Preview Lite: USA vs. Mexico: Been There, Done That

Yee-Haw Lichaj? This will be the biggest game yet for the USMNT's newly annointed leftback

It’s Germany. It’s Argentina? Let’s get it on….

Okay, not quite, that’s the look the US (Germany) and Mexico (Argentina) are going to give you. However, as is well known, these two neighbors battling it out for CONCACAF supremacy–much more so in the wake of Jack Warner’s demise–are very familiar with each other.

This Saturday the prize? The Gold Cup trophy and a trip to the World Cup 2014 warm-up tourney the year before.

As the two favored nations to reach the Final before the tournament started, both teams took decidedly different, but also dramatic, paths to Pasadena.

The United States played, and dreadfully lost, an ill-advised pre-tournament friendly against the world’s number one team Spain.

They followed it up with an uneven group stage that saw their first ever loss–to a well-organized Panama side–in group play.

Coming off that monumental match, the States swapped out their backline–which has now been their key to their organization and defense–made it through the group stage, dismantled an overmatched though on-form Jamaican side, survived a war of field position against Panama and…now here they sit.

Oh, manager Bob Bradley–as is now custom during any camp or tournament of more than two matches–again came under the fire and the US sat their all-time caps, goal leader, and flag boy Landon Donovan on the bench.

Had enough?

Mexico arrives in the final with no less a dramatic drive. Hard to figure what was the bigger headline for El Tri in their group stage?Their tainted-chicken-steroid-player suspension situation–five players are no longer with the team but were replaced–or their overall attack dominance. El Tri lit the lamp 14 times in the group stage. 14 times!

More drama? FIFA is investigating irregularities in some of those matches early-on.

A younger Dempsey takes on Mexico in 2007. What will the mature one do?

As the US neighbor headed through the knockouts they looked decidedly more earthbound, however that was merely because of better competition and tiring legs.

Make no mistake in this one, Mexico is and should be favored going in.

Let’s get to our customary preview. It goes:

About the Opponent: Mexico

TSG What We’re Looking At

11 At The Whistle



About the Opponent: Mexico

Nothing unfamiliar here for the States. Discussion of whether Mexico is running a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-1-1 here is mere semantics. Mexico plays a very adaptable game with players interchanging frequently.

One quick note here, the speedy and on-form Andres Guardado is questionable for the match having received an ankle knock in Wednesday’s match against Honduras. If he can’t go–as is presumed–manager José Manuel de la Torre will insert Aldo de Nigris in his place. We’re not talking a big drop-off at the position because De Nigris himself has been solid in June. (Saturday update: Guardado is now expected to play.)

The Dos Santos Swivel: No matter what "formation" it's considered, Mexico interchanges well. Dos Santos will slide across the field depending on the match-up and Mexico's midfield will support accordingly.

Up top, the Mexican attack will feature Manchester United frontman Chicharito–he of the supreme poaching skills and six Gold Cup 2011 goals–in the center of the pitch.

Off him, Gio Dos Santos (who notoriously always seems like the anti-Donovan to the Yanks despite his big club team failures) will pick his spots and flip from one flank to the other depending on the match-up advantage.

Mexico uses their two wide midfielders Barrera and, Saturday, De Nigris to provide support if they are sharing the flank with Dos Santos or out wide if they are on the opposite flank from Gio.

Next, Israel Castro pushes up to fill in the center with Gerardo Torrado providing Castro with support as well as another option centrally or with Torrado staying home–effectively forming a 3-man backline up the pitch with central defenders Rafa Marquez and Hector Moreno–the fullbacks advancing. Castro and Torrado have been maligned for their speed, but they are smart players who know where to be on the field and that makes up for it.

Carlos Salcido–a teammate last year of Clint Dempsey’s at Fulham–mans the left with Efraín Juárez, Celtic, to the right.

Most folks and media previews will focus on Chicharito in this one, but it’s the 18-yard box-extended and the flanks where Mexico initiates its attack.

Supporting Dos Santos, Barrera and De Nigris well, El Tri likes to push wide and when a help central defender moves to provide cover either issue a cross or play it back on the floor to a trailing midfielder. That is the bigger battle in our opinion.

