MLS is underway and the biggest news is Beckham's debut for the LA Galaxy. But the Chicago Fire are awaiting their own legend, Cuauhtémoc Blanco. The Beckham hype has overshadowed why this maybe the most significant signing because this makes the Chicago Fire real contenders for the MLS title despite the loss of their best striker Nate Jacqua to the LA Galaxy.
Blanco is considered one of the best strikers in Mexican soccer history right up there with Jared Borgetti, Luis Hernandez, and the present coach of the Tricolores, Hugo Sanchez. Blanco fans missed him this World Cup because of his bitter feud with coach Ricardo La Volpe who left him off the roster. The bad blood with La Volpe began when he was the coach for Club America. Blanco has always been controversial and has instigated many an incident on and off the pitch.
But there is no doubt about Blanco's talent, technically sound and very innovative. He has his own move called the Cuahtemina (Bunny Hop) where he scoops the ball between his feet and hops over tackling defenders. This was unveiled in the 1998 World Cup against S.Korea. Blanco has scored 138 goals in 355 appearances in the Mexican league. He has also won the MVP twice in a row in 2004 and 2005. He has been in fine form for Club America in the Clausura after making a full recovery from foot surgery.
The Fire will be boosted by the presence of the Mexican community coming out to cheer one of their heroes. This well maybe the X factor that will give Chicago an added edge towards the title.
The MLS also needs players like Blanco to give the league much needed oomph. Clint Mathis should not have to shoulder that responsibility alone. Blanco comes off as a simple man unfazed by money and with no pretensions. In his words he is a 'mesero', a street cleaner who is in the services of his club.
Cuauhtémoc Blanco stats >>