Author: Jon Arnold

Fidel Martinez: The overlooked star that could decide Liga MX’s final

Pumas had a remarkable turnaround this Liga MX season. The historic Mexico City side finished 13th in spring’s Clausura but are in this week’s final after finishing atop the table in the recently concluded Apertura. What spurred this rebound? You don’t need to look much further than Fidel Martínez. It’s safe to say that without Martínez, Pumas wouldn’t be in the final. In the quarterfinals against Veracruz, it was the Ecuador international who scored the goal Guillermo Vazquez’s side needed in the second leg. Then, in the first leg of the semifinal against América, Martínez sent in a beautiful cross ... Read more

Controversy with Club America’s semifinal loss overshadows doubts about their coach

Club América is the champion of CONCACAF and just touched down in Japan to represent the region at the Club World Cup. Spirits have been higher, though. The club is coming off a controversial defeat in Liga MX’s two-legged semifinal against inner-city rival Pumas. América had hoped to force the league to reschedule the Apertura’s final, with Mexican media outlets already talking about the novelty of playing the round’s two legs around Christmas. Instead, Las Águilas disappointed, losing 4-3 over 180 minutes. After seeing their team reduced to nine men in each game, Americanistas (as fans of the team are ... Read more

Headlines love Pumas-America, but look for Liga MX’s champions in the Liguilla’s other semifinal

As the Liga MX semifinals draw closer, the capital-centric Mexican sports press has focused on the meeting between Pumas and Club América. That’s understandable. The clásico between capital rivals evokes memories of clashes gone by, of epic meetings in the `80s and `90s, not least of which is the 1991 final. That was the year when Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti smashed a stunning free-kick goal in the return leg to give Pumas the championship before ascending to the club’s managerial job. Since then, Ferretti has managed a number of teams, including a brief stint as the Mexico interim coach this year, ... Read more

Rafa Marquez will be Juan Carlos Osorio’s first major test with Mexico

Juan Carlos Osorio is in as the Mexico manager. Months after firing Miguel Herrera for an off-pitch incident, the Mexican federation announced the Colombian as its new national team coach. Like any coach, Osorio is ready to put his own stamp on the team. In an introductory news conference –a format that always makes for an exciting adventure of diplomatic half-truths and premature assurances teams — the coach hinted at a possible setup going forward. “Normally, we really like a 4-3-3 with only one central forward, and I think there are great possibilities with that,” he said at the news conference. Now, ... Read more

CONCACAF Cup: Tuca Ferretti’s legacy is at stake in Saturday’s playoff

Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is a superb manager with an excellent resume. In a coaching career that has spanned more than two decades, he has won the Mexican league with three different teams, being named best manager in one of those tournaments, taken a fourth team to the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup title, won the Copa MX and came closer than any other man to winning the Copa Libertadores with a Mexican team (an honor he shares with José Luis Real). And none of that will matter after the weekend. Ferretti stepped in as the interim manager after Miguel Herrera was fired ... Read more

CONCACAF Cup: Mexico’s defense looks surprisingly settled ahead of USA playoff

There’s a sense of creeping dread familiar to Mexican soccer fans, that sinking feeling that occurs when the opposition progresses past the midfield and is driving at the back line: “Oh no. We can’t stop them.” Mexico has a long history of great goalkeepers and defensive midfielders. Defenders? El Tri hasn’t exactly excelled there. With respect to Ricardo “La Volpe” Osorio, two of Mexico’s other best-ever defenders, Rafa Marquez and Carlos Salcido, were better in midfield. So Mexico fans now find themselves in an unfamiliar position. Heading into Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup, the defense looks settled. It looks confident. It looks … good? ... Read more

Stock up, stock down: Stars’ poor form creates selection headache for Mexico’s Ferretti

Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is an experienced manager at the club level, but the interim Mexico boss seemed a little shell-shocked after his first full international window in charge of the national team. After a draw against Argentina early in September, the interim Mexico manager said he would call only players who can report on time to Oct. 10’s CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff. It seemed the Tigres boss was trying to get a handle on the quick adjustments that must be made in limited time at the international level. He also gave some hints about what kind of squad he would call in to face the ... Read more

USA vs. Mexico: Where El Tri will turn if they lose Andres Guardado

Ankle ligaments. The most buzz-worthy storyline for Mexico and U.S. fans ahead of October’s playoff between the two nations for CONCACAF’s 2017 Confederations Cup berth has revolved all around ankle ligaments; specifically, left ankle ligaments. And more specifically, the left ankle ligaments of Andres Guardado. Ever since the reigning Gold Cup Most Valuable Player, clearly the best player for Mexico at the tournament El Tri won to force this one-off, limped off in PSV’s Champions League victory over Manchester United, fans and press on both sides of the border have been anxiously awaiting updates about the 28-year-old’s status. The diagnosis ... Read more