Clint Dempsey’s Strike: From Nac-Town with Love

Yesterday morning at the store, I ran into a friend of mine and he asked me what I thought the outcome would be of today’s England-US World Cup showdown. My response? A draw.

Can’t say that I called it because I didn’t predict a score. Even as my prediction rolled off my tongue, I thought about the feasibility of such an outcome and came to the conclusion that even a draw would be a victory for Team USA, given how loaded the English squad is.

While it would be best to leave the tactical analysis of the match to the experten, I cannot help but discuss Clint Dempsey’s equalizer.

Yes, English keeper Robert Green made the type of mistake which should never be made at the World Cup level or any level of soccer save Fun Fair Positive Soccer . However, not enough credit is being given to the Texan Clint Dempsey, the man who presented Green with the opportunity to embarrass himself, his family and his country before a captivated world audience.

Prior to firing the fateful shot, Dempsey had to break free, and he did so by juking English captain, Steven Gerrard, out of his expensive Adidas cleats. Here’s a shot from mid-juke, (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)


Es OK Esteven, there are embittered Mexican men in Nac-Town who feel your pain

Judging by the display, one might have thought that Dempsey must have learned these skills from Hakeem Olajuwon who as we can see in Exhibit A below, just abused David Robinson back in the 1995 NBA playoffs.

But no, Dempsey honed these moves in his youth while playing in Nacogdoches’ Mexican League matches. As is reported here, Dempsey,

…beat men more than twice his age, proud men from Mexico and El Salvador who’d throw you to the East Texas dirt for trying a fancy move on them.

And according to one of his childhood friends, one time Dempsey

“did some kind of weird trick—it was so awesome—and the guy got mad and spit in his face.”

Due to the fact that us Mexicans think fútbol is our game and not the Americans’, I can certainly understand the ire of the men he schooled.

It’s hard to swallow when someone beats you at “your own game”, just ask British columnist and America’s Got Talent judge, Piers Morgan who penned this:

I honestly can’t believe we drew with the Americans. Soccer is a complete non-sport in the US. It ranks somewhere below tiddlywinks in their national competitive psyche.

Now, Dempsey might have picked up a huge assist from the wildly unpredictable Jabulani but it is certain that the glorified beach ball had nothing to do with his dissecting of Gerrard.

Major props to Dempsey and the rest of Team USA for their win draw against a tough opponent. I do feel bad for Robert Green but I’d feel worse if he played for Colombia.

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162 Years and Counting…

Ever since General Scott and his few good men made martyrs out of 6 Mexican cadets 162 years ago, Americans have not won anything in México City.

Here’s a lithograph depicting the American victory at Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War.

Battle of Chapultepec

As painful as it is for most Mexicans to remember that tragic loss, it is equally joyous to celebrate , in a lesser realm of course, México’s victory over Team USA in a World Cup qualifying match at Estadio Azteca last Wednesday (I know it’s been a week but this post has been marinating).

Needless to say, I love my adoptive country, these United States of America but when it comes to fútbol, my heart will always be with my beloved Tricolor.

Which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Team USA’s inability to win in México City, those of you who like numbers here is Team USA’s record there: 0 wins, 23 losses, 1 tie.

Before talking about the match I’d like to point out the shameless behavior of some Mexican fans during the contest. Sports Illustrated reporter Grant Wahl was doused with beer and shown double rods by one of my thoughtless and classless paisanos. Mexican nemesis Landon Donovan was doused with various bodily fluids as he was preparing to take a corner kick (below right)

Classless

Queridos compadres,
Vayan al Coloso, pónganse la verde, grítenle la porra de Jalisco al Pato Howard, pero por el amor de Dios no hagan el tipo de cosas que nos hacen ver mal a todos nosotros y que causen que unos escriban este
tipo de idioteces.

Wahl handled the classlessness of some Mexicans with class, the same cannot be said of the writer of the cited link.

On to the match…

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Two Niños Héroes Help México Destroy Team USA

No, not Juan Escutia and Fernando Montes de Oca, but wunderkinds Carlos Vela (below left) and Giovanni Dos Santos (below right). Boy, the look on Troy Perkins’ face just summarizes the second half Team USA had.

Vela Dos Santos

AP

Finally, after 10 agonizing years of Mexican fútbol futility on U.S. soil, El Tricolor de todos los Méxicanos got over their bitter rivals from the North, with a 5-0 drubbing in yesterday’s Gold Cup final due largely to the efforts of these 2 blossoming stars.

Something has been wrong with México since the conclusion of the 2007 Copa América, I believe now that that something has been swagger.  Well, even though this was neither America’s or México’s main team, I believe this win gives my countrymen a great big boost of confidence.

While there are a million things I can say the best course of action is to let these glorious highlights speak for themselves,

I will reiterate something I shared with my compadres who I watched the game with.  I like the chances of Gio and Vela delivering a World Cup title to México, but one thing at a time.

