Category Archives: chicharito

Chicharito is really a Targaryen

Little Pea Hernandez has the skill to score with most any part of his body. But as this weekend’s contest proved, his new nickname should be Targaryen Hernandez — Targaryen-andez! What???! Shut up! I just crushed it with that!

In the final game of Confederations group stage, Mexico and Japan played for pride. Both went into the third game with zero points and zero chance of advancing. Thanks to great skills and ball movement from the rest of the team (I’m looking at you, Gio!), Chicharito was able to score twice for Mexico. (We’ll just ignore how he failed to convert a penalty and its rebound.) Both those goals were genius headers.

confederations2013-mexjap-hernandezgoal1

confederations2013-mexjap-hernandezgoal2

Chicharito’s head is pure gold. You know who else has a golden head?

Viserys'_crowning

Yep, that jackass. But we all know that he doesn’t make it, and Dani tells us why. Chicharito has survived the molten gold and proved himself a true dragon. Make room. There’s a Targaryen-andez lurking on this world.

For those who want to relive a great Game of Thrones scene from Season 1

PHOTOS: Javier/Chicharito/Targaryen-andez Hernandez scores in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Japan. And Viserys Targaryen gets crowned.

Chicharito transfer rumors: Good for me


By now the whole world knows that Chicharito is the odd man out in Manchester United. That team is stacked with talent and striking power and Chicharito hasn’t seen as many minutes (translate: scored as much) as he has in the past. Now with the acquisition of Golanda’s Robin van Persie, the transfer rumors heat up all over again.

It’s hard to hear transfer rumors circling one your favorites, especially after being with the club for so few years. I feel unappreciated. I feel overlooked. I feel like I’m wasting my best years keeping the bench seats warm. That’s how I feel. Who knows how Chicharito feels? Apparently, when he’s hanging with his Mexican friends, he could care less about Manchester United. Good for you, Javi!

It’s particularly painful for me because of how Hollywood-perfect his story of ascension was. Many years ago, pre South Africa, scouts had seen Chicharito play for the Chivas of Guadalajara. He impressed them much. Obvio. But they wanted to wait to make a move on him because he was still chavito. And then the epiphany landed. Dude, what if this guy goes to the World Cup and has a break-out performance? (He did.) The deal was so secretive and so fast that no one really knew what had happened until Chicharito was filling out work waiver forms. He became the first Mexican at ManU and scored 20 goals that first year.

As much as I feel that Fergie is ungrateful. I actually welcome these rumors… anything that’ll put Chicharito on Real Madrid. It’ll make my life easier tracking him if he’s playing on my beloved team. It gets difficult keeping tabs on all your players, especially when they play in different leagues, different countries, different continents. To me, Chicharito and La Liga makes perfect sense. (Just not at Camp Nou!)

He can continue to impress the European clubs tonight as Mexico closes out its first stage of WCQ2014 with a game against El Salvador tonight, 6 p.m. PST

The heavy punches of Mexican soccer


This is a jab – jab – uppercut of Mexican national soccer news. Mainly because I’ve been lazy and continuing my MIA phoning-it-in session.

FIFA is starting to make amends with me. In September, they had the gall to place Mexico out of the top 20. For October, after two World Cup qualifying wins against Costa Rica, they have reinstated the tricolores in the top 20. We’re now, according to FIFA, #19. *shouldershrug* I still think the big European bureaucracy is operating from a deficit model. If it’s not European (or to a larger extent, South American), it’s not good football.

How else to explain England at no. 5, Greece at #10 (who played against 110th ranked Lithuania)??

Because of Mexico’s wins against Costa Rica, they’re assured advancing to the next round of CONCACAF’s World Cup qualification. And so we were more than accommodating when Guyana wanted to change their “home” game to a “neutral” site — Texas. I don’t know/care for the rationale that led Guyana to choose Texas as a neutral site when the USMNT struggles to find home-field advantage at times against Mexico.

That’s beside the point. I’m sure the drubbing that occurred Friday night would have happened in any location.

Mexico delivered a late-round TKO. After a frustrating 77 minutes of attack-after-scoreless-attack, the ball finally found the back of the net, thanks to Andres Guardado. What followed was a flurry of five goals in eight minutes. Once again, because that bears repeating, that’s FIVE goals in EIGHT minutes. That’s an average of a goal every minute and 36 seconds.

Of course, one of them was an own goal by Guyana. But that shit’s bound to happen when the action is perpetually parked in front of your goal.

Next up, Mexico enters the ring with El Salvador on Tuesday. Will it be another 10 rounds? Will Mexico land some punches early on? Will it get caught on the ropes? Will I stop making boxing references? I think so.

