June 06, 2016
Biggest Winner – Argentina
The marquee matchup of the first round didn’t disappoint. Argentina and Chile more than lived up to their lofty world rankings (No. 1 and No. 4 respectively), but it was La Albiceleste that came away with all three points. Both teams should have no problem with Panama or Bolivia so this game was always going to determine the group winner. Argentina also managed to win while resting Messi, who can now be allowed to recover completely before he’s needed in the knockout stages.
Daily MVP – Angel Di Maria
The PSG man stepped up big time in the absence of Messi. He was having a terrific game even before he scored Argentina’s first and set up its second. He and Ever Banega tore up Chile’s right side…good luck stopping them, Bolivia and Panama.
Goat of the Day – SUM and CONMEBOL
As if the ticket-price gouging and resulting early round attendances weren’t bad enough, now there’s word SUM and CONMEBOL are working on a deal to merge Copa America and the Gold Cup, and hold the tournament in the U.S. every four years. At what point is money worth destroying the century’s worth of history Copa America has?
Biggest Surprise – Panama v Bolivia
No, it wasn’t at the same level as Argentina – Chile, but Panama – Bolivia playing in a middle of a tropical storm was really entertaining. Three goals, numerous close calls and a fast, physical game that somehow avoided getting dirty despite a combined 43 (!!!!) fouls. Panama picked up a huge three points as well.
Worst Moment – Problems with a national anthem…again
Seriously? What is it with Chile’s national anthem? Yesterday it played instead of Uruguay’s, today (when Chile was actually playing) the anthem cut out, replaced by Pitbull. Is the Chile anthem cursed? Did the flash drive with the MP3 file get sent to Arizona by mistake? Kudos to the Chile players who were so locked in they kept right on singing despite the mishap.
Best Goal – Blas Perez (1st goal)
Angel Di Maria’s was good, but this is TotalMLS.net so I’m shamelessly giving it to Blas. In all seriousness, it was a pinpoint cross, a savvy run and a difficult finish made easy, what more could you ask for?
Future MLS signing Lionel Messi was…okay kidding. But there were plenty of MLS-ers in action Monday, all for Panama. Vancouver’s Blas Perez headlined the crew, his brace giving Panama a crucial win. San Jose’s Anibal Godoy and Alberto Quintero both went the distance in the win with Quintero assisting Perez on his first goal and giving Bolivia problems all game. Former MLS men Jaime Penedo, Gabriel Gomez and Gabriel Torres also made Panama’s starting XI.
Final Whistle – TV Ratings
People may not be going to some of the group stage games, but they’re certainly watching on TV. Mexico – Uruguay was, unsurprisingly, the most-watched game over the weekend, while the U.S. – Colombia match drew more than 5.4 million viewers between the UniMas/UDN simulcast and FOX Sports 1. Even the smaller games did well with Jamaica-Venezuela drawing 1.9 million viewers on Univison.
Group A: USA v Costa Rica (8:00 PM ET, FS1) Chicago, IL
Group A: Colombia v Paraguay (10:30 PM ET, FS1) Pasadena, CA