Next up:  August 12th at Azteca where Team USA has never beaten México, and where I can assure you that the Star-Spangled Banner won’t be sung by nearly the amount of people who sang México’s national anthem last Sunday at Giants Stadium.

Giants Stadium will now be known as Azteca North. Here’s a shot from Sunday:
Azteca North

AP

México Actually Wins a Penalty Shootout

Mexican fans you know the routine. In an elimination match, you better hope that El Tri wins in the first 90 minutes or if not then manages to put the match away during the 30 minute overtime, why?

Because as all of us know, Mexican fútbolistas are inept at taking penalty kicks. The memories are many and are painful.

There was the ’86 World Cup quarterfinals when ze Germans bested México 4-1 in a penalty shootout. While it’s easy to blame then Mexican goalie, Pablo Larios, let’s keep in mind that his teammates couldn’t beat the German keeper. [Let’s not even mention Hugo Sanchez’ annulled goal, grrrrrr]

Then there was the ’94 World Cup Round of 16 against Bulgaria. Even though, yes Mexican keeper Jorge Campos (below right) could have better lived up to the hype his ridiculous jersey’s generated, his teammates wilted at the 11-meter dot and couldn’t buy a penalty kick. The Bulgarian keeper was the Germans and my countrymen’s penalty takers were the French.
Jorge Campos

On a lesser scale there was the harrowing loss to the hated Argentines in the 2005 Confederations Cup. In that case, my countrymen made their kicks only to have national team luminary Ricardo Osorio miss a sudden death penalty kick.

My point with all this historical hash is that my countrymen have shown an iniquitous ineptitude to execute penalty kicks and/or block them. What do you expect when your goalies’ height haven’t even come close to 6′? (This is slowly changing)

All that changed last night when my native land’s 11 bested Costa Rica in a penalty shootout in the Gold Cup Semifinal.

The frustrated/jubilant thoughts of a Mexican after the jump…

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This Should Drive any Fútbol-loving “Minuteman” Bonkers

No, I don’t refer to the usage of a Spanish word in reference to the group of ‘concerned’ citizens which has done so much to bolster US-Mexican relations (below).

MinutemanAP
Where’s the love?

Rather, this is in reference to the fact, that as of right now, the highly-anticipated World Cup qualifier between US-México on August 16 will not be aired in English in these United States.

Which, for this transplanted Mexican, is not that big of a loss, and this for a variety of reasons. First, ESPN would have been the channel to air the match and we don’t have cable. Secondly, even if we did have cable I’d much rather watch fútbol on Spanish television.

Whether it’s Telemundo with Andrés Cantor or Univision/Telefutura with Pablo Ramírez and Jesús Bracamontes, the Spanish guys call a much better game than anything ESPN can put together.

As for my monolingual fellow fútbol fans who are trying to get a petition going to get the game in English. What in the world for?

Telemundo will carry the game and none other than Mr. Cantor will provide exciting play-by-play. Granted, it will be in a language you won’t understand but who’s counting? Spanish is everywhere you turn and give or take 50 years, oh never mind.

Besides, events like Tim Howard’s bellyaching (gloriously captured below) back in February are much more colorfully presented in Español.
SOCCER-WORLD/

Yes, I know Rafa Marquez is a dirty player, and hit Howard. However, I also know that the replay showed that on this particular play, “El Pato” Howard as Univision’s Pablo Ramirez so lovingly calls him, hit Marquez hard on the back. Rafa gets tossed, Howard stays in the game, oh well. I won’t get into how Giovanni Dos Santos was dragged down in front of the U.S. goal.

As far as August 12th is concerned, to paraphrase an infamous movie character, soon we will reveal ourselves to the Norteamericanos, soon we will have revenge.

Maybe Team USA Thought They Were Playing México

It is quite possible that the only people who thought that the U.S. Men’s National Team had a shot against Spain, FIFA’s #1-ranked team, were the 11 guys on the pitch and their half-Vulcan coach (only thing missing are the ears, must be an autosomal recessive allele).

The best some fans of the red, white and blue were hoping for was at least a good showing (i.e. an 0-2 loss).

Prose and verse could be committed to endless reams of paper in praise of the American back line, the main reason Team USA pulled off the upset. Most notable among them was central defender, Oguchi Onyewu.

Univision’s Pablo Ramírez glossed him “Oguchi the Omnipresent” in reference to Onyewu blocking and winning balls all over the pitch. “Oguchi, siempre, Oguchi…”, another Ramírez instant classic.

I watched the match twice (part of it during my lunch hour, and the whole thing in the evening when Telefutura replayed it) and one thing became evident to me.

Team USA’s performance looked eerily familiar, why? Because their effort yesterday mirrored what they put on display when they play my beloved Tri. Opportunistic scoring and impregnable defense are the hallmarks of the Americans’ game against their bitter rivals to the South.

The only difference, of course, is that yesterday, the Spanish players didn’t employ any of the classless tactics sometimes employed by my countrymen (below).

rafa marquez

Congrats to Bob Bradley and the rest of Team USA.