Sunday, May 3, 2009


Under normal circumstances, Indios and Cruz Azul would have had problems drawing people to a game. As it stood, there were few people present for Saturday's game between Indios and Cruz Azul, and it's too bad more people weren't there to witness Indios' dramatic game-winning, season-saving, Primera A-avoiding striker by Javier Saavedra.

Friday, May 1, 2009

MLS weekend preview's Kyle McCarthy takes a look at Week 7 in MLS and provides picks for all the games. If he's correct, it'll be a happy weekend for all area MLS fans.

The game I think most MLS fans are looking forward to, though, is Seattle-Chicago. At this point, both those teams are legit MLS Cup contenders. Seattle's Kasey Keller hasn't allowed a goal yet while Chicago have the highest-scoring offense in the league and are the last unbeaten team in MLS.

As far as Chivas and the Galaxy...

Chivas' Sacha Kljestan hasn't shown up and at some point the team's going to need him to start producing. Will it be Saturday? Atiba Harris is out for the game and the hard-working but unproductive Justin Braun is back in the lineup. I've stopped counting on the re-emergence of Maykel Galindo so who the hell knows when he'll be back to starting or at least dressing for every game. Alecko Eskandarian is at least available for games but it seems nobody has a starting forward spot locked down... except for Braun. Anyway, some steady contributions from Kljestan could help offset that sort of fluidity in the starting spot up top. But Chivas has their tough-as-nails defense to count on, and San Jose's offense has been hit-and-miss so this is a winnable game.

The Galaxy meanwhile hosts a pretty bad New York team. The Red Bulls coughed up two stoppage-time goals against DC United last week and lost 3-2. I don't know how they can come in without their confidence in the toilet. The Galaxy's only getting healthier with Todd Dunivant and Edson Buddle seemingly ready to go. This team's defense has improved to. Donovan Ricketts might be getting up there in age but he's done a lot in a short amount of time. I think it'll be hard for New York to get more than a goal past Ricketts.


The fallout from both Wendesday's Chivas-Everton match and the swine flu in Mexico has been, well, as Mural put it - Fuchila!

* Chivas and San Luis made it through to the second round of Libertadores where they'll play Sao Paulo and Nacional (Uruguay) respectively, but where will they play?

* Because of the swine flu, it seems Mexico is not an option for Chivas and/or San Luis to host South American teams. Colombia was in line to play host to games as the two Mexican teams were all set to play their home legs in Bogota but the Colombian government said no. FMF officials had said Chile might be an option but everything is seemingly up in the air, and when government officials get involved and are emphatic against something like a soccer game, it makes it hard to get around that.

* I was wondering if this might mean we'd have a Libertadores game here in LA but I read somewhere that the idea of playing those games in the US had been kicked around but discarded. Guess it'd be hard for Nacional to get from Montevideo to Los Angeles for a midweek game.

* I really hope that the series isn't reduced to a one-off game for both, with the matches being played at Sao Paulo and Montevideo, but that could be an option. Chivas at Sao Paulo for a winner-take-all series. A neutral site, even if it's in that country, would be preferable, but a two-leg series would still be the most ideal thing. Don't know, just seems there are a lot of people throwing up roadblocks and if Colombia already said no, if Chile was already hostile in their treatment of Chivas, I wonder if any South American country will say yes to Chivas and San Luis at this point.

* Getting back to the spitting incident, Chivas president Pedro Saez had some damage control and said he was surprised a player of Reynoso's caliber would do such an act. Mural ran a great picture of the incident:

The Everton player said afterward: "I hope he doesn't have some sort of disease." Ouch.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tying their way through

Guadalajara tied Everton 1-1 in Chile on Wednesday and advanced to the second round of Copa Libertadores. They needed just a draw to get by and they did just that.

Of course, the week wasn't an uneventful one. Because of their travel from Mexico City to Santiago, the locals were not exactly welcoming to players while they were out and about in Viña Del Mar.

Which prompted this cartoon from Terrazas:

Chiva tells Everton: Your countrymen treated me like a pig.
To wit Everton replies: And because of you, they'll treat me like trash.

The game wasn't without incident though as there were a pair of red cards at the end of the match.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where's Sacha?

Chivas USA has the most wins in the league (five), the most points in the league (16), have allowed the fewest points (three, tied with Seattle) and has the best goal differential (plus-seven).


Even more so when you consider that the team's best player, well, supposed best player, has zero goals and zero assists.

I wrote a column on the topic for

Who knows if and when Sacha Kljestan will come out of his funk. He could break out this week at San Jose or he could continue to run around and do nothing offensively.

It's a similar situation to last season when you think about it. Brad Guzan was all set to go to Europe but a deal fell through at the very end. Kljestan spent time in Europe in January but ultimately did not go anywhere, and maybe he's just having a tough time trying to get past that and live up to raised expectations.

Like I wrote in the column, this was supposed to be his breakout year. It's a busy year for the US and Chivas needs to take the next step this year in their own evolution.

So far, Kljestan's been a no-show.


This cartoon ran in Mural today. With the news down in Mexico dominated by the swine flu, Terrazas tried to take a look instead at the national team camp.

