Little Billy Simmons goes to Mexico

The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, went to Mexico last week for the crunch World Cup '10 qualifier between the Mexican hosts and the USA. His article on the game is up on ESPN now and is a very interesting read from many angles.

First and foremost, this piece shows that mainstream US sports journalism is warming ever so slowly to Soccer. Sports Guy dabbled a bit in the English Premiership the last few seasons, including once selecting Tottenham as 'his team', however this is his first serious attempt at critiquing both a soccer game and a team, in this case the USA.

Sports Guy was clearly stunned by the vociferous Mexican crowd, that comes out clearly in the article. Perhaps if more US sports fans are exposed to passionate European soccer fans (think Barcelona, Liverpool, Celtic) the Champions League will take off Stateside.

His take on the state of the US team is really interesting, if a little naive, and I say that in a good way. His new found enthusiasm for Soccer is both admirable and flawed, the latter simply coming from not having logged the hundreds of thousands of hours watching top class Soccer that those of us on the right hand side of the Atlantic generally have.

By way of example, Sports Guy seems to have been blinded a little by the flashy but very raw striker Jozy Altidore. Jozy is going to play in the EPL in '09, he is on loan to Hull City from Villareal. Put it this way, his own club deem him dispensable, for now, until he becomes a more experienced and consistent player. Definitely one for the future, but right now, basically an on-form but inexperienced rookie. Think Matt Ryan of the Falcons.

he got game

His homage to Stevie Gerard is delightfully innocent and yet spot on really;

''For instance, I watched Sunday's Liverpool-Tottenham battle, and Steven Gerrard was so ridiculously, dominantly good in so many different ways -- some overt, some subtle -- that I couldn't get over it. He makes difficult plays seem effortless; you never forget he's on the field. America doesn't have anyone like that.''

The piece is an honest look from a fresh angle and deserves a read. As usual for the Sports Guy, it's pretty funny also, in an irreverent humour kind of way. Sure beats 92% or most of the current wave of 'sports reporting' going on out there, four paragraph 'bites' of snappy, soulless and vacuous writing.

Well worth a gander.