Colombia, going nowhere, beats Mexico, going to the World Cup
Ten observations in the wake of watching Colombia defeat Mexico, 2-1, in an international soccer friendly in Dallas on Wednesday night:
1. Colombia deserved to win. The headed goal by Giovanni Moreno off a corner kick was excellent. The second goal, by Darwin Quintero off an innovative cross from Yulian Anchico, was even better.
2. Mexico backup goalkeeper Jesus Corona will not be ousting starter Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa anytime soon, but he did manage some decent saves, including a stop on a poorly struck penalty kick by Jackson Martinez.
3. The fan in the Cotton Bowl crowd who sported a turkey on his head deserved his 15 seconds of fame. Or perhaps it was that snake-eating bird on the Mexican flag. Difficult to tell.
4. Javier Aguirre, losing for the first time in 13 games in his second stint as Mexico's coach, can get through a 90-minute game without kicking an opposing player.
5. Vladimir Marin looks like a useful player. Pity he and Colombia will not be going to the World Cup in South Africa next year. Pity Marin turned 30 last week. Pity he plays for Toluca in Mexico and not in MLS.
6. Jonathan Dos Santos, all of 19 and on the rise at FC Barcelona, had a respectable debut for El Tri, but Aguirre played him far too deep, which blunted the teenager's offensive impact.
7. Carlos Valderrama has still got it. "El Pibe" was match commentator Andres Cantor's halftime guest on Telemundo, and the yellow hair is still there. If anything, it looks more like a fright wig than ever before.
8. Braulio Luna, even at 35, did nothing to hurt his chances of going to a third World Cup.
9. Colombia Coach Eduardo Lara either needs a larger jacket or needs to leave his current one unbuttoned.
10. American referees still don't get it. Colombia's team doctor, Mario Figueroa, was ejected by referee Ricardo Salazar for something he said. This was a friendly. Tell him to sit down and shut up, if need be. Don't give him a police escort off the field. Welcome to Dallas.
-- Grahame L. Jones