Mexico is very fluid and very good in tight spaces, so a disciplined shape from the Yanks is essential.

One more note, I’ve been somewhat surprised by just how frequently Mexico is issuing crosses in the air this tournament, perhaps a result of their confidence in Chicharito.

The Yanks have had one notorious breakdown–against Panama in the group stage–on a set piece cross and Saturday, if Mexico chooses that route, Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra–both very able aerially–will need to be on their games here.

TSG What We’re Looking For

MB90 like never before?

Can the USMNT central midfield tandem of Michael Bradley-Jermaine Jones hold up for one more game and find the hold-up player?

For US fans, this is the biggest question.

A long-running criticism of Coach Bob Bradley is his insistence on keeping son Michael on the pitch for the full ninety minutes. In fact, it’s earned midfielder the nickname “MB90″ for Bradley’s son as much as the midfielder’s aggressive, never-say-die style of play.

For the States, of course, this will be the grueling fifth game in 15 days. (And remember, no team has a homestand in this tournament. The US went Detroit, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Washington DC, Houston and now Pasadena–that’s brutal).

Towards the 70th minute of the last two matches, Bradley The Son tired.

For the United States, Bradley is critical as the defensive funnel and as the lead ball distributor from the back.

Mexico will flood centrally when the ball is on the flank, Bradley will have to do yoeman track-back work–he typically sits ahead of Jermaine Jones on defense–and will have to find the high-pressure outlet–and this is perhaps the most key point of this preview–after the US wins possession in its end.

If not? The States will play huck-it-up ball to a teenager against a seasoned backline and it could be a long afternoon.

Key match-up: Chicharito vs. Clarence Goodson-Carlos Bocanegra

Both the US centerbacks will be tasked with minding the off-ball work of Chicharito. Whether this means holding a disciplined line, following an angled run or dueling in the air, the communication between the veteran and the up-and-comer in central defense will need to spot on.

Can the US get its flankers up the pitch?

Mexico love to attack the gaps between the wide defenders and the centerback. That will often mean many times–more so than in any other game in this tournament–that Eric Lichaj and Steve Cherundolo will have to be narrow with the centerbacks on defense. Can they make their way up and wide on the pitch to provide support?

Remember it’s the Yanks wide fullback play that has been more key to their width than their midfielders in Summer 2011.

Um, might be nice to have Charlie Daves or Robbie Findley hanging around.

El Tri has been playing a highline for a bulk of the tournament using their front six pressure to create nightmares on a change in turnover. As their opponents have looked for joy up the field to alleviate pressure, they’ve been introduced to the Mexican backline playing far up the field.

The US will have to ping the ball on the floor to get out of the back, but as soon as a Clint Dempsey or Alejandro Bedoya has the ball up field they’ll need another outlet further up the field or risk being closed down by Mex’s “last line” defenders.”

Will Agudelo find the spots and does anyone on the States have enough speed to worry Moreno and Marquez for Mexico and force them to sit deeper?

11 At The Whistle:

The skinny: Two basic questions:

» How does Bob Bradley get his best, in-form players on the pitch together in a cohesive line-up all at one time?

» How does Bradley address the Mexican attack–the toughest one of the tourney–in terms of a defensive posture?

Gut feeling here is that Bradley with the below line-up.

Defensive posture from the Yanks in the line-up that Bradley may use... *amended with help of the TSG community...

Beyond the regular starters this Gold Cup, Alejandro Bedoya will be used to help Steve Cherundolo over the right flank or Eric Lichaj over the left flank. Only concern about putting Bedoya on the left flank is both he and Lichaj are new to the Mexican rivalry on the same side.

*Thanks to the TSG community for the commentary on the US line-up.

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: Mexico loves the cutback ball, in the air or on the ground. Howard’s going to be challenged on when to come out and when to stay put in this one. Oh not only on the wide balls played-in, but on the counters when the US may be caught out. It’s going to happen.

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Eric Lichaj

The skinny: No surprises here, biggest game of Lichaj’s short tenure manning the left fullback spot.

Will the industrious Bedoya get yet another start?

MID: Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones,  Landon Donovan

The skinny: Can Bedoya continue his all out up-down play that’s been the hallmark of a very positive Gold Cup for him. He’s going to need to help Dolo and get ahead in the attack.