PHOTO: Guyana knocked out! skadoosh

Pre-game pep talk: Borrowing from a Lannister

Don’t be scared, boys. It’s only Brazil… and Neymar’s hair.

I’ll give it to you straight. This is not really a “friendly.” It’s  a big effing “frenemy-ly.” Brazil is a great team on a wicked winning streak. But, come on! You’re no bunch of slouches either!!! And listen to that crowd… they scream PUUUUTO for you, not at you. Sure, this isn’t our field, but who’s kidding whom? Dallas?! This is no neutral field?? The people are on your side. Hear them. Feed off them.

So… Man up, uncover yourselves and let Chicharito lead the attack.

Those are brave men knocking on our door. Let’s go kill them!!!

Mexico v. Brazil
Sunday, June 3
3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT

“Top” that!

What’s up with Chicharito? Have you heard?

I’ve been caught up in my own world of Champions League and La Liga play as of late. Manchester United has been out of the UEFA tournament for a few months and, well, they don’t play in the Spanish league. Obvi

…which is why I was surprised when the first news of Chicharito I heard was this mierda:
Should Chicharito still be considered the top Mexican player?

umm… Yeah!

The whole point of the article is that he hasn’t been performing as much this year as he did in his hot-out-the-gate season last year. Meanwhile, over at Real Sociedad, Carlos Vela (pictured above), on loan from Arsenal, has been spectacularly racking up goals. His latest was an overhead goal against Villareal. And if people weren’t paying attention to him before, this will surely put him on someone’s radar.

Vela has scored 11 goals this season, including five in the last five games. Chicharito has 12 goals*. *Caveat: counting all goals with team, not just league play.

I’m not betting grandma’s house on a one-goal differential. I’m just interested in figuring out what makes a “top” player. And why must there be just one? “The top Mexican player”? It really depends on what skills you value the most — goal-scoring capacity, speed, agility, acumen, confidence, sportsmanship, aerial acrobatics.

Look how high he jumps. He's only 5'8"

And how he scores with the back of his head, and still just 5'8"

On the homefront, I’ve finally upgraded my cable to a sports package that’s chock-full of soccer channels I longed for, but wasn’t subscribed to, and others I didn’t even know existed (yippee!). Armed with this, I’m going to conduct my own one-person survey, polled after watching both men’s next games. First up, Vela. Real Sociedad plays again Saturday. Then, on Monday, Manchester United goes against Manchester City. I’ll see who plays, who scores, who assists, who’s an overall playmaker.

Bias Disclosure Time: I like Chicharito. He might not do more than cheerlead from the seats and I’ll still give it to him. The point then? Oh yeah, watch good soccer. Obvi.

Set your DVRs: It’s the return of Chicharito

Boy Wonder Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will be back with the Mexican national team this evening in its second friendly of the year. It’s been too long!

But wait, there’s more. Memo Ochoa is back. Rafa is back. Gio and his brother Jonathan are back. Personal favorite Chuy Corona is back.

Even with so much strong Mexican talent coming together, El Tri aren’t favored to win. Colombia has a lot of talent too and a new coach (meaning players are going to be showing off their talents).

For those of us on the West Coast, the game starts at 5 p.m., which means I’ll be stuck in traffic and missing the first half. But that’s alright… I’ve taken precautionary measures. Here’s the info you’ll need to set those DVRs:

5 p.m. PST, UNIVISION

Team Rosters

I went through and highlighted the players I was excited to see for personal and professional reasons. Of course, there’s more on the Mex team, mainly because I’m more aware of them.

COLOMBIA

Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Niza/FRA); Luis Martínez (Once Caldas/COL).

Defenders: Mario Alberto Yepes (Milán/ITA); Pablo Armero (Udinese/ITA); Camilo Zúñiga (Nápoli/ITA); Luis Amaranto Perea (Atlético de Madrid/SPA); Cristian Zapata (Villareal/SPA); Bernardo Espinosa (Racing de Santander/SPA); Aquivaldo Mosquera (América/MEX)

Midfielders: Carlos Sánchez (Valenciennes/FRA); Abel Aguilar (Hércules/SPA); James Rodríguez (FC Porto/POR); Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Lecce /ITA); Elkin Soto (Mainz 05/GER); Giovanni Moreno (Racing de Avellaneda/ARG); Aldo Leao Ramírez (Morelia/MEX); Gustavo Bolívar (Deportes Tolima/COL)

Forwards: Radamel Falcao García (Atlético de Madrid/SPA); Jakson Martínez (Jaguares/MEX); Teófilo Gutiérrez (Racing de Avellaneda/ARG); Dayro Moreno (Once Caldas/COL); Dorlan Pabón (Atlético Nacional/COL)

