A weekly recap of how Mexican international star players fared over the weekend.
In a matter of a week, Sporting Kansas City striker Omar Bravo went from hero to zero.
Voted the MLS player of the week by the North American Soccer Reporters after the inaugural weekend of the season for connecting for a brace in his league debut against Chivas USA, Bravo saw red on Saturday -- a red card.
Bravo, a Mexican international who was not called up for El Tri's two friendlies this week, was given his marching orders in the 32nd minute of KC's 3-2 loss to the Chicago Fire, after giving up a penalty kick and forcing the visitors to play the rest of the match with only 10 men in Bridgeview, Ill.
Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, however, did not direct his ire at Bravo, but rather at referee Jason Ano, who awarded Bravo a straight red and the Fire a penalty kick. Ano ruled that Fire forward Gaston Puerari was pushed by Bravo in the penalty area.
“That call changed everything,” Vermes said.
“It’s not a red card, it is not even a penalty," the coach added. "Omar goes in, and at the same time he’s giving the guy a little shoulder and he kicks the ball out-of-bounds himself. The guy didn’t even take a shot. The [assistant referee] points to the corner [flag], not to a penalty. Okay, so the center referee always takes precedence over the other guys, but he has to be 100 percent sure. So not only does he turn it into a penalty, but a red card. Now you’re already behind the eight ball, not once but twice. So it really changed the outcome of the game I think, that call in itself."
Puerari converted the penalty kick to lift Chicago to a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the game was an uphill battle for Kansas City.
"From there I just felt like everything was against us." Vermes said. "From the beginning of the game, every call was going against us. It just hurts."
Bravo, whose two goals sparked KC to a 3-2 season-opening win on March 19. will miss the next match at the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday with a one-game suspension.
Mendoza came on for forward Marcos Mondaini in the 64th minute of Chivas USA's 1-0 loss to the defending MLS Cup champions Colorado Rapids in Carson, Calif. It was the second consecutive home defeat for the Goats.
Jonathan dos Santos
Dos Santos played the opening 61 minutes at midfield before he was replaced in Barcelona B's 2-0 victory over AD Alcorcón in the Spanish Second Division on Saturday. It was Barca B's fifth win in its last six games.
Chicharito makes a lot of fans happy.
It doesn't matter what side of the Atlantic he is on, Javier Hernández will find a way to score. This time Chicharito scored in the seventh and 34th minutes of El Tri's 3-1 triumph over Paraguay on Saturday. Many fans wore Hernández's No. 14 as the Manchester United star striker received a rousing ovation when he was replaced by Aldo de Negris in the 65th minute before a capacity crowd of 48,110 at Oakland Coliseum.
"I was happy to see that the stadium was full and everyone was having a good time," Hernández was quoted by the San Jose Mercury News. "I'm glad that the people went home happy."
Mexico will meet Venezuela in another friendly in San Diego on Tuesday night.
Rafa Marquez hits the century mark.
New York Red Bulls central defender Rafa Marquez reached a special milestone vs. the Paraguayans, playing in his 100th international match for El Tri. Marquez, 32, was given a statuette and a Mexico shirt with the number 100 on the back in a pre-match ceremony. He set up the second goal as Andres Guardado (Deportivo Coruna, Spain) scored in the 28th minute.
Setting the record straight.
There were some news organizations reporting that the Mexicans' win was their first match since the World Cup and the first game for coach José Manuel de la Torre. Wrong. Mexico played twice before since South Arica 2010 and de la Torre guided El Tri to a win over Bosnia in Atlanta, Ga. in February.
To be continued.
Due to a heavy week of international matches, the Mexican First Division and top flight leagues in Europe, including England, Scotland, Spain and the Netherlands, where many Mexicans perform, did not schedule any matches. They will return to a regular league slate this weekend.
Michael Lewis, who has covered international soccer for more than three decades, can be reached at SoccerWriter516.com.