Los Angeles Soccer: Diego Cocca

MEXICO: U.S. prods Corona's choice

September, 5, 2011

Jurgen Klinsmann's radar for Latino talent is sharper than his predecessors', as America's Edgar Castillo, San Luis' Michael Orozco Fiscal and Pachuca's Jose Francisco Torres can attest.

The best of the Americans in Mexico -- not counting Tigres' Moises Orozco, not yet a first-teamer -- might be Club Tijuana's flank attacker Joe Corona, and he, like so much of the U.S.'s top Latin talent, has a choice to make.

Corona is eligible to play for the U.S., Mexico or El Salvador, and he has options, so it seems, with all three. He's in camp with the Mexicans' under-22 team -- the foundation of the Federacion's Olympic aspirations -- after an invitation to join the U.S. national team was scuttled by Klinsmann's hiring.

That's what Corona told his hometown newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune: He was invited by Bob Bradley into the U.S. camp for the Aug. 10 U.S.-Mexico game in Philadelphia, and when Bradley was canned and Klinsmann hired, the invitation was rescinded.

Mexico followed with the U-22 invite, and Corona -- born in L.A., formative years in Tijuana, in National City since he was 10 -- has always figured first come, first served.

He's already turned down El Salvador, his mother's homeland, but says playing for El Tri is “my dream.”

“We moved to Mexico right after I was born, and that’s where soccer was introduced to me,” Corona told the Union-Tribune. “In the South Bay [area of San Diego], it’s a Mexican culture, too. I was always in that environment. All my friends, when we would watch the U.S.-Mexico games, we were hardcore fans of Mexico.

“It’s not like I’m saying no to the U.S. But playing in an Olympics for Mexico, that would be an incredible experience.”

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MEXICO: Isaac Acuņa steps up, cuts down Santos' boss

February, 22, 2011
Calexico's Isaac Acuņa is starting to flower, following his first Primera Division appearance in nearly a year with a game to remember.

Acuņa, 21, scored in his first start in Mexico's top league to lead Gallos Blancos de Queretaro (2-4-1), who started the week at the bottom of the Clausura standings, to a stunning 2-0 triumph at Santos Laguna (3-3-1).

Acuņa scored in the third minute -- he took a pass from Eder Borelli as he slipped past the backline, dribbled past goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez and knocked the ball into the open net -- and fed Carlos Bueno for the second goal just before halftime.

Santos' fans answered with jeers after a second successive 2-0 home loss, and coach Ruben Omar Romano, who guided the Torreon-based club into the Apertura final, was dismissed after cameras caught him making an offensive gesture to fans, after which he criticized the supporters.

“His behavior went against the values that the club stands for and promotes, which is why the decision was taken to end our working relationship with immediate effect,” the club said in an announcement on its Web site. Said club president Alejandro Irarragorri: “This is a deeply hurtful decision, but we must be consistent with our values and responsibility as a model team. Ruben reacted negatively to pressure from the fans, and that's something we can't cover up.”

Fellow Argentine Diego Cocca, 38, was hired to replace Romano. Cocca, a former right back who counts Atlas, Veracruz and Gallos Blancos among the nearly dozen clubs for which he toiled, previously has managed three Argentine clubs, most recently La Plata's Gimnasia y Esgrima.

Acuņa, who is with Queretaro on loan from America, played 35 minutes in a 5-0 loss Feb. 12 to Toluca. He made his debut last April 10, playing five minutes for America in a victory over Jaguares.

SINCE 5-0: The most alarming result of the Clausura occurred in week one, when Atlas, the worst team in the fall Apertura, throttled a decent (or so we thought) Morelia side, 5-0. After three games, Atlas had matched its fall win total and sat atop the overall table.

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