MEXICO

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (AC Ajaccio/FRA); Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul/MEX)

Defenders: Rafa Márquez (New York Red Bulls/USA), Héctor Moreno (RCD Espanyol de Barcelona/SPA), Francisco Javier Rodríguez (Club VfB Stuttgart/GER), Enrique Pérez (Morelia/MEX), Efraín Juárez (Celtic/ESC), Hugo Ayala (Tigres/MEX), Carlos Salcido (Tigres/MEX)

Midfielders: Andrés Guardado (Deportivo La Coruña/SPA), Jonathan Dos Santos (FC Barcelona/SPA); Pablo Barrera (Real Zaragoza/SPA), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres/MEX), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey/MEX), Gerardo Lugo (Morelia/MEX), Damián Álvarez (Tigres/MEX)

Forwards: Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (Manchester United/ENG), Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham Hotspur FC/ENG), Oribe Peralta (Santos/MEX), Miguel Sabah (Morelia/MEX)

PHOTO: Players I’m most excited to see include Chicharito, Rafa, Gio, Jonathan, Chuy y Memo.

A win for the Napoleon Complex

This weekend was Mexico’s last game of the year. All in all, clenbuterol scandal aside, 2011 was a very good year for El Tri. They won the Gold Cup and briefly broke into FIFA’s Top 10. Even the chamacos exhilarated with the performance of the summer, taking the U-17 World Cup trophy and sweeping boot honors.

The capstone of the year — thank god — was a 2-0 win against Serbia. Who cares about rankings or closing it our good years: It was more important to win for self-esteem issues: That game looked like some serious mofos (Serbs) versus a bunch of pipsqueaks pretending at professional play (Mexicans). I mean, just look at the photo above.

Serbia TOWERED over Mexican players. They threw farther than Mex kicked. They toyed with the little players and shoved them around the field. Need proof:  Just look for Chicharito’s grass stains. When Mexicans jumped, they barely reached Serb shoulder height.

Tallest Mexican at 6'2" still works for height advantage

I did a little research (off Soccernet and Wikipedia). After crunching the numbers, here are the highlights:

  • The tallest guy on the Mexican squad was captain Maza Rodriguez at 6’2″ (Maybe that’s why they made him captain, eh???)
  • The shortest guy for Mexico, who was a second-half substitute, was Sinha at 5’4″ (A long lost Little, maybe???)
  • Key players Guardado is 5’7″, Chicharito is 5’8″, Gio Dos Santos and Carlos Salcido are 5’9″
  • Mexican height average: 5’10” (I rounded up)
  • The SHORTEST guy on Serbian squad was TALLER than the Mexican average. (Milos Ninkovic is 5’11”. He’s also the only 5-footer in the opening lineup.)
  • Their tallest player should be in another sport. (Nikola Zigic is 6’7½” and should play basketball.)
  • Serbian height average: 6’2″ (I rounded down)

This win wasn’t just for Mexico, it was for all us who wish we were taller than we are and who tend to round up all the time (so yeah, I guess it was for Mexico). To festering Napoleon Complexes!!!

PHOTOS: AP

Mexico wins World Cup. Why the hell not?

Chícharito! You’ve just won your first Cup victory with El Tri, taken the MVP award and the golden boot to boot. What are you going to do now?

Maybe he won’t go to Disneyland… but he was in Southern California this weekend. It’s not a far detour.

Though he didn’t score any goals in the final match against the USA, he did score seven of Mexico’s 22 goals throughout the tournament.

Like he said in an Univision video (at 58 seconds): “Aquí lo que importa es que ganamos, aquí no importa quien meta los goles… al contrario, [importa] quien está ahí para poder apoyar ya sea dentro o fuera de la cancha.”

Translation: What matters here is that we won, not who scored the goals. On the contrary, what matters is who is there to be able to support either on or off the field.

Gold Cup is now in the rear view. On the horizon, Sub-17 World Cup, Women’s World Cup, Copa America and Brazil 2014. Yo Chícharito, do you think México will take that Big Cup?

¿y por qué no?

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What’s with all the drama queens?

CONCACAF — in all its iterations and manifestations — is nothing but a teenage drama queen.

Why can’t I just focus on the somewhat mediocre play — highlighted by Mexican brilliance — and be done with it? But nooooo, they just have to throw salt all up in my Gold Cup cheerios.

