Sunday, July 21, 2024

El Tri wins Copa América opener, ‘Checo’ Pérez’s tough weekend and more sports news

The Mexican men’s national soccer team began the Copa América tournament with an encouraging 1-0 victory over Jamaica on Saturday night. 

The Mexican team — also known as “El Tri” for Mexico’s tri-colored flag — play next on Wednesday, against Venezuela.

Mexico beat Jamaica 1-0 on Saturday
Mexico beat Jamaica 1-0 on Saturday. Mexico was one of six Conacaf teams invited to compete as guests in the Copa América this year as part of a collaboration between Conacaf and CONMEBOL, the latter of which runs Copa América. As part of the deal, four of CONMEBOL’s women’s teams got to compete in the Conacaf W. Gold Cup. (@miseleccionmx/X)

The quadrennial tournament is traditionally for South American teams, although non-members can be invited as guests. When Ecuador backed out on hosting the 2024 event, the United States stepped up as host country, allowing six additional teams to play: Mexico, U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. 

The 16-team tournament opened last Thursday with Lionel Messi and Argentina beating Canada 2-0 in Atlanta. It’s now in the round-robin phase through July 2. The top two teams from each of four groups will advance to the knockout round, starting July 4.

El Tri, down one spot at 15th in the latest FIFA world rankings, is in Group B with Ecuador (30th), Jamaica (53rd) and Venezuela (54th). Venezuela opened with a 2-1 upset win over Ecuador on Saturday in Santa Clara, California.

Mexico’s slim victory over Jamaica in Houston on Saturday wasn’t as convincing as many had expected, nor was it pain-free.

Midfielder Edson Álvarez, the team’s captain and best playmaker, left the field in the 30th minute with a torn left hamstring. MedioTiempo, a Mexican sports news website, reported Monday that the 26-year-old, who plays for West Ham in England’s Premier League, will be out for the rest of the tournament.

That’s a major blow for El Tri’s head coach Jimmy Lozano, whose scheme relied heavily on Álvarez’s leadership and experience. Moreover, due to tournament rules, no player can replace him.

Lozano is on the hot seat, with a record for El Tri of 10 wins, six losses and three draws. The question is whether he will remain as Mexico’s head man for the next World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Mexico, the U.S. and Canada in 2026.

Mexico, competing as a guest in Copa América for the 11th time in its history, plays next against Venezuela in Inglewood, California, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mexico City time. The team will finish round-robin play against Ecuador in Glendale, Arizona, on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Edson Álvarez, the team’s captain and best playmaker, is out for the rest of the tournament due to a torn left hamstring.
Edson Álvarez, the team’s captain and agurably El Tri’s best playmaker, is out for the rest of the tournament due to a torn left hamstring. (@miseleccionmx/X)

Mexico broke diplomatic relations with Ecuador in April after Ecuadorian police raided the Mexican Embassy in Quito to arrest the country’s former vice president, Jorge Glas. Mexico and Ecuador have both filed suits against each other at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Disappointing weekend for F1 racer ‘Checo’ Perez

Mexican Formula 1 driver Sergio “Checo” Pérez continued his less-than-stellar 2024 season with an eighth-place finish in the Spanish Grand Prix in Montmeló, Spain.

The 34-year-old Guadalajara native began the race 11th in the starting grid after another poor qualifying round, plus a three-spot penalty for driving back to the pit area with a significantly damaged car in the Canadian Grand Prix on June 9.

With 285 points, Pérez was an impressive second in the 2023 Formula 1 standings well behind Red Bull Racing teammate and three-time F1 champion Max Verstappen’s 575 points — but second nevertheless.

This year, however, Pérez is in fifth place with only four top-three finishes and no wins in 10 races. The Belgian Verstappen is in first place with seven wins, including this past Sunday in Spain.

After doing well in his first five races of 2024 — three second places and one third place — Pérez has gone downhill. In the five races since then, he has one fourth place, two eighth places and two nonfinishes due to accidents.

Pérez signed a new two-year contract in early June that will keep him on the Red Bull team through 2026. There was much speculation that Red Bull would decide to part ways with him, and now maybe team management wishes it did.

Trevor Bauer sets Mexican Baseball League strikeout record

U.S. baseball pitcher Trevor Bauer — who was blackballed from Major League Baseball (MLB) ever since a 194-game suspension from the MLB in 2022 and 2023 — has a new strikeout record to his name.

The 2020 recipient of the National League Cy Young Award for best pitcher, Bauer is playing for the Mexico City Diablos Rojos (Red Devils) this season — and on Friday, he set a Mexican Baseball League record with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. 

Mexican Baseball League pitcher Trevor Bauer after setting a strikeout record shouts with excitement on the mound. His hand not holding his glove is in a fist
Pitcher Trevor Bauer, the moment he realized he had set the Mexican Baseball League’s strikeout record on Friday, making 19 strikeouts in a regular nine-inning game. (Horacio de la Vega OLY/X)

Bauer, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was suspended by MLB in 2022, was reinstated to the league in 2023 but let go by the Dodgers without returning. 

MLB handed Bauer the unprecedentedly long suspension in 2022 after accusations surfaced of him allegedly beating and sexually abusing a woman. Bauer denied the accusations, which were investigated by the L.A. District Attorney’s Office and MLB. Bauer was never charged with a crime, and the civil case against him by his accuser was eventually settled out of court, but Bauer has yet to secure another MLB team contract.

In 2023, Bauer played in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. He signed with CDMX’s Diablos in March.

With reports from Marca, MedioTiempo, Associated Press, El Debate, Récord, El Universal, La Jornada, El Debate and ESPN

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