking of playing at home, one would think with all the advantages CONCACAF gives them, they would have a better go of it. In addition to Saturday's Blazer Bowl, the US Has lost 3 out of the last 5 Gold Cups, all played on home soil. I know, I know! But last I checked, Pasadena was in the US as well. Don't want it to be a pro-Mexico crowd? Buy tickets. I keep hearing about how the US has developed a footballing culture. That same culture that Jurgen is so desperate to unleash. Don't really see it, and that might be a good thing for him. Because of the US had any semblance of a proper footballing culture, he would have been fired long ago, or at least he would have resigned. But since he coaches and technically directs with little to no pressure at all, he will continue at the helm -- making his millions. His predecessors did a lot more, and were paid a lot less. And that attacking style he has promised for the last five years? Haven't seen it much, and definitely did not see it in Pasadena. But y'all don't need me to tell you that.
What I am going to tell you is that this is my last post on bigsoccer.com. I want to tank Jesse Hertzberg for bringing me on and believing in me to provide an alternative voice on the front page. I also want to thank Dan Loney and Martin Del Palacio for their guidance and consummate professionalism. Most importantly, I want to thank you, the reader. It was my goal to try to make sense of Mexican Futbol, whether I pumped sunshine or not. Thank y'all for the time you took to read this space over the years.