Blow Hard: Always entertaining Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, seen here at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, was dumped after smacking a journalist earlier in the week right before the next round of World Cup qualifying begins (Associated Press Photo).
With debate intensifying over the format and future of the MLS All-Star Game — set for tonight in Denver — some observers, including MLS Commissioner Don Garber, have suggested a Liga MX All-Star team could provide the opposition.
It’s likely no coincidence this surfaces as Univision Deportes reports record ratings in July driven by soccer:
“Univision Deportes Network outperformed ESPN 2, Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network, among others, in primetime among total viewers, adults 18-49 and ranking as the No. 2 sports network regardless of language in July.
“Univision Deportes also registered impressive audience figures with its coverage of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Mexico vs. Jamaica Gold Cup final aired on Sunday night on the Univision Network (simulcast on UDN), ranking as the No. 1 program for the week among Adults 18-49.
“The growth of UDN in just three years is a testament to the power of soccer among fanáticos in the U.S.,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes. “In this short time, our network has been able to beat major sports competitors regardless of language and has continuously delivered blockbuster ratings for major live sporting events like the recent Gold Cup tournament.”
“UDN set new ratings records in July, tying with ESPN for #1 among men 18-34 and delivering more total viewers than every cable sports network beside ESPN in primetime, regardless of language. This was the first time a Spanish-language cable sports network ever ranked as the No. 1 or No. 2 sports network for a month.”
Incidentally as another big name — Sebastian Giovinco — dropped out with an injury today, his Toronto teammate Jozy Altidore was drafted into the game.
Think Steven Gerrard had a great MLS debut for the Galaxy the other week? Then check out the second half eight-goal explosion that occurred when former Juventus midfielder played his first game Sunday for NYCFC:
As for the Galaxy, LA lost on the road 3-0 to Houston. It’s now about 10 months since the Galaxy won away from home if I recall correctly. And no, you don’t want to see highlights.
— Int Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup) July 24, 2015
World Cup Prelimiary draw coverage begins Saturday 10:55am ET on @FOXSports1
— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) July 24, 2015
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) July 24, 2015
— Angel City Brigade (@ACBrigade) July 24, 2015
Kickoff is at 6 p.m. live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 17, 2015
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) July 17, 2015
— Gold Cup 2015 (@GoldCup) July 17, 2015
— Giovani Dos Santos (@OficialGio) July 16, 2015
It figures. Hours after the LA Galaxy confirmed the worst-kept secret in MLS — the signing of Giovani Dos Santos — their expensive new Mexican acquisition comes out of last night’s heart-stopping 4-4 draw with T&T and is expected to miss the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.
Nereida Moreno is a Cal State Fullerton alumna and current news intern for the Los Angeles News Group. She did not watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup final. And she firmly believes that Guillermo Ochoa’s hair is directly related to his success as a goalkeeper. If you’re not going to tonight’s Club America-Galaxy friendly at StubHub Center, Moreno can relate:
I’m a reformed soccer fan.
From ages 11 to 17, I considered myself a walking stat machine, obsessing over Italy’s Serie A and Premiere League standings. I knew every player in Liga MX, and even some from the second division.
During my sophomore year of high school, I begged my sister to drive me from San Bernardino to Carson to watch Club America battle Morelia in the final match of the 2008 Interliga Tournament. The winner would earn one of two spots at the Copa Libertadores tournament in South America. While I was upset at missing the opening Atlas vs San Luis runner-up match in traffic, I’ll never forget the awe I felt at the hardcore fandom in the sold-out Home Depot Center.
Waving a medium-sized Club America flag, we all bled blue and yellow. The game kept us on the edge of our seats, as the tied match went into overtime. Sitting directly behind the goal-post, I watched as my team beat Morelia 3(5)- 3(3) in a penalty shoot out.
It was, and possibly still may be, the happiest I have ever felt in my short life.
But then came the heartache.
Once I graduated high school in 2010, everything began to change. I moved to Fullerton for college, lost touch with my high school friends and got a job. Suddenly, it became harder and harder to keep up with the sport. On one hazy night, while taking a break from writing a history paper, I tuned into Republica Deportiva, my favorite late-night sports recap show.
I watched as the newscaster went through the week’s game highlights. Why was Sergio Aguero leaving Atletico Madrid? When did Manchester City become a good club? How did Chepo de La Torre manage to keep his job? Stunned, I scrambled to figure out what else I had missed.
It’s difficult to enjoy the victories of my favorite teams when their rosters are constantly and rapidly changing. Club soccer just doesn’t fit into my world.
I’m now a sucker for national play. I love watching familiar faces play for their countries and watch new players rise as national heroes. No matter where they are in the world, it’s exhilarating to watch club players put their rivalries aside and join forces for their countries.
Or better, it’s fun to watch teammates like Neymar and Messi put their clubs aside and fiercely go head-to-head.
I had the pleasure Friday to sit down and chat with an engaging, but self-effacing Steven Gerrard in an exclusive interview at SubHub Center.
He has a healthy, inquisitive attitude about MLS, the Galaxy and his family’s new life in Southern California that was refreshing.
While today’s front page is, shall we say, attention-grabbing, it does get the point of the profile across. Read more about Gerrard and his early impression of Southern California here in the Los Angeles Daily News.
A telling anecdote, I think, also sums up the kind of person Gerrard is.
As we chatted briefly before the interview, he learned I grew up in Norwich, England and was concerned about the survival prospects of newly-prompted Norwich City in an increasingly high-stakes EPL. As I walked to my car after the interview, a white Chevy Tahoe pulled up to me in the parking lot, the window rolled down and a smiling Gerrard said “Good luck to your Norwich City this season.”
A small gesture perhaps, but not one most players of his stature would have bothered with after a grueling day of training and no fewer than five sit down 1 on 1 interviews (more than he had done, he conceded, in quite a while in England where the media just does not get that level of access to players).