Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Major League Soccer's Unsung MVP does it again!

Here is a brilliant goal by Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the most impacting player in the MLS this year.

What makes this goal better is how he "draws" a foul to gain a free kick. Blanco has been a master of such manuevers for the better part of 18 years. His team (Chicago) was virtually out of playoff running before he joined them a couple months ago.


Aaron said...

I'm so conflicted about Blanco. If you follow the MNT, you kind of have to hate him. He's always been such a punky thorn in the side (it looks to me that as Blanco ages, Nery Castillo will fill that role for years to come for El Tri).

But now that he plays for the Fire, I have to love him. He's energized the fan base here and brought a lot of freshness to the team.

AJF said...

Blanco can be polarizing, no doubt. He's the perfect anti-hero for Club America haters in Mexico.

Brush that aside. The MLS is in desperate need of the kind of energy Blanco brings to the game. Pathetic stunts like bringing Beckham here will backfire. Blanco is committed to win here and he has done well so far, from a chemistry standpoint, on a below average Chicago team that is now suddenly a factor in the playoffs. He won't be traveling all over Europe, he'll make the players around him better (already has), tick off the opposition, be a factor in every game, and seldom get injured. All for $1 million a year? Talk about a great deal.

If you care about MLS improving, you HAVE to love Blanco!

Aaron said...

I agree with what you've said about Blanco. He's great for the US game. But I'm not entirely convinced that bringing Beckham here will backfire. He brings other, non-soccer related things to the table that the MLS needs: celebrity, ticket sales, energy and buzz.

Being competitive and producing a quality product is good enough for soccer fans like you and I, but those things alone won't bring in the great unwashed masses.

AJF said...

Forget the masses!

Beckham has been a bust so far. 4 games, no wins, one cheap goal...now he's injured.

The whole Beckham thing is an insult to true fans.

Soccer will never be a "major" sport in the U.S. Too many easier, high scoring games to watch. Americans like goals and showboating, not epic, scoreless battles. Further, the U.S. can't compete with the rest of the world, despite our enoromous size and resources. Our kids soccer program is basically horrible, players are torn between various sports and waste valuable developmental years chasing after the glory of football (big mistake), baseball, and B-ball.

So, MLS is it for us, and it is what it is. If aging S. American and European stars want to finish out their playing days here, I'll go watch them. But they should be paid what they're worth. Beckham ain't worth no $32 mill a year! Compare Blanco's production with Beckham's...NO COMPARISON.

Aaron said...

Wow, that's a really pessimistic take on soccer in the US. I can't argue with any of it (I don't imagine soccer will ever break into the 'big four' sports) except to say that the money that Beckham will bring will allow for the development of the US game.

Here's the thing: MLS and the national program will never improve unless the US Soccer fed. figures out a way to develop young players. That takes money that just isn't there now. Maybe Beckham's presence will bring in some of that kind of money and interest.

One more thing: if Beckham is healthy and in top form, he is a better player than Blanco. There. I said it. He's not worth $32M, but he is a great player.

AJF said...

Yeah, if Pele was 40 years younger and healthy, he'd be a better player than Blanco also. So. He ain't. Beckham is a wash.

Money is the very problem we have with soccer in the U.S.

The kid in Brazil (or Mexico for that matter) doesn't have money or expensive leagues to be part of. He just plays from the time he can walk and learns ball skill until he can get a place on the local park team that plays every day in the evening. Then, as a young teenager, someone notices him and sends him to some kind of national developmental team. No money in development, as such.

You typical American! Money won't solve...Money may well be the problem.

Aaron said...

Tony, Tony, Tony. Do you think national development programs grow on trees? Do you think they just pop up from the ground? They take money, my man.

And our development programs are lame. More kids would play from birth if they thought MLS was 'all that' and that playing for the MNT would be the highest honor for an athlete. And MLS will be 'all that' and the men's national team will rise in prominence in direct proportion to the amount of money poured into youth development.

It's simple economics. Our potential talent pool is so much larger than European countries. Once the money is poured into finding and developing talent there will be no stopping US dominance of the sport.

Right now, city kids who play every day for the love of the game never get looks. The system is slanted to big suburban school districts. If that ever changes we'll be in good shape.

I would love to school you more but I have to finish my sermon...

AJF said...

You need to stick to preachin'....ha ha!

Frontier Forest said...

I used to get this worked up about the Chiefs! Lost my zeal for all professional sports, especially football. With a few exceptions, seems to me to be mostly a bunch of overpaid, ego-crazed thugs.

AJF said...

Most MLS players are far from over-paid.

Blanco gets $1 million a year- a pittance for his level of impact (for the team and ticket sales).