The White Rabbit Will Lead México to An Early Exit

Surely it must mean something that I posted on Team USA’s shocking draw with England before posting on the opening match of the 2010 World Cup, which pitted host South Africa against my beloved Tri.  What it means is that the opening match left a bad taste in my mouth.

Like the US and England, South Africa and México tied 1-1. For South Africa that’s as good as a win and it’s safe to say that for the team representing my native land, that result is as bad as a loss.

Again, if careful and exegetic analysis of the match are your cup of tea, go check out it here.

Before the ball even got rolling there was a problem for México: Óscar “El Conejo” (The rabbit) Pérez starting at keeper for México. What catastrophe has to unfold for Mexican helmsman Javier “El Vasco” (The Basque) Aguirre to leave this guy on the friggin’ bench? I won’t even get into another lousy decision by Vasco: starting Guille Franco as the point man up front. To summarize Franco’s brilliant performance, he whiffed on 3 clear scoring opportunities. Two off-target headers and a feeble shot on goal that Bishop Tutu could have stopped.

It’s worth noting that after South Africa opened the scoring, Desmond started cutting a rug. I’d point out something about the dignity that accompanies age but then I’d come across as the woman (not to mention legalistic Baptists) who despised King David in 2 Samuel.

Like Rudy, Conejo is 5-foot-nothing, unlike Rudy, he is a wee bit more than a “100-nothing”. In the modern era of fútbol (after ’66 when they used that ridiculous volleyball as a match ball), no team has gone deep into the World Cup with a keeper that vertically challenged.

I’d understand if the man still had his ups, but he’s 37!!!!!! Whatever spring he might have had is long gone. I’d also understand if you didn’t have any other options, but riding the pine like some perpetual bridesmaid is Sideshow Bob Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa (right). Vasco, if Allstate is going to make Memo the centerpiece of an entire ad campaign, the least you do is start the man. Forget the fact that he’s 6′, young and in the prime of his career.

Throughout the match, Pérez looked to be way in over his head. He whiffed on a couple of crosses into the box that a taller and/or athletic keeper would have easily snagged. Given that set pieces and the aerial game are 2 of México’s main problems, it’s inexplicable why Aguirre goes with Pérez. I’m not sure that even Memo would have stopped South Africa’s impressive goal, but judging by the replay, Pérez was a few inches from getting at least a glove on it.

Then in what could have been South Africa’s game winner, Pérez defends it by doing a jumping jack [Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images]:

Pérez has no business being on this team, much less being the starting keeper. If Aguirre comes to his senses and starts Ochoa, at least this gives the team a better chance and will eclipse some of the other shortcomings that were in full bloom against South Africa (inability to capitalize, adventures in set pieces etc).

Given Aguirre’s noted stubbornness and pride, I have a feeling he will continue to follow his white rabbit (below, Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) all the way into the hole that is not making it past the group stage.

Run, rabbit run… all the way to the bench please

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México-Panama: A Study in Scarlet

Red Card

A Gold Cup match between the national fútbol teams of México and Panama was scheduled last night in the fair city of Houston.

What ended up transpiring was a brawl. A brawl to the tune of 4 red cards being doled out by the ref. One of these red cards was ‘earned’ by Mexican head coach, Javier “El Vasco” Aguirre. His antics deserve a post unto themselves and here’s an excellent one:

Javier Aguirre channels his inner Woody Hayes

If Aguirre coached Team USA he’d be fired already for his act (see Woody Hayes and Ohio State), let’s see how the FMF (México fútbol’s governing body) responds. He supposedly didn’t mean to kick Panamanian player, Richardo Phillips. Here’s a story on Aguirre’s apology, if it can be called that.

Phillips, upset that the opposing coach kicked him, retaliated by pushing Aguirre and was also tossed as a result. Phillips didn’t want to leave the field because he was afraid of getting pelted by the mostly Mexican crowd. His fears were well-founded since he left the field under a cascade of beer, water and who knows what else. Stay classy, paisanos.

The cage match ended in a 1-1 tie, which is a result which Panama is more than happy to walk away with, at least according to budding Mexican star, Giovanni Dos Santos who alleges that “Panama only came here to provoke us.”

Look, I like Gio, he seems like a nice kid who has all the talent in the world. However, at some point the excuses have to stop. Truth is, El Tri hasn’t looked good since the 2007 Copa America. Maybe because of the parade of coaches or because the players don’t have as much quality as we’re accustomed to seeing from México.

Not only is my native land not showing good fútbol form, they are quickly solidifying their reputation as a dirty team. To this fan, this is actually more than a concern than the technical deficiencies of the squad.