Date: 15 Feb 1996 09:19:01 -0700
Subject: A moment of thought for Alex Aguinaga 
From: (Ariel Mazzarelli):

We have often spoken on RSS about how certain players were unlucky in world 
cup play, and hence, overlooked by the futbol fans. 

DiStefano and Best head this list. That alone speaks volumes. 

So I'd like to talk about Alex Aguinaga. Not only has Alex not played in a 
World Cup, he has not even played in a "respectable" country. His career was 
spent in Ecuador (that's where he's from) and Mexico (on Necaxa). If he's 
played elsewhere, then please correct me, but it is true that the bulk of his 
experience is in those two leagues, and of course on his national team. 

Let me tell you, this guy is something. When I first saw him in Copa America 
'89, I thought "he's not from Ecuador, they must have faked his passport". 
Here was a player that could pass the ball, elude his opponent with some nifty 
gambetas, kick with comba... if he was a lot better, he'd be Diego. He was 
that kind of player, the kind not seen outside of Argentina, Brasil, Peru, or 

Years passed, and his national team kept falling just a bit short of 
expectations. In that 1989 tournament, Ecuador got some points that they'd 
never gotten before, and Alex was the shining star. At the time, I thought 
that it would soon come to pass that Ecuador would qualify to the World Cup 
and bite some ignorant Europeans in the butt. Unfortunately, Ecuador has yet 
to make that tournament--although if Brasilians could muster a moment of 
honesty, they would tell you that in the last WC qualification round, Ecuador 
gave them all the trouble they wanted and then some. 

So Alex watches the grains of sand fall down, and his skills go accordingly. 
When he went to Necaxa, the team began to seriously contest the Mexican 
championship--and then finally won it last year. One of the features of living 
in California is that you get to see lots of Futbol de Mexico. So I have seen 
lots of games of Alex, and it has always been a joy to see him play. Even if 
the defenders are ridiculous, the referees questionable, the opposition 
hapless... Alex is a very classy player. What I saw in this weekly display was 
that not only was he technically proficient, but that he also had some very 
large huevos. The canonical example came in a recent game against America, 
possibly their main rival. Necaxa had just scored, and America did the center 
circle thing so ineptly that a defender (his name need not come up) received a 
backpass about 40 meters away from the goal, on the right, as the last man. 
Alex was charging hard at him, so he sent the ball to the goalkeeper and then 
moved out of Alex's way. Pobre Chavez, the goalkeeper, he received the ball 
with Alex about 7 meters away, and the field was not quite perfect; so the 
ball skittered a bit, and when it finally got to Chavez, he kicked it straight 
into Alex's shoulder. Just to make sure, Alex chased the bounce into the goal 
but it did not matter, 2-0 Necaxa. Chavez got the blame, the defender was 
really the one to blame, and Alex was the one that ran 50 meters full speed in 
a non-linear path to make it all happen. 

Outside of Ecuador, he is not too famous. But if you ever meet someone from 
there, and they tell you Alex Aguinaga was a great player, it is not 
provincialism, they are telling you the truth. Like DiStefano and Best, Alex 
Aguinaga is a great player that never had the chance to show his stuff in a 
World Cup.