The 2011 Gold Cup just ended in spectacular fashion this weekend in front of a record 93,420 crowd at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. Yeah, most fans were pro-Mexico. That’s a given. Even if the final had not been between Mexico and the U.S., most of the fans would be pro-Mexico. It’s just the nature of the game, the location, the fans, the chance to be on Univision… The stars and stripes had no chance to cash in on a home-field advange (Drama #1).

But Mexico did make it — unbeaten and as the heavy favorite. Even without five of their original players who earlier tested positive for banned clenbuterol (Drama #2).

Alas, they fell behind (Drama #3). But you know what shuts up a a small USA-rooting minority in the stands? 90,000 fans drowning them out when the opposing team erases any advantage before the end of the first half (Drama #4)…

… Taking the lead in the 50th minute (Drama #5) and running circles around a fallen goalie for the cherry-on-top comeback (Drama #6).

Ok, some of the drama is good. All of it really. That’s what makes these games great fun to watch. That’s why, as a Mexico fan, you don’t leave the stands and try to beat the traffic when your team is down 0-2. That’s why you DVR the game even though you’re watching it from Section 13 of the Rose Bowl.

Enter Drama #7:  Tim Howard calling the mostly Spanish closing ceremony a “fucking disgrace.” Did he ever consider it being just “fucking practical” (See Drama #1)?

That’s it. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not going to get into what Timmy said, what he meant, if it’s right, if it’s racist.

Once you’ve peeled away all this drama, I hope you’ll see that this was an amazing game. Such resolve on both ends of the field.

CONCACAF has been faulted in the past for many things, not least of which that it really only has two dominant teams. The level of competition — looking at you, Cuba… sorry — isn’t that high. So winning the Gold Cup shouldn’t have been that difficult to do for either Mexico or the U.S.

Honestly, what this win is more than anything… is a ticket to the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup!

PHOTO: Andres Guardado, Gio dos Santos, Chicharito celebrate during the final ceremony at the Pasadena Rose Bowl (Getty Images)

 

NBA keeps stealing Mexico’s thunder

 

Who would you rather watch? A guy that hasn’t lived up the hype or a guy who surpassed it in the first 90 minutes of play??

I get that I live in a country where football needs a qualifying adjective for most people to understand me. I get that the NBA season is wrapping up  with two teams furiously battling it out with very little breathing room. And I get that one of those teams is the Miami Heat and all eyes are on LeBron and what he can do and what he hasn’t done in consecutive 4th quarters.

What I don’t get is a world que se empeña en atormentarme!

I am a basketball fan, to be sure. But nothing — not LeBron’s holy grail quest for a ring or Dirk’s — will trump my erratic, passionate, oblivious, fervent, zealous, TORMENTED regard for El Tri.

Apparently, the Powers That Be kept forcing me into a Sofia‘s choice: basketball playoffs or international soccer tourney.

ARGHH… I choose Gold Cup.

Every two years teams from North America and the Caribbean play for a shot at the Gold Cup. Mexico entered as a favorite and defending champion. It kicked off Sunday, June 5.

Mexico played against El Salvador in the second game that day. It started at 5 p.m. PST.

Oh, but guess what else was scheduled to start at that EXACT SAME TIME?? Game 3 — the one where Miami won by 2 points.

Fast forward a few days and Mexico is due to play its second group game. This time it’s against Cuba. What time did you say that was again? The EXACT SAME TIME as Game 5 — the one where Dallas finally pulled ahead and LeBron scored a whopping 2 points in the fourth quarter.

Not even the blaring headlines that preceded Mexico’s game were enough to turn a dedicated spotlight off the finals. Mexico played without five players  — including Memo Ochoa and Maza Rodriguez — because they tested positive for banned clenbuterol. The claim a la Contador is tainted meat. I’ll reserve judgment (sidenote: the players came to my UCLA today for further tests…fingers crossed)… but come on!!! No one that wasn’t already covering the game gave a flying F about this scandal!!

Whatever…

Mexico ended up beating up on the poor Cubans and won 5-0. For those not looking (and I assume that’s practically everyone), that’s two wins, six points, +10 goal differential and a top spot in Group A. And five goals for Chicharito. That includes a freaking hat trick in the first game!

This guy’s on fire. All eyes are on him and he has continued to impress. Is the same true of another?

Up next for Mexico is Costa Rica, the results of this tainted-beef defense, and the drama of continuing as a “heavy favorite” with a bare-bones roster. This is Must-See Stuff, people!

If you’re interested in watching, it’s really simple to remember. They play this Sunday at 5 p.m., aka the EXACT SAME TIME as the NBA’s all-or-nothing, last-chance for King James Game 6.

PHOTO: LeBron James vs. Chicharito faceoff