Friday, February 15, 2008

Ridiculously good soccer! Why aren't we watching?

In the handful of years before the Dynamo arrived in Houston, there was a soccer quickening priming my life in a variety of ways such that when I found myself somehow looking from the outside in as my town became MLS vested I embraced club soccer and MLS with an unaccustomed and unexpected passion. Here I was in a cold exile from my humid lands and club soccer, subconsciously infused with incipient jungle bayou swamp longing, infected me like dengue fever. My soccer consciousness in the BD era, before dynamo, consisted of a relaxed and easy fandom for the USMNT which was really only exercised during the big world or regional cup tournaments. 2006 changed all that.

MLS has made me a better USMNT fan and as I was miraculously and gratefully able to move back to Houston thus enabling a true immersion in soccer, (nothing beats club soccer, nothing!) I can now say that I love I gay?

Living as I do in Texico, mexican soccer has always existed in my life; viewed more as something peripheral and anthropological than as something vital and personal. Mexican soccer was quickly passed over for the wacky magic of Sabado Gigante or the brute salaciousness of some other univision/telefutura show but in no small way the liga mexicana, especially the much hyped and loved el super clasico, served as my first recognition, pale flickering and moth-like as it was, of the passion and power of club soccer.

Now that soccer and more significantly club soccer, viva naranja!, has claimed my soul, I now fully undestand and appreciate the gravity of mexican soccer and I have to ask........Why the hell aren't more american soccer fans watching?

The league is accessible without cable or an expensive premium sports package, it's on our continent, and it's a world class league that happens to employ a postseason playoff system as MLS does.

Remember watching with pleasure on Feb. 6th as Clint Dempsey occasionally maneuvered himself out of tight situations with flair and skill? Remember? Hell! I watched a match on the 13th pitting, if there was an overall table, the fourth team in Toluca versus the number 14 team in Cruz Azul that had gorgeous creativity and skillful flair employed all over the all players... all match long.

i can recall at least ten amazing moves and passes that would make Dempsey eat his liver in the first 45 alone. These two teams never stopped attacking each other and the movement and runs off the ball were brilliant. The gameplay flowed from player to player, team against team for a full 90 minutes.

Remember that break Bobby Convey had in the first half of the mexico/us game? Yeah, the one where he had space in front of him and he needed to make a run into the middle but inexplicably he tried to take the ball to the wing because his brain was screaming at him, "must put in a cross! Put in a cross!" The moment was lost as was possession. We need to send some guys to mexico so they can learn the flowing creative balling type of soccer I watched on wednesday night.

Soccer is simply one huge game of playground basketball and success lies in the players' movements off the ball, setting up each other with runs in and out of space. How many times did you scream at the USMNT during the mexico game, "Somebody make a run! Make a run." (playtherapy's in game jozy observations) As I watched the Toluca and Cruz Azul players buzzing around the field linking up with one another diagonally, vertically, horizontally and every which way--it was beautiful.

There's a stupid rumor that Benny Feilhaber may end up in orange, for the sake of the USMNT let's hope it's the orange of the jaguares de chiapas.

So all you anglophiles and sycophantic euro soccer lovers go ahead and watch fox soccer channel on 2/23 as fulham v. west ham or derby v. wigan desperately grind about the field spraying prayerful long balls hoping for a miracle goal. I'll be watching monterrey v. atlas or guadalajara v. san luis and hopefully some nutmegged readers will join me and we can get some answers to the question of why aren't we watching.

1 comment:

playtherapy said...

Holy chingalita frijoles, I get an adrenaline rush just reading you. BTW- was I that bloody loud that you could hear me screaming, "make a run" over the crowd noise and that wave- ole ole thing that makes fans slobber worse than on thorazine or haldol?

I'd watch more Futbal Mexicano if I had more info on who the players were. That and the way the players move around annually- seemingly like putting my 3 yr. old son's various Playmobile National Team Figures in a shoe box, giving them a good shake and then randommly taking them out one by one for each team. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason to this, stars go to bitter rivals after the (whatcha call them- there's a name for these) GM-type meetings where players shop for new teams. I've never understood the process but read an article ages ago on how it worked. Perhaps you can illuminate?