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How wild was last night?
If you watched Mexico-Panama last night hoping to get some insight into the U.S. national team's biggest rival you were treated to a night filled with ugliness, absurdity and unintentional comedy. It was okay to laugh, but also okay to be angry.
Why angry when it was Mexico, and its fans, who were left looking silly? Anytime fan violence takes place at soccer games in this country it just adds more ammo to the soccer haters who love any chance they get to ridicule the sport. As much as you may have wanted to laugh at the mayhem at Reliant Stadium, that amusement came at the cost of some respectability for the sport of soccer.
What did I think of Aguirre's Rockette impression? I think it was foolish but not vicious or really intentional. I know U.S. fans want to pile on but I think Aguirre was just guilty of a clumsy late challenge that even Pablo Mastroeni would have considered poor (okay, so not everyone got this joke. Listen, Aguirre thought the ball was dead and put his leg in, Phillips ran into him and that's pretty much it. Aguirre was dumb for being so close to the field and the referee was dumber for giving Ricardo Phillips a red card).
So what else is going on? Here are some other news tidbits, observations and notes to consider as we get through Friday:
The Charlie Davies transfer saga is finally over (we think). First, L'Equipe reported the deal was done, then Davies denied that it was done via Twitter, but now Sochaux has announced that the transfer is done pending a physical. If it is done this time, then that's good news, although it could mean the end of Davies' Gold Cup participation.
Red Bulls fans can't be happy about hearing that the club wants to sign hot-shot U.S. Under-20 prospect Dilly Duka but were rejected by MLS. The New York Post reported on Thursday that the club tried to sign him but were denied by MLS. So what's the story? The word I've gotten is that the Red Bulls have been denied Duka because he wasn't an official academy player before attending Rutgers (he is now a member of the Red Bulls Under-20 team). Teams must have contact The rule is in place to keep MLS teams from raiding area colleges of young talent and claiming them through their youth systems. So basically, even though the Red Bulls are ready to sign Duka, and he sounds very interested in signing with the Red Bulls, it won't happen.
Let's keep it on the subject on Generation adidas. If you're hoping for your team to sign one of its youth academy players to a Generation adidas contract you may have to wait a while. I'm hearing that the funds used to pay for Generation adidas players are tightand MLS isn't going to approve any new players unless it is a truly special player. Is the lack of funding recession-related, or just a case of MLS having already signed its share of players to Generation adidas contract? Who knows, but it is becoming more and more absurd how many obstacles stand in the way of MLS teams landing quality young talent.
My ESPN story on the U.S. team's first two Gold Cup matches should be up later today so keep an eye out for that. Among the topics is Freddy Adu, who had a disappointing Gold Cup to say the least. As much as he deserves criticism, he also shouldn't be written off. He's 20 and is still a very skillful player. He just needs games and without games his form will continue to diminish. I said it months ago, and say it again, Adu needs to consider a league like Denmark or Belgium, where he could potentially find a starting role. It isn't as glamorous as France or Portugal, but he needs the experience. You need only look at Benny Feilhaber as someone who benefited from a move to a smaller European league.
That's all for now. Feel free to share your thoughts on any of these subjects in the comments section below.
The attempts to squash criticism of Aguirre, El Tri and their fans are counter productive. There is something wrong with this organization that runs deep. I and many others thought Aguirre would bring El Tri back to civility, but their system seems broken beyond repair. From poor sportsmanship (the only team I know that constantly disrespects the other players and countries), to Nery, Marquez, and Oswaldo going berserk, to assistant off field attacks, to Aguirre inserting himself on the field of play. There is something rotten in Denmark. Silence is not the answer or cure.
The RBNY front office is completely incompetent. This is an awful, awful blunder. They don’t even know the rules of their own league! Shame on you Agoos, Stover, and Osorio. Stupid crap like this makes me wonder why I spend my hard earned money on season tickets.
I think what Freddy Adu really needs to do is go back to the MLS. I am starting to think that he will be another Landon Donovan. A guy who cant make it in Europre but dominates the MLS, and performs well for the US team. If he does well for the US, that I am happy. So I think it is something Adu should look into, and maybe down the road when he is a little older he will be able to make it in Europe.