Professor Agurire points to a chart that says:

He asks Tri: "So you really can't see anything?"

Tri responds: "No. The previous process left me myopic."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More zero attendances

Guadalajara and Tecos will play their home games on the weekend without any supporters in the stands. Jalisco state government officials and the respective Mexican clubs have taken the next step in preventing the spread of the swine flu by shutting down these Primera Division games.

The count is now up to five, with regards to how many games will be played sans fans: Toluca, Pachuca, Cruz Azul, Chivas and Tecos.

That leaves Morelia, Monterrey, Necaxa and Santos as the clubs who might open their doors to the public. Necaxa though have reported three cases of the swine flu among their own players - two youth team players as well as first-teamer Alejandro Castillo. Aguascalientes have also reported two deaths and 30 probable cases, according to Reforma, so Necaxa might shut their doors.

Nuevo Leon has reported one death and 10 cases while Coahuila (20) and Michoacan (13) have no deaths but reported cases, also according to Reforma. While the numbers appear small, health and government officials would likely argue that figure could balloon with such public gatherings as a soccer match.

We'll see what happens when the federation weighs in on the matter. On Wednesday the federation is supposed to decide on the fate of these games (they'll be played, but whether fans will be allowed remains to be seen) but it is likely that most if not all of the Jornada 16 matches will be played minus a major component - supporters.

ADD: The FMF has decided to play all nine of their league games behind closed doors.

Larry Bird Rankings (April 28)

Day late, dollar short.

1. Chivas USA. Team made MAJOR mistake in passing up Stefan Frei... oh wait...
2. Seattle. Keller has yet to allow an MLS goal.
3. Chicago. Making a habit of dramatic road come-from-behind draws.
4. Real Salt Lake. Six goals in less than 40 minutes? How about some of that on the road?
5. Kansas City. Some minor kinks still need to be ironed out, but KC's got a good team this year.
6. DC United. Wonder what DC fans savored more - scoring twice in stoppage time to win a game, or to do that against New York?
7. New England. That's a good way to ruin your goal differential.
8. Colorado. Tough to beat the same team three times in one month.
9. Toronto. 1-0 wins ain't pretty, but they count just the same.
10. Houston. Extension for Kinnear sends message - it ain't his fault the team's sagging.
11. LA Galaxy. Cronin/Wicks/Saunders may have been the problem all along.
12. San Jose. Road losses like Saturday's are compounded by dropped points at home.
13. FC Dallas. FC Dallas hasn't been too bad lately, there's hope after all!
14. Columbus. At least they had...
15. New York. ... a nice run to the Cup.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sick day

Sorry I haven't been around to give my thoughts on the goings-on around MLS and Mexico. My daughter's been sick all day so I haven't had the chance to blog much. Cleaning up vomit is not my idea of a fun day.

I've also been trying to keep up to speed on the swine flu in Mexico as it's affected several games and tournaments. The Under-17 tourney has been canceled and the CONCACAF Champions League final might also be postponed. And more Mexican league games will go on without supporters in the stands.

Anyway, I'll be back later with my rankings. Chivas USA will still remain at number one despite their midweek loss to Toronto. Chivas USA are after all massive.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I'm watching this game and it seems strange because the game, which is an attractive matchup, is being played with no supporters due to a swine flu outbreak.

But one thing that's bugging me is the commentary. The match is on Telemundo and I wonder sometimes if announcers Andres Cantor and Sammy Sadovnik can do anything except complain about the officiating. No matter what game, no matter what the circumstances, whether it's a league match, an international friendly or a World Cup qualifier, it seems like these guys spend a lot of time complaining about the referees. They second-guess calls - which when you watch them 10 times over in slow-motion are easy to see - and demand yellow cards, red cards, penalties, whatever.

It would be nice if they actually described some of the game action without sensationalizing every single play. To be honest, I watch games here on mute most of the time. I wanted to watch it with the volume up to get a feel of the game action as you can hear a lot of what the players are saying as well as some of the voices from the sidelines, but these guys are making it difficult to sit through their typically wrteched commentary.

Okay, Chicharo just scored. One thing I wondered was if players would celebrate as much when scoring today as normal. Do they play up their celebration for the crowd? Does the energy from the stands feed into their goal celebrations? Or would they just sort of congratulate each other as they would if it was a goal during a closed-door scrimmage? Chicharo's celebration was a bit muted I guess. He seemed excited initially, walked over to the end line but wasn't overly demonstrative.

Anyway, back to hoping Cantor and Sadovnik don't ruin the game for me.

Attendance: zero

What happened if a soccer game was played and nobody showed up?

Actually, it wasn't that people did not want to go to the match but rather nobody was allowed entrance. A swine flu outbreak has hit Mexico City hard and Pachuca, which is based in Pachuca, Hidalgo, near Mexico City, did not allow entry due to rising fears of an outbreak.

Games in Mexico City on Sunday will also feature attendances of zero as America-Tecos and Pumas-Chivas will be played in empty stadiums.

Now, empty stadiums aren't entirely uncommon in Mexico. Every now and then fan violence forces teams to play games in empty stadiums as punishment, but this is the first time in recent history anyway that something other than unruly fans have caused this sort of situation.