I love the idea of MLS-Liga MX friendlies – but only where they make sense.
Chivas de Guadalajara or a couple of the other clubs that have healthy fan bases in the United States? Sure, those make (dollars and) sense.
Even the middle-weights of Mexico can draw a crowd and give a good game to MLS clubs in Texas or California where the Latino populations are large enough to have reasonably sized fan bases nearby.
Or, catching the flavor the moment in these friendlies represents a solid plan, too.
So I’ve got mixed feelings about the LA Galaxy’s upcoming friendly against Liga MX champions Club Tijuana. Just announced yesterday, the nearby neighbors meet Feb. 19 at the Home Depot Center.
Formerly obscure Tijuana is an amazing story in regional sports, having just won the Liga MX Apertura title, punctuating a rags-to-riches rise that we just don’t see very often on highly financed soccer.
In this one, Bruce Arena is likely to deploy his starters for at least a half. That’s different than what we often get in mid-summer friendlies that feature MLS-Liga MX matchups. In the stack-up of league matches, Open Cup contests and game in CONCACAF Champions League, some clubs have no choice but to run out a team of reserves.
It’s a real ticket sales conundrum, because fans are asked to support a game devoid of stars – and are sometimes stuck with a portion of the bill when their season ticket series includes “International Game A” and “International Game B” and so on.
The problem then becomes this: Where does the match fall for the Mexican club? Here, the answer for the Xolos is “In the worst possible place.”
Club Tijuana actually has a Copa Libertadores match the same day! And that is a far, far more important match for such a tiny club.
Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.
The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.
[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]
Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.
From the BBC:
No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.
There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.
This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.
It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.
Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.
[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]
Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.
From the BBC:
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.
Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.