On Donovan: If he’s healthy he plays.

FW: Clint Dempsey

The skinny: (Edit from TSG community) Dempsey will play a roving forward and hold-up role. Makes sense.

STR: Juan Agudelo

The skinny: This ain’t gym class; but it’s also not Panama’s Felipe Baloy. This games sets up much better for Agudelo’s skillset. Can he take advantage.


» Maurice Edu for Donovan or Bedoya (with Donovan moving to his flank)

Odds: 45%

The skinny: Very possible. You don’t think Bradley was perhaps trying out a potential Mexico defensive line-up against the similar Argentina


Oh, and can’t leave this question unattended. Will there be another late game Freddy Adu sighting accompanied by heroics?

Is the writing in the stands?

67 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dth on 2011/06/24 at 11:25 AM

    Bedoya’s defense will be a nice bonus for the U.S.–I wonder if Bradley will match Bedoya versus Barrera, particularly since Lichaj has trouble when fullbacks overlap with the winger.

    I think the critical matchup is Bradley/Jones v. Torrado/Castro. It’s been ignored in the hubbub about Chicharito this and high-scoring Mexico that, but Torrado/Castro are ancient and often play that way. Guatemala was able to snatch a lead based mostly on their central midfield outplaying Mexico’s; I suspect Bradley is watching that match intently.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 11:32 AM

      Agree with your sentiments DTH. I think if Donovan starts, he, Bedoya, and Dempsey will interchange a lot.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 12:46 PM

      DTH, sent you an email at your Yahoo account.


    • Posted by pickles on 2011/06/24 at 1:47 PM

      Ruiz’s goal for Guatemala was from a boot upfield that Mexico’s central defense (Moreno?) didn’t take care of. The goal had nothing to do with the midfield. I think they did crowd the midfield to hold that lead though.


      • Posted by Braden Lang on 2011/06/24 at 2:17 PM

        Espinoza was tooling guys in the middle of the field and nearly got a winner for it in the last 5 minutes of regulation. As Mexico wore down, Honduras definately found lots of space in the medio campo.


  2. I absolutely LOATHE Donovan in the second forward role; it’s where he most often ghosts out of games for both club and country. That being said, I think giving Donovan Deuce’s freedom in that area of the pitch is exactly the way to counter Mexico’s high backline – remember the infamous Oswaldo Sanchez goal in the February friendly…Donovan’s speed and central positioning made it possible (this time Agudelo won’t need Donovan to tell him to get his Grown Ass into the play…)

    Can’t wait to see how this one unfolds and what people will be saying about Bob Bradley afterwards.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 11:39 AM

      Concur Nick. But do you want him or Bedoya playing defense right now?


      • Given his lethargy lately, I’d say Bedoya. My concern is our left side, as you point out above, Gio might decided to pick on Lichaj and Deuce has been floating centrally which leaves him isolated. Plus playing ‘Cakes centrally gives the 3 band (if you look at it like 4-2-3-1 version of the 4-5-1) the ability to be slightly more interchangeable; I feel that when Deuce is central, he’s central no switching into and out of the middle.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 12:08 PM

          Agreed — see all your points. TSG commentary is probably correct. Will add up top.


        • Posted by Bode on 2011/06/24 at 4:24 PM

          One thing that may be to our advantage is that Dos Santos (IIRC) is left-footed, which is a good matchup for LIchaj, considering his stronger tackling foot (right) will be matched up with the foot that Dos Santos wants to work the ball onto.

          I remember in the 2007 Champions’ League when Liverpool played Barcelona, Alvaro Arbeloa was able to shut down Messi on his debut helped in large part to this factor.


          • Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/06/24 at 5:40 PM

            I woulda thought Dos Santos was right-footed the way he missed that sitter against Hondo


  3. Posted by RJ on 2011/06/24 at 11:54 AM

    Landon on the right, bedoya on the left and let dempsey create up top and in the middle, ya know let him roam. Bedoya’s work to help Lichaj. Landon and Stevie C work well together. Giving Juan someone to be up there with helps him I think. Freddy on if we need the O, Edu on if we need the D.


