The Burrito Wrap

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As part of a new feature on Soccer Mexicana we look back at some of this week’s top stories away from results on the pitch. These delectable morsels are wrapped up in a metaphorical warm tortilla every week for your consumption. Buen provecho.
Ascenso sides’ performances prove the Copa MX is worth watching…
I am British, and I love a good cup competition. I find it strange that fans, pundits and managers are so underwhelmed by the spectacle of the Copa MX.
This week showed why the Copa has a valuable place in the Mexican football calendar as we saw 4 wins and 3 draws for sides from the Ascenso, including Correcaminos’ 4-1 demolition of Puebla. This match also included TV Azteca’s global goal of the week, a truly sensational diagonal dipping volley from Puebla’s Carlos Guzman, hit from 25 yards out and looping delightfully over the keeper.
Undoubtedly the tournament could be improved. It’s my belief that staging the competition once per calendar year, opening the competition to sides from the Segunda and Tercera divisions, removing the group stage, and having an unseeded knockout draw from the first round (with the Liga MX sides entering the draw after two rounds) would all improve the show.
Nonetheless, the competition is an exciting tournament that lets fans see their team in action against sides other than the usual LigaMX suspects, and gives fans of Ascenso clubs a rare chance to see how their teams perform against the powerhouses of Mexican soccer. The competition should be celebrated and promoted, not decried and ridiculed.
Fan violence remains a problem...
Only last weekend we saw Cruz Azul being forced to play behind closed doors in their opening home game as a result of the violence that marred their quarter final playoff exit to Toluca in the 2013 Apertura. Yet again problems arose on Tuesday, as we witnessed disturbing scenes in the Copa MX match between Atletico San Luis and Tigres.
Some commentators ventured that it may be a form of retribution for the Tigres fans staging the now famous ‘invasion’ of San Luis Potosi in March last year, when Los Incomparables took 400 buses and 25,000 fans to the away fixture. Whatever the reasoning, the violence is unjustifiable.
As the images of seats being smashed, punches being thrown and missiles being launched were beamed around Mexico, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the thousands of innocent fans who had their evening ruined, and especially sorry for the young children in tears and their worried parents. No one should go to a football match and fear for their safety.
Policing in the stadium seemed non-existent, and this complete lack of crowd control has to be taken seriously by the authorities before something far worse occurs that permanently scars the face of Mexican football.
The Liga MX cannot afford to get a reputation for hooliganism in grounds. Game attendances are not great, and with the fast developing MLS just over the border, it is now more than ever that the Liga MX needs to ensure the economic future of the competition is secure by encouraging families and the young fans of the future to maximize their involvement. Scenes such as those in San Luis and the Estadio Azul are not conducive with this vision.
The Mexican referees who love to be noticed...
Unfortunately, the referees are never far from the headlines in Mexico, as they seemingly ignore the old adage that a good referee shouldn’t be noticed. It is to the eternal frustration of the managers, players and fans that they regularly have such a bearing on the outcome of a game.
Research by Jason Marquitz in 2012 showed that 36% of games in Mexico ended with at least one red card, a figure that is more than twice that of the English Premier League (17%) and significantly higher than the other two major European leagues in Spain (28%) and Italy (24%). Players are certainly no ‘dirtier’ in their style of the play in Mexico, if anything, the league is significantly less combative than the Premier League - it merely seems the referees in Mexico have an inflated opinion of their own self-importance in a match.
Once again the referees played a huge part in the outcome of matches this weekend. Firstly, Tigres saw two players sent off in their match against Morelia, which incredibly means two of Tigres last four regular season games have ended with one team reduced to nine men, a ludicrous statistic. In the immediate aftermath of the match Tuca Ferretti discovered he had been fined $269,160 MXN for his comments about the poor refereeing performance in Tigres’ game against America. It’s an absurdly high amount when considering San Luis have only been fined $201,870 for the aforementioned fan violence, and typifies a lot of problems with the way Mexican football is currently governed.
The real refereeing controversy of the weekend came when Paul Delgadillo took charge of week three’s standout fixture - America vs Leon. Delgadillo turned down a good claim for a Leon penalty in the first half and allowed his linesman to bizarrely overrule his decision to award Leon a penalty in the second half. The two incidents sandwiched the decision to give America a second half penalty for a foul that replays showed was a) seriously lacking in contact, and b) outside of the box. In a case similar to that of Tuca’s fine, when Luis Montes had the temerity to forcefully argue Leon’s point, he was outrageously sent off.
It seems referees and the FMF are protecting their own interests rather than those of the fans and the spectacle. Mexican referees need to quickly learn the fans are paying money to watch players on the pitch, not watch referees remove them from it.

By Daniel Price
To continue the debate you can add a comment below or find me on Twitter by following @MexFooty
** the photo is used under a Creative Commons license from dave77459 



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