The CONCACAF Champions League picks up again today as Atlante host Houston for a spot in the semifinals.
I wrote this column for SI.com on Friday to sort of wrap up the week and look ahead to this week's games.
Now, in the column I partly wrote about what I've felt all along, that Mexican teams have long held an advantage and they'll take care of business at home. Until I see otherwise, I don't think teams can go into Mexico and expect a win.
Of course, some people took exception to my column, and they let me know about it:
* "You are an idiot. MLS is still in pre-season, as opposed to the Mexican leagues. But of course you won't admit that in your article because it would be factually accurate. The Mexican league, just like the national team, aren't that good."
* "That means what in terms of global futbol? Nothing. This is a terrible column that only serves to heighten Mexican nationalism. All you ever write is about Mexico, Mexico Mexico. They are a second rate team at best and the league is a third rate league. Please stop the madness!"
* "With all due respect (none), anything you write that has "class" and "Mexican soccer" in the same sentence is completely unbelievable. Those two phrases should never be together given the complete lack of sportsmanship displayed in recent USA/Mexico games as well as the earlier played group games in the CONCACAF Champ. Cup. Combine the spotty referreeing, altitude and vast differences in the team salary budgets between the two leagues and its very understandable how the Mexico played games are a bit skewed."
Okay, I'm an idiot. Yes, that's an original comment. But two things jump out at me and I can't figure out why people can't differentiate between them.
First, I get that a lot, the "you only write about Mexican soccer" line. Yeah, nimrod, because I am paid to write about Mexican soccer. Occasionally I write about MLS or something but my beat for SI.com is the Mexican soccer beat. That's like going to a butcher shop and complaining that all they sell is meat.
Secondly, I want to post this somewhere with lights glaring: LEAGUE AND NATIONAL TEAM ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Any arguments you use for or against the Mexican national team hold little or no relevance when it comes to league, and vice versa. So what if the Mexican national team is playing like shit? That doesn't mean the league's teams are. Mexico is struggling against regional competition, but the league's teams are not. It's still the best league in the region and its teams are still strong. I'm not saying that Mexico is La Liga or anything but it's still the... wait for it... ahem... cough... CLASS of the region. That much I stand by.
Now, I don't have a rooting interest in tonight's Atlante-Houston game, but I think that Houston will get their asses handed to them. It might not be a 4-0 blowout but I don't think Houston will get out of their with anything but a lopsided loss, even if it's not reflected by the score. And I also think Santos will turn around their own series and come away with a victory over Montreal on Thursday.
The cream will rise to the top, and until I'm proven otherwise that's what I feel. If that makes me an idiot, so be it.