Golazos galore!

Atlético Monarcas Morelia vs. San Luis Fútbol Club, 8 p.m. Saturday, September 8. $22-$55. Raley Field, 400 Ballpark Drive in West Sacramento; (916) 371-4487; www.raleyfield.com.

Raley Field

400 Ballpark Dr.
West Sacramento, CA 95691

(916) 376-4676

Are you pumped for football season? No, not American football; we’re talking about association football, also known as “The Beautiful Game,” or “soccer” to those of us in the United States. Anyway, the start of soccer season basically coincides with the beginning of American football season. So, why not change gears and follow the most popular sport in the world instead of one of the most injury plagued?

One way to start off soccer season is to check out this weekend’s international soccer match at Raley Field. It features Atlético Monarcas Morelia and San Luis Fútbol Club, two teams from Mexico’s top professional soccer league that are prepping for this season’s Clausura tournament. This exhibition match highlights Raley Field’s first taste of professional soccer since a 2010 match between Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA.

For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, the United States’ and Mexico’s national teams have a healthy—and deeply respectful—rivalry, which, some say, has led to improvement in both teams. In the latest match between the two teams of similar skill levels, United States defender Michael Orozco Fiscal—who also happens to play for Mexico’s San Luis FC—scored his first ever goal for the national team just two weeks ago. The late goal led to the first United States win against Mexico on Mexican soil in 75 years. This Saturday is a chance to welcome home the historic goal scorer.

If this is still not enough cause excitement, here are five reasons association football is better than American football:

1. It’s played primarily with one’s foot and a ball. Thus, the name football makes sense. American football might be more appropriately renamed hand-oval.

2. Association football only has one break at halftime; the rest of the time it’s nonstop action. American football stops every few seconds, and spectators at home must watch commercials many times each quarter.

3. There are dozens of great association football leagues, including the English Premier League, the Spanish Premier League and the United States’ own Major League Soccer. American football has only one good league.

4. Association football is universal. It’s played and watched everywhere in the world. American football? Not so much.

5. Several Mexican broadcasters can shout gol or golazo for what seems like a full minute. All American football has is Chris Berman’s mundane catchphrase: “He could go all the way.”