Wednesday, February 07, 2007

USA vs. Mexico

What: USA vs. Mexico
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
When: 9:00pm EST

Well, here we are. Tonight we have the CONCACAF grudge match, USA vs. Mexico. North vs. South, rising soccer power vs. established soccer power.

Both of these sides are in two different situations. One side, the Mexican side, has a new coach in Sanchez who must prove that all of the venom he shot at former Mexican coach Ricardo La Volpe was warranted and that he is the one who can break the Tri Color’s most recent run of 0-6-1 on US soil, and having a 0-11 goal difference in those matches. He has brought in his first choice team to begin his reign and it looks as if he will start off with a very positive result. Well, even with a victory, will he really have a positive result?

The USA is coming in with their “new” coach, Interim Head Coach Bob Bradley. No one knows if Bob will be at the helm much past May, now he is one of those guys who either is sitting in a hot seat, or has no worries in the job security department. Bob has brought in a less than experienced squad, having only called in four players from overseas. Bob seems to be using this match as another step towards establishing the core unit for 2010 World Cup qualifying.

Based on the two squads that have been called in for this match, one should expect the Mexicans to break their funk and pick up the win. However, as it is going to be the Mexican A Team vs. the USA B team, will the victory be a hollow one for the ones that really care about it the most…the Mexican press? Unless Mexico drops 4 or so goals on the USA, I really have to believe that Sanchez will only get vindication and praise if he leads Mexico to Gold Cup glory, with a victory over the USA in the finals.

I honestly think that the USA players will be the biggest winners in this match tonight. The guys like Bobby Boswell, Jonathan Bornstein, Ricardo Clark and Justin Mapp; guys who haven’t had the experience of playing in a packed stadium full of Tri Color flags waving and whistles and drums pounding. This match is a perfect primer for matches in Mexico, and matches in other Central American countries that will occur in World Cup qualifying. It will also help them to carry this experience over into their club matches. When DC United fly to Honduras for their CONCACAF Champions Cup match, Boswell, Namoff and Gros should at least be a little more familiar with the environment.

I expect Mexico to win, but something tells me that we might do all right. This match is for our future and their present.

USA 1- 2 Mexico



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