Oct 28, 2007

Club America Wins 199th Edition Of El Super Clasico

Sunday's best game that didn't take place at Anfield may have just been the 199th edition of El Super Clasico, as the game between Mexico City's Club America and Guadelajara's Chivas is known South of the border. (I think they call it El Clasico as well, but I don't want people to confuse it with that other game they play in Spain). And no, I didn't watch every single professional soccer game that was played Sunday (I'll admit to having no life, but that's a bit excessive even for me) so I have no way of knowing this with 100% certainty. I'm just saying this was a good game. I've been singing the Mexican league's praises for some time and I do think you can make the point that it is the best soccer league that isn't English, Spanish, Italian or maybe German. (I'm not going to try and make that point, at least not now, I'm just saying it can be made).

Anyway, the game took a little while to heat up. Little happened in the first half. The Aguillas (Club America's nickname, or one of them) played like sh!te and Chivas should have scored at least once. The second half was a different story, however. America came out guns blazing and scored two quick goals. Chivas came right back on a header by Omar Bravo and almost equalized a few minutes after that, but America's keeper, Guillermo Ochoa, made a brilliant save--actually one of the best I've seen in a long time. Anybody need a goalkeeper? This kid is only 22 and has already been capped for Mexico. Twenty-two is like a baby for a goalkeeper. You'll be hearing of him. Update: Wikipedia reports that Ajax Amsterdam were interested in acquiring Ochoa, along with Racing de Santander and Man United.

Chivas also hit the post shortly afterwards and both teams had their chances in end-to-end action. I don't know how these guys can run like that for 90 minutes at a mile-and-a-half above sea level, but the pace was frenetic. The defending did get a little sloppy, at least one on Chivas offensive in the 86th minute. But Ochoa--with help of the post--kept them from equalizing. Ochoa made another brilliant save three minutes from time. You had the sense this was his night and that he wasn't going to give up a second goal. He didn't and America won by that 2-1 margin.

It was truly a terrific match, especially the second half. The goals were gorgeous, each one coming from the run of play. Both America goals were scored by 19-year old Juan Carlos Silva, who was on Mexico's team at the U-20 world cup this summer. I don't know anything else about Silva, but I expect we'll be hearing from him as well. All in all it was worth staying up for. I just wish I could understand more Spanish. Oh well. Maybe if I keep watching Mexican soccer I'll absorb some by osmosis? At least then I'll have something to show for it. Other than this blog, that is.

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