I Just got done watching the Mexico vs Brazil Group Stage game, and wow. What a thriller! Both goalies performed admirably, but Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa put in the performance of a lifetime, almost single-handedly keeping Brazil scoreless. A lot of credit goes to the Mexican defense too, but there were times when they failed and Ochoa picked them up big time. Let’s talk a little bit about who Ochoa is, and his wonderful performance today.
Ochoa, a 28 year old from Guadalajara started playing professionally for Club América of the Mexican league in 2004, when he was just 18. He would start virtually every game for the next seven seasons, before departing for AC Ajaccio of the French Ligue 1, where he’s played ever since.
Internationally speaking, this is Ochoa’s first World Cup as a starter for Mexico. He was the third stringer in 2006, and a controversial backup in 2010 (many thought he deserved the job over old man Oscar Pérez). During the 2011 Gold Cup, Ochoa was one of five Mexican players suspended for testing positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol. The Mexican federation absolved them, citing tainted beef (don’t touch me please I cannot stand the way you teeeeaaaase) as the cause of the positive test. While that might seem like total bullshit, it was actually something that was upheld by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency), once they finished their investigation, so I guess it’s legit.
Anyway, Ochoa’s career continued, and he was named the starter for the Mexican national team heading into the 2014 World Cup. So far, so good. Ochoa, although he wasn’t challenged too many times, pitched a shutout in Mexico’s 1-0 win against Cameroon last Friday, and then had the game of his life against Brazil earlier today.
In all, he had six saves against the host nation, each seemingly more harrowing than the next. He stopped Neymar twice, once on a header and once on a ridiculous low kick that the Brazilian placed through the legs of a defender, but none of his saves were more impressive than the stop he made on a wide open header by Thiago Silva off of a cross from the left wing. It was definitely a “Man of the Match” performance by Ochoa, who should have garnered himself a whole lot of attention on the international transfer market. Congratulations, Memo.
Here’s the last, and best, save:
See the rest of the saves here.
Featured image courtesy of: AFP
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