Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The World Game 101 Part 3

Last part in the 2007-08 Football Season preview

8. Will David Beckham turn the fortunes of the LA Galaxy around and how America views football?
Let me make it clear… I am rooting for Becks to succeed. But there’s no way he can do it alone. Becks may be a one-man advertising and fashion conglomerate, but his free kicks alone will not be enough to bend Major League Soccer to the level of the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL. As good as he is at knocking down long bombs or setting up teammates, he has always been a complementary player. Forget his 60-yard shot against Wimbledon in 1996, Becks was there when Eric Cantona ruled and when Roy Keane and Ruud Van Nistelrooy were scoring in bunches. Those were Manchester United’s main men.

If Golden Balls is able to lead the last-place Galaxy to its second ever league championship, then it’s a match made in Hollywood heaven. If not, he can wish that a few more high-profile stars (Mexican star Cuauhtémoc Blanco is already in the league) like his retired former teammate Zinedine Zidane or Ronaldo to move stateside to reprise the New York Cosmos in the 1970’s when they had Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Johan Cruyff, and Giorgio Chinaglia who formed the original version of Los Galacticos.

The former England captain will find it hard to resurrect a team that is woefully inconsistent despite acquiring Portuguese defender and former Liverpool Red Abel Xavier, Honduran striker Carlos Pavon, Canadian defender Ante Jazic, former American national team member Chris Klein. Even the presence of Captain America, Landon Donovan, hasn’t been enough to shake the Galaxy out of its doldrums.

The league changed the Galaxy’s schedule to ensure that most of their games will be played after Beckham’s arrival. That is unheard of for any pro league -- to fiddle with a schedule to accommodate and maximize one man’s presence. Becks knows that America rightly or wrongly expects him to score a bushel-load of goals, but that’s part and parcel of coming with a hefty price tag. Should the losing continue and Becks remains hobbled on the sidelines, the crowds will once more dwindle and they’ll decide that he’s just a one-trick pony.

9. Where will the next influx of football talent come from?
Look out Brazil, Argentina. The next wave of superstars to flood European clubs will be coming from those who wear Mexico’s El Tricolor. With Mexico’s players displaying some superb game in the recent CONCACAF, the Copa America, and the just concluded Under-20 World Cup, former Real Madrid striker Hugo Sanchez won’t be an aberration in the annals of his country’s football legacy.
Although no Mexican squad has advanced to the round of sixteen in World Cup play, European clubs are now taking a long hard look at Sanchez’ troops.
Despite missing the injured Jared Borgetti, and the trio of Pavel Pardo, Carlos Salcido, and Ricardo Osorio, Sanchez’ young and inexperienced team walloped Brazil, Uruguay, and Venezuela to place third in the Copa America.

Now striker Nery Castillo, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, and Mexican Primera Division champions Pachuca’s Three Kings Juan Carlos Cacho, Fausto Pinto, and Jaime Correa, and Guadalajara’s Johnny Magallon are being scouted.

In the just-concluded Under-20 World Cup Finals held in Canada, El Tricolor, behind Barcelona’s Giovanni Dos Santos and Arsenal’s Carlos Vela, won four straight matches – the most ever by a national team in finals competition. Okay, so they lost 1-nil to the Copa America finalist Argentina. But mind you, they lost by an own-goal. So that’s some small consolation. Incidentally, the duo powered Mexico to the Under-17 World Championship in Peru in 2005.

And in the wake of the 2006 World Cup Finals, Mexicans have begun to slowly make their way into Europe. The latest being Andres Guardado who was just signed by Deportivo La Coruna joining Osorio and Pardo who are both in Stuttgart, and Salcido who is with PSV Eindhoven.

There’s a new power in football arising from the Americas. They may be from the north, but they were the Tricolor.

10. Who are my predications to win their respective league titles?
I’m going on a limb here. While some may seem like easy picks, lest assured I’ve heavily weighed in their performances from last year and the pre-season while taking a long gander at the line-ups.

Premiere League – Liverpool
La Liga – Barcelona
Serie A – Inter Milan
Bundesliga – Bayern Munich
Ligue 1 - Marseille
Eredivisie – Ajax Amsterdam
Portuguese Primera Liga – Porto

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