As for Davies, I am happy that he is signing for a bigger club than he is at now, although I think that he could join a bigger club. I also hope that he stays with the club for the rest of the tournament.
Aguirre’s kick was 2 feet short of the ball, 2 feet high, late, and he was looking at Phillips not the ball. The ball was rolling straight not bouncing, there’s no reason to miss it by so much. I know why people say that he was trying to stop the ball — because it’s nearly impossible to believe a coach would do something so dumb as to kick a player. But that is what the video clip shows. As El Universal headlined: He lost his mind and attacked a player.
GREAT ESPN ARTICLE IVES. I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID. WHY DO YOU NOT EVER LINK YOUR ARTICLES IN HERE??? would totally increase your ESPN readership.
(sometimes I don’t even know about them)
Mason, I think that we agree but we’re just explaining different parts of the situation. I was just making the point that it happens. Obviously people do lie about their age and get away with it for different reasons. And both of us definitely do not think that Adu is older than he says he is.
Look, a Ghanaian winning the Green Card lottery isn’t going to knowingly falsify the documents. No way. No how. The DV lottery has about a 2% change of awarding a visa to an African, and there’s a lot more scrutiny of the winners than there is of, say, a boy moving in with his visa-holding father in New York. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s a hell of a leap to make considering the hoops that the Adu family jumped through.
Furthermore, did you read the article to which you linked? Danny Almonte was allowed to stay because he had no idea what had happened. He didn’t even speak English at the time. His father was banned for life from LL, charged with filing false documents in the DR, and prevented from extending his US visa when it expired. Being a minor is nice like that, and I doubt that Filipe Almonte would do again what he did.
Filipe Almonte lied with a specific goal in mind. He lied about his son’s age. He lied about his son’s schooling (matters for whether Almonte was even eligible). His goal, however was not to fraudulently obtain US visas and citizenship for his son. It was to get his kid into Little League for which he was ineligible to play. Lying about a nine-year-old’s birthday on visa documents in order to get him onto older age-group teams (that’s what the outcome was) doesn’t make sense.
guys, everyone take a deep breath and relax. Freddy plays the most difficult position on the pitch (basically a CAM in a team not built for one) unlike say, a winger or a striker, a CAM cannot take a minute off the play (Altidore loafs around the pitch a bunch, but he scores enough that his often sloppy occasionally disconnected play is forgiven. no one expects him to fire the team engine on his own (not his job, of course) When Bradley was developing for the past 18 months, his father wisely used him in more of a defensive role, and he started to grow into his attacking role as he matured.
think for a second, if you will. take the top twenty teams in the world, give or take. how many have a starting striker under 21? more than one or two. how many have a starting winger that age? a couple? how many have a starting offensive midfielder at 20? how many count on a 20yo to drive their offense? maybe Argentina?
Mason, did you read what I wrote? I said I have absolutely no reason to believe that Adu is not the age he says he is. I just said that it’s not inconceivable for athletes–in soccer, baseball, whatever–to have falsified their age because it happens frequently. You seemed to think that because of the consequences there is no conceivable way it could happen. Of course I agree that the risks are not worth it but there are the facts. And I don’t know what you’re talking about with only rich people with falsified documents being allowed to stay. And it definitely happens at a young age. Familiar with Danny Almonte? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Almonte
He’s certainly not rich or old and he was not his age and was allowed to stay
Mason, I wouldn’t say that the punishments are too severe for it to never happen. There’s a long tradition of baseball players from the Caribbean lying about their age or having false documents.
Carribean ballplayers lie for other reasons. In addition to lying to be younger and thus more talented at a tender age, MLB teams can’t sign players younger than 14, so they lie to be older.
As for punishment: Loss of citizenship, potential exclusion from future visas, and deportation aren’t severe enough for you? The reason the baseball players who are found out are given visas is because they are rich (and thus able to pay the fines/lawyers) and contribute lots in tax dollars (and thus we want them here playing their trade). At “seven” years old, Freddy Adu had neither of those things going for him. There just wasn’t any incentive for his parents to lie about the boy’s age.