    • Posted by Alex Song on 2011/06/24 at 12:13 PM

      I like this idea.

      This game worries me. Mexico has the potential to light up the scoreboard and I don’t have any confidence in our ability to come from behind and win despite the way we fought back in the WC last summer.

      I think an early goal would be especially huge in this game. For that reason I think it would be interesting to see Adu start, but I highly doubt that it will happen. I think Bob will put him on the bench as a possible 60-65th minute sub. I just hope we’re not out of the game by then.

      It’s an interesting matchup. I don’t think Mexico’s back line is very good. If Agudelo is ever going to have a “wow” moment in this tournament, now would be a perfect time. I think a good striker could feast on Mexico’s D. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we have one of those on our roster. I think the goal scoring duties will most likely fall to Donovan and Dempsey (surprise surprise). Time to cement your legacy, fellas.


  4. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/24 at 12:29 PM

    I’m hearing that Salcido is doubtful for the final as well.


  5. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 12:36 PM



  6. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/24 at 1:44 PM

    What are the odds Klejstan starts central and Bedoya comes off the bench? Bedoya has just played a 90 minute game where as Klejstan might be more rested. The difficulties he had with Panama wouldn’t be as much of a problem with Mexico. Donavon-Klejstan-Dempsey band of three might make sense here. Or even the odds of Dempsey at striker with Bedoya on in the midfield?



    • Posted by Braden Lang on 2011/06/24 at 2:16 PM

      I’d think after Kljestan struggled a bit at the start of the Panama match we’d be more likely to see him come on for Agudelo in a 60th-min-push-dempsey-up-top substitution. He’s been effective coming into games in that position in this tournament. If Bedoya tires and we still need a goal, perhaps that’s when Sweats will see if lightning can strike twice with Adu.

      I agree 100% with TSG’s starting lineup and see our subs as Klejstan, Edu, Adu, unless someone is injured or sent off.


      • But the space that Klejstan needs won’t be there if Dempsey is up top. He doesn’t force the back line to play deep, allowing them to push up and take away that space. Agudelo doesn’t do it that well, but if Deuce is up top then Sasha won’t have any room to work.


  7. Posted by swedust on 2011/06/24 at 1:48 PM

    I agree Mexico can be viewed as favorites, but after watching their last two matches this squad does not seem to have the same magnetized ball control (once not playing Cuba) that I’ve seen from El Tri squads in the past.

    I may be forced to eat my words once the final whistle blows, but I really think that the US midfield is capable of keeping this version of Mexico off rhythm.

    Though inexperienced, Agudelo’s tracking back to disrupt opponent’s possession has been a fairly consistent attribute of his USMNT games: if he steps that up and our midfielders play equal to or above their customary level, and we limit their ability to attack in numbers, their attack will be significantly less potent.


    • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/24 at 2:22 PM

      It’s interesting that people talk about Mexico having better strikers or the US having better central midfielders. At the risk of being obvious this is probably going to be an 11+3 vs 11 + 3 game.

      And in the last two games in the knockout stages Mexico has looked tired and struggled. At times it seemed like Honduras used their superior size and power to dominate Mexico. They certainly have not looked as dangerous as they had in the group stages. An injuries may be a factor.

      The US seems to be getting it together and certainly looks better and more confident than they did in the group stages.

      It seems to me a close 1-0 game is in the cards. Or perhaps this thing goes to penalties


      • Posted by mbw on 2011/06/24 at 3:53 PM

        I think you’re absolutely right. Vegas has Mexico as a clear favorite, but just on a manpower level it’s hard to see much separation between them. Among the fourteen players most likely to play for each side on Saturday (i.e., no Spector), Mexico has six players whose rights are held by teams in the top five European leagues; the US has seven (including Lichaj). Mexico has three players whose teams are guaranteed to play European football next season; the US has four. The US enjoys home field advantage, but it probably won’t count for much. Totally agree with you that everything points to a nail-biter.


        • A note on the “home field advantage” – it’s an advantage for the USA in that they aren’t playing Mexico, but the Rose Bowl is expected to be packed to capacity with a largely pro-Mexico crowd. Just pointing it out. In terms of impact, maybe it will be a wash: USA plays at home but in front of unsupportive fans; Mexico plays away but in front of supportive fans.

