Tuesday, August 30, 2011
MEXICO: Monterrey pays tribute in win
By Scott French
Monterrey paid tribute to those who lost their lives in last week's brazen drug-cartel attack on a casino in the city, organizing a white-out for its Mexican Primera Division showdown with Santos Laguna.
The Rayados, playing just two days after the arson attack, encouraged fans to wear white and the players released white balloons to honor the 52 killed and send a message that Mexicans are tired of the violence and want to see positive, peaceful change.
It worked for the club, too. Goals by Luis Perez and Humberto Suazo led Monterrey to a 2-0 triumph, ending a four-game stretch in which it was beaten by San Luis and Guadalajara in league play and the Seattle Sounders in the CONCACAF Champions League.
THE TOP 3
1. CHANGING AMERICA? Seems about time for Club America's bosses to cut ties with Carlos Reinoso, whether or not that would be the wisest move. The underachieving Aguilas, riding a string of disappointments despite always possessing some of Mexico's best talent, have won just two of six games in the Apertura and slipped to 11th overall with a 2-0 defeat at Pachuca.
It's too early to panic -- America (2-2-2) is just one point out of the top eight with 11 games to go -- but that hasn't stopped the club before, and there's a growing disillusionment with the Chilean Reinoso, who is in his third stint as Aguilas boss.
Rumors are swirling, but he says he's going nowhere, that the speculation that he'll be dismissed is “normal” and doesn't bother him.
“I work here for free because I love America. Who wouldn't want to be here?” he told Mexican media this week. “I'm not leaving. We know and believe and want to succeed -- and we will succeed. We will achieve the objectives, which is to qualify for the playoffs and then fight for the title. ... America fans want the best for America, and the dream of all America fans is to be champion. So we are aware that we need to improve, that we must be in the final.”
2. BEST IN SHOW Mexico's top coach? It's Brazilian Ricardo Ferretti, according to the Golden Balls handed out at Monday's Mexico City gala to honor to best from last spring's Clausura.
Ferretti, who guided UANL Tigres to the best regular-season record, doesn't agree. He turned around and handed the trophy to Guillermo Vazquez, who guided Pumas UNAM -- Ferretti's former club -- to the title.
Vazquez used to be Ferretti's top assistant.
Tigres midfielder Lucas Lobos was voted MVP of the Clausura, finishing ahead of America midfielder Angel Reyna and Pumas defender Dario Veron in a vote of each club's captains and technical directors.
Other winners: Veron (best central defender) and Pumas teammates Efrain Velarde (best outside back) and Israel Castro (best defensive midfielder), Reyna (best attacking midfielder), Monterrey's Jonathan Orozco (best goalkeeper), Morelia's Rafael Marquez Lugo (best forward) and America's Diego Reyes (best rookie).
3. WHO'S ON TOP? Cruz Azul is finally at full strength, with forward Christian Gimenez and goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona back from six-game suspensions -- payback for their roles in last May's semifinal melee against Morelia -- and it sure couldn't have weathered their absences much better.
Gimenez was on the field and Corona on the bench last weekend for the Cementeros, who toppled reigning champion Pumas UNAM, their Mexico City rival, last week to vault atop the Apertura standings at 4-1-2.
Gimenez, among the Primera Division's elite attackers, looked good in 90 minutes of action, and Cruz Azul used goals by Gerardo Flores and Adrian Cortes and a thoughtless red card by Pumas' Luis Fuentes to build a 2-1 triumph.
Guadalajara (4-1-1), which had been in first place, couldn't contain San Luis' speed in a 2-0 defeat and dropped to second. Tigres (3-0-4), the Primera's last unbeaten team, is third.
Los Alamitos' Jonathan Bornstein, the former Chivas USA captain, made his first appearance on Tigres' 18-man game roster this season, but he did not play in a 1-0 win at Atlas. ... Guadalajara midfielder Ulises Davila, coming off a sensational U-20 World Cup, has signed a five-year deal with Chelsea, which is loaning him to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem for the season. ... Giovani Dos Santos says he's not joining a Mexican club. Tigres had pursued him. ... Morelia has just one goal in its last four league games. ... Santos has just one win in its past five games, all competitions. ... Atlante ended a three-game losing streak by beating Estudiantes Tecos, which was coming off back-to-back wins. ... Jaguares is unbeaten in its last four following a 1-1 draw with Toluca. ... Dayro Moreno scored his fifth goal for Tijuana, which rallied for a 1-1 draw at home vs. Gallos Blancos. ... Tijuana's Joe Corona, from San Diego, is in camp with Mexico's U-22 national team, the foundation of El Tri's Olympic squad. ... Former Chivas USA midfielder Jesus Padilla scored a huge goal, an 87th-minute winner, to send La Piedad past Cruz Azul Hidalgo, 1-0, and atop the second-tier Liga de Ascenso by two points.
PRIMERA DIVISION Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Jaguares de Chiapas 1 (Arizala 67), Toluca 1 (I. Alonso 71)
Pachuca 2 (F. Borja 15, 64), America 0
Monterrey 2 (L. Perez 28, Suazo 66), Santos Laguna 0
San Luis 2 (M. Arroyo 54, M. Torres 85), Guadalajara 0
Atlas 0, UANL Tigres 1 (D. Alvarez 22)
Atlante 2 (M. Ortiz 26, O. Martinez pen. 52), Estudiantes Tecos 1 (Sambueza 93+)
Pumas UNAM 1 (M. Bravo 22), Cruz Azul 2 (G. Flores 7, A. Cortes 75)
Club Tijuana 1 (D. Moreno 39), Gallos Blancos de Queretaro 1 (I. Martinez 33)
Morelia 0, Puebla 0
This week's games (all times Pacific)
No games scheduled
Schedule subject to change CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Last week's results (home teams listed first)
Group Stage, Round 2
D: Monterrey 0, Seattle Sounders 1 (A. Fernandez 38)
B: Isidro Metapan (El Salvador) 2 (P. Suarez 45, C. Bautista 52), Santos Laguna 0
C: Tauro (Panama) 0, Pumas UNAM 0
A: Morelia 4 (Marquez Lugo 2, J. Rojas 50, D. Jimenez 70, E. Lugo 72), Motagua (Honduras) 0