Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Time To Say Good-Bye?

Tonight Club America "fell" in the final of the Copa Sudamericana to Argentine side Arsenal by a margin of 0 goals in their 4-4 aggregate "defeat" thanks to the away goal rule.

Those Blessed Refs

If at first it may have seemed to be sour grapes on the part of Mexican sides, it's become a troubling coincidence that in the final stages of CONMEBOL competitions where Mexican sides are involved, refs have a coincidental habit of erring in favor of the South Americans.

Forgotten cards of both colors, swallowed whistles, and uneven calls seem to the the day's special whenever a Mexican side is involved.

The first leg of the final, and tonight were no exceptions. Two missed red cards in the first leg, a goal from Arsenal that comes after an Arsenal player clearly handles the ball, and a number of questionable "soft" calls throughout the game helped Arsenal come out with a 3-2 lead from Estadio Azteca.

In tonight's match up, Salvador Cabañas is fouled in the box, clear as day and the ref swallows the whistle and forgets his red card. That's two goals, one in favor and one against, that were influenced by the referee's inability or unwillingness to see infractions.

Defense? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Defense

Much like some said that Pete Vagenas finally passed the ball too far back in the SuperLiga final between LA Galaxy and CF Pachuca, it can be said that America's defense finally messed up too much.

Club America practically played with a backline of 4: Ochoa, and the 3 posts. The 'defenders' on the field did nothing that actually resembled defending.

For years, Club America has neglected reinforcing a weakened backline, whose last major upgrade came in 2001 when Castro and both Ricardo and Oscar Rojas debuted for America under Manuel Lapuente. Davino, however, has been with the club for 10 years... 9 too many if you ask me.

Time to Say Good-Bye?

Club America President Guillermo Cañedo Jr. posed an interesting question after tonight's game. He suggested that the time will come when FMF will have to decide if Mexican sides really want to continue having to pay on the field for being allowed to participate.

With the growth in competitive level of MLS sides, the establishment of the SuperLiga, and the time consuming CONCACAF Champions League, maybe FMF should say good-bye to South America.

The South American fans have never made it a secret that they are not happy with Mexican presence, and neither have the referees.

I don't know who stands to lose more.

Mexican sides who lose the 'prestige' of these competitions, and the experience of facing "quality" sides.

Or CONMEBOL who would lose strong competitors [reverting to Argentine-Brazilian domination] and additionally all the additional sponsorship money that Mexican sides bring in.

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