          Definitely agree this one will be close.


        • Posted by dth on 2011/06/24 at 11:41 PM

          Yeah, correct. A lot of people have been making noises about how the U.S. is getting outclassed by Mexico’s talent development…and I just don’t see it. Yeah, they’ve got us on attackers, but they could take some tips from us on goalkeepers and central midfielders.


  8. Posted by HANASAM on 2011/06/24 at 1:59 PM

    chicharito, chicharito, chicharito, chichagooooooooollllll.

    Nenes feos. jjiijijijiji!!!!!



  9. Posted by SABadger on 2011/06/24 at 2:22 PM

    Matt– given Bob’s faithfulness to the tried and true 4-4-2, especially against Mexico (and the results he’s gotten from it) do you think he’ll stick to it? I feel like his river boat gambling “cojones” in using the 4-2-3-1 this tourney, sitting Landon and playing Adu will see him go with what has been working and use the 4-2-3-1. Thoughts?

    thanks fir the awesome site and helping my workday seem like a half-day — hope to see you in Pasadena!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 2:45 PM

      Thanks for the compliment—much obliged.

      Bit of a loaded question in the Yanks typically defend in a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1. That really hasn’t changed for the States. They’re still dropping their wide midfielders deep–necessarily–in defense.

      It’s the interplay up top which is where the US has struggled obviously and Bradley has experimented quite a bit.

      The line-up above is the defensive posture, but you’ll have Landon, Dempsey etc all making run from it.

      In practice actually the Yanks offense looks more like a 4-1-3-2…

      The pic below shows Bradley in possession moving forward and up the right flank.


    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/24 at 3:38 PM

      Given that Dempsey is part of the 2 in the 4-4-2 my guess is that on offense it will look very much like the 4-2-3-1. If it doesn’t we will get killed if we try to bunker (eventually Little Pea will make a run that works). We need the Jamaica plan to control possession and the MF.

      One key thing that I take away from Matt’s graphic above is that with the ball we have 5+ in attack (one could argue that we are playing an old fashion MM rather than a 4-1-3-2 as Dolo and Lichaj are really getting forward – looking for the spirit of Pep here). Props to dth pointed out how he thought that Jones was more playing as one side of a diamond with Donovan early in the tournament.

      We weren’t always getting that in the 4-2-2-2. Needless to say possession and offensive opportunites work better with 5 men trying than with 4. I have been harping on this for some time as our Agudelo/Altidore/Wondo aren’t of the class that they can make their own magical goal. Need 5 attacking unles its a counter.

      I just hope we don’t bunker too much. Still want to see Dolo and Lichaj getting forward and Bradley in the Buesquets role helping Boca and Goodson. Worried that we will see 8 pinned back defending and Dempsey and Agudelo getting frustrated.


      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/24 at 3:40 PM

        My nice graph from this11 didn’t come over. If someone could explain how to insert it I would be appreciative.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/24 at 4:12 PM

          Would appreciate no links to this11 at this time. Thank you. — (Note: didn’t edit any comment though.)


  10. Posted by syght on 2011/06/24 at 3:33 PM

    This is an opportunity for Agudelo. I agree with the above poster; here’s a defensive backline against which young Juan may be able to work some magic. I really hope to see a goal here from him in addition to the usual genius of Donovan and Deuce. Couple that with some solid defense from young Lichaj, and crisp and quick counters set off by Jones anad MB90 and I think we can pull off the “upset” here.

    Want to go dos a cero, but I guess 2-1 USA. *Fingers crossed, knocks on wood, prays lol*


  11. Posted by Izzy on 2011/06/24 at 4:01 PM

    This might be stretch, but I wonder what the chances are of Adu underneath Agudelo as Kljestan was, with Dempsey on the left and Donovan on the right(Or flipped if you like it)? Or rather, how successful do you think such a lineup would be? Dempsey seems to do well in that role he has on the left where he’s given freedom to join Agudelo up top, or drift across into the hole. Donovan is also given freedom to drift centrally, but comes wider, and sometimes deeper, to provide width. Adu is a tough decision, because you have to wonder if he benefited from being a substitute. Moreover, Kljestan’s not-so-great first half could have been attributed to Panama playing deep and narrow, making it tough for him to find space between lines and through the middle( Hence why the USA found their best chance in the first half from a cross).


