Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thoughts on Honduras-Mexico Last Night

I know it's been a while since I posted anything here. Writing articles for BleacherReport.com is so easy, but I had trouble last night. I've found I have trouble writing a game recap for a game in which I don't have a rooting interest, something I need to fix.

I attended the final of the Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park last night, a match featuring the U-23 squads of Mexico and Honduras. You would think that I'd be able to generate a rooting interest for Honduras, considering how much I dislike Mexican soccer, but you would be wrong. No offense to SKC's Roger Espinoza, but the way that Honduras played last night didn't make me a fan at all.

Don't get me wrong, Honduras played very well defensively last night. They withstood a heavy barrage of attacking soccer from Mexico, finally conceding the first goal in the 75th minute. It was their complete lack of discipline that turned me off. Guatemalan referee Walter Lopez showed a total of nine yellow cards to Honduran players (including two 2nd yellow/red cards). In contrast, Lopez only gave two yellow cards to Mexico, one of which was for diving in the penalty area, something I didn't think he had the cojones to do.

It wasn't just Honduras' yellow cards that turned me off. It was also the way they seemed to be begging for cards when they were fouled. Granted, there were some plays/situations that I thought, to be far, should have drawn yellow cards for Mexico. For example, the goal celebration after Marco Fabian's 25-yard rocket in the 74th minute seemed to go on for longer than what usually gets carded these days. However, the way Honduras seemed to be telling it, by their body language, there should have been several more cards handed out. If there's not a card handed out, man up and get on with it. Doing otherwise makes you look like whiny brats.

The atmosphere in the stadium last night was very good. The announced attendance was only 10,501, but not that you could tell that from the level of noise. The overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd was incredibly passionate and engaged with the game. On every goal kick, they would all yell the same word, one which I won't translate here (this is, after all, a family-friendly blog). It's the loudest I've ever heard 10,000 people be. CONCACAF may be a little disappointed with the attendance, but I'm sure the stadium would have been packed if the US had made the final. I would hope they won't hold that against Kansas City when it comes to the scheduling of future events.

On a side note, I'm glad that the Honduran team was off the field before the trophy presentation. Instead of red and green, the confetti launched into the air was blue, one of Honduras' colors. I understand that's what they're normally loaded with for Sporting KC games, but it might have made more sense to have some other colors on hand, so as to not add insult to injury.

On a personal note, I've been offered a trial run as a MLS/Sporting Kansas City Featured Columnist on BleacherReport.com with the potential to move to being a full-fledged FC. Couldn't possibly be happier about it, considering BR gets 25 million hits a month. May even lead to bigger and better things, like being paid to write about sports for a living. What's not to like about that?

That's all for now. See you soon.