“Or are they just hiding/ignoring like they did after Adu stook his foot up their behinds with his 3 stellar performeces in the 2008 3 Super-friendlies.”
Alright Harry, we get that you love Freddy Adu. Here is the difference, and perhaps the “reason” we are “hiding” our conspiracy theory fallacies.
I like Freddy Adu. The kid is 20yrs old, and has pleeeenty of time to mature. Yes, I think people here jump all over him whenever he has a bad match. However, it is a equal reaction to fans like you, who continuously pine over performances that in the long run mean very little. Let me explain:
You speak about the friendly matches as if they are a litmus test for potential greatness. Let me tell you something, friendlies are just that…friendly matches that have no consequences nor any repercussions. As a result, there is little to lose or gain, ergo the level of competition and strength of the rate of play inevitably diminishes. This is not to say that friendly matches do not say anything about a players potential or skill, but it is simply meant to state that it is certainly hasty to think that a player that performs well in a friendly will do well in major competition. E.G. Landon Donovan scored 3 goals in Bayern Munich friendly matches, but was unable tp generate the confidence in his manager to play him in competitive matches, and when given the chance, had little impact.
Now, you seem to think that Adu was this amazing performer in the summer of 2008. The England match, Freddy made no impact. The Spain and Argentina match, Freddy was impressive, very impressive. Those two matches, along with the Switzerland and 2007 U-20 WC matches are the ONLY matches where in which Adu has been rated high. Here is the conclusion.
Your theory of this conspiracy suggests that a player with a few great performances in Monaco friendly matches, two excellent shows of skill in international friendly matches, a good switzerland friendly, and a youth WC over the period of two years is enough to supplant Dempsey, Donovan, or Bradley for a starting role in international competitive matches? Any manager anywhere would tell you that such an idea is mental, particularly if, pardon me, but that same player plays awfully in a competitive match against a squad like Honduras? Sorry man, it’s just not enough to give him the reins that you want him to hold.
Freddy is skilled, audacious, and tricky. He is also grossly out of form. Freddy needs to find a club that will start him. He needs to be in form. He needs to train hard and win the respect and admiration of his peers and coaches. He needs to learn to be a consistent performer, day in and day out, and then he can have his chance to supplant someone for a starting spot. Until then, I challenge you post something besides your obvious hero worship for Freddy Adu in a lovefest that seemingly never ends.
It’s rare that I disagree strongly with Ives, but in this case, I have to say that I think Javier did more than just play for the ball. You don’t continue to elevate your legs to stop a rolling ball, and honestly, his leg rose to the height of trapping a poorly struck cross…
Do I think he was trying to hurt Phillips? No, but clearly he was not thinking about what he was doing. In my opinion, Javier got a bit too involved with what was going on on the pitch (brutal nature of the match) and it got under his skin. I think he initially moved to the ball, then thought to give the player a little tap to get under his skin.
That being said, the real criminals here are the referee, the Mexican fans, and the habitual behavior we have seen out of the Mexican National team whenever they don’t get their way. First of all, that referee HAS NOT A CLUE on how to officiate the match. Two instances that I saw involving a player making a challenge on the keeper Ochoa were red cardable offenses, and neither of them even received a yellow. Also, his inability to control the match resulted in that fiasco we saw at the end. Coupled with a mixture of terrible no calls and flop friendly make-ups, this guy had a disaster,
Second, there is no excusing the conduct of the Mexican fans. CONCACAF needs to get itself together. The FA has repeatedly find and santioned fans for their conduct and behavior, why can’t CONCACAF do the same?
Last, the Mexican National Team is famous for a few things…arrogance, poor sportsmanship, and the bombardment of an official after a match that didn’t go as planned. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times I have witnessed the Mexican squad, usually led by the supposed “class act” Rafa Marquez, gather around an official and assault him with profane appeals and ridiculous exhortions. Something needs to be done. It’s absurd, ridiculous, and quite frankly very Didier Drogbaish..