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It's Blanco's Debut, Too
Associated Press, July 20th, 2007 2:45PM

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It's a weekend of coming-out parties for Major League Soccer's two most famous acquisitions. On the one hand, you have David Beckham, who's listed as "doubtful" for Saturday's clash between the L.A. Galaxy and Chelsea -- you can bet that ESPN and MLS are desperate for him to get 10 minutes on national television -- and on the other you have the decidedly more polarizing figure of Cuauhtemoc Blanco, whose mission to galvanize the Chicago area's Mexican community begins Sunday, when the Fire hosts Celtic.

Among Mexicans and many Mexican-Americans, Blanco is equally as loved as Beckham is in England, though he has a history of clashing with coaches, teammates and officials. Like Beckham, Blanco is coming into a team badly in need of a savior. Chicago is currently last in the East Conference with 16 points. Despite its poor record recently, the Fire is still only 10 points behind the conference leader, the New England Revolution. The club is also in the midst of being sold by owner Anschutz Entertainment Group, which orchestrated Blanco's deal, to the private equity group Andell Holdings.

Though he's coming off a fine season with Mexico's Club America, Blanco's game has definitely slowed down over the years. It will be interesting to see how his game adapts to the fast pace and aggressive tackling in MLS. "I know people questioned my play after I got injured [in 2006] ..." the 34-year-old told the Associated Press. "I don't think that those questions exist now. I feel great, my body is in good form. I'm ready to play for Chicago."

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