There were many skeptics who thought that Cuauhtemoc Blanco would not cut it in MLS when he arrived to play for the Chicago Fire a year ago, and Bernardo Fallas admits that he was one of them. Now he's happy to concede that he was wrong on all counts -- about Blanco being too old, about him not taking MLS seriously, and about him being a disruptive influence in the locker room.
"The man has delivered," Fallas writes. "In a year since he joined the league, the second-best-paid player in MLS has been worth every cent of his $2.7 million a year contract." Blanco may continue to play second fiddle to David Beckham in terms of, salary, image and marketability, but in terms of soccer achievement they are neck and neck. Over the course of the whole year, Blanco is even ahead, having helped the Fire into the post-season in 2007, unlike Beckham with L.A.
"Good seats may be hard to come by" this weekend when the Fire comes to play to the Dynamo, because "if you haven't noticed, Blanco has a following in Houston." Fire coach Denis Hamlett lauds the Mexican, recently recalled to his national team squad at the age of 35, as "a great player, but, best of all, he is a great comrade." Blanco, meanwhile, said he is in talks with the Fire to play there for another two years before heading back to Mexico for one final season.