Wednesday, August 01, 2007

USA vs. Mexico: Round III

Here is the funny thing, USMNT matches are usually never a surprise once they are actually announced by the USSF. We mostly hear rumors at first of the USA playing matches in Tampa or in LA or some place. We had two recent rumors that the USA is scheduling a trip down to South Africa to face the 2010 World Cup hosts in November and the September 9th match in Mexico City against our southern rivals, Mexico.

Well, the Mexico trip just became a reality as the USSF announced the match today. Add this to the confirmed/rumored scheduled and we now have five away matches scheduled for the rest of 2008, which is a drastic change from last year and the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, this match doesn't really get me that excited as the other ones do and this actually bothers me.

Yes, playing a match against Mexico in any situation is a good match for the USMNT. Mexico is not only the other top side in CONCACAF, and as they finished third in the Copa America, one could argue that they are honestly the third best side in the Western hemisphere. Playing against Mexico in Mexico City, Azteca no less, is a golden opportunity for the USMNT, if for nothing else than the chance to get the younger guys used to having bags of urine and batteries tossed at them before they have to go there for World Cup qualifying.

So why am I not as excited as I should be, or others are?

I guess it is because this is the third act of the same dance that we have had this year with Mexico. Yes, I understand that the venue change makes it an entirely different ballgame, but I think that we might have short sighted ourselves by getting another Mexico friendly in the same calendar year. Couldn't we have called up Peru and seen if they wanted a visitor on the 9th? How about another match in Europe?

Don't get me wrong, I am happy that this match has been scheduled. In fact, if the USSF worked it out that every year (minus World Cup Qualifying years) USA and Mexico have a home/away series of friendlies, I wouldn't be upset. I just think that as we have already danced twice this year, there has got to be other dance partners out there that we haven't seen before? Maybe try and see if Iraq wants to meet up in Rome or something. We are probably going to play them in the Confederations Cup in 2009 anyways.

In any case, I am happy to see that the USSF has scheduled another match for the USMNT and that this new match will be outside of the USA. Matches like these should be scheduled. Playing away from home gives guys a different feeling and prepares them better for the World Cup qualifying.

Now I gotta figure out how to get my company to pay for me to go to Mexico....

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