  12. Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 5:33 PM

    I say mexico wins 2-0. You all said that mexico struggled the last two games. Sure they did, but guatemala scored early off a defensive mistake and played all out d, and honduras played like real madrid to barca. Honduras had no clear chance to score and played with hatred (like madrid to barca) because of it guardado and salcido are questionable. Giovanni had a bad game which is rare when he plays for mexico, and same thing with chicharito. it will certainly hurt if guardado and salcido do not play, but on the other hand de nigris has been clutch scoring 4 goals in 5 games coming off the bench. Salcido is scary, but I was impressed how well he played last game and looked like a younger version of salcido. Now talking about struggling, the U.S. Lost to panama (sad) and I say they out played the US last game as well, and they beat guadalupe 1-0 not at all impressive. I also believe that the US would have lost to honduras. I see most of you american fans, similar to real madrids in denial! Anyways I beleive that US has a bright future, and even tho I am a legal mexican american, its hard to root for a country that has fans like madrids, that believe they are better than mexico and after losing to them the last two times still make excuses, and ways to fight their case. Good luck to two both teams and hope for a clean game, unlike honduras!


    • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 5:39 PM

      I fell to mention torres nilo name , I was very impressed when he came in for salcido!


    • Posted by SuperChivo on 2011/06/24 at 7:18 PM

      Jorge, I’m a dual citizen as well and that’s cool if you want to support el Tri, but comparing them to Barcelona and the US to Real Madrid is a stretch to far. Whoever wins will see their ranking in world polls barely budge, maybe not at all if the US wins. Both are outside the top eight, a long way from the top eight, and have a great deal of ground to cover before they get there.
      Even if your reference is only within CONCACAF you are off base, all though not so much. The US has been the better side since at least 2002 and maybe, we’ll see tomorrow, the pendulum is finally swinging back Mexico’s way.


    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/24 at 8:11 PM

      its hard to root for a country that has fans like madrids, that believe they are better than mexico and after losing to them the last two times still make excuses

      But it’s easy to root for a country whose fans make a ritual out of chanting homophobic slurs at the opposing goalie, and hurling trash at opposing players and fans, right?


      • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 10:00 PM

        Right! Its a rivalry, if the US was as passionate as mexicos, it would be worse! Immagine a bunch of rednecks and thugs! It would be like the vancouvar riats


        • Posted by Braden Lang on 2011/06/24 at 10:04 PM

          So many things your post makes me want to say, yell more really. Pretty sure I’d get kicked off of the TSG board, so I’ll sum it up with this: GO USA!!!


        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/25 at 9:43 AM

          Oh, I get it, it’s a rivalry. That justifies everything except feeling your team is superior when you’re on a 10-4-2 overall run. Makes total sense.

          But then how do you explain the fact that the “puto” chants, the garbage-throwing, the booing of national anthems, etc. happens against pretty much everyone Mexico plays, not just the US?


          • Posted by sfshwebb on 2011/06/25 at 9:57 AM

            Intense rivalries breed all sorts of antagonism. In every rivalry some fans take it over the line, and it’s always because of, and goes over the footballing lines. Politics, socio-economics, social issues etc…are always easy to attack. It’s part of the game and sometimes it gets ugly. The key is, as always, that when the match is over, all the vitriol is over too. One of the many aspects i like about the TSG boards ( I as well as Matt read and moderate every comment that goes up here), is that the rivalries are often debated, but are done so in a respectful manner. So kudos to you all. May the best team win.


    • Posted by Braden Lang on 2011/06/24 at 10:00 PM

      You beat us fair and square at Azteca, we beat you fair an square in Colombus. The last two matches are 1-1.

      As for last year’s Gold Cup match, it was a great win by Mexico. No excuses for the team that played but they were not the full senior international side. The team that faced Mexico contained zero players from the Confederations Cup roster, and one player, Clarence Goodson, who despite making the world cup roster played zero minutes.

      Think of it as if it were a youth match because the result has about that much bearing on the two teams meeting each other tomorrow.


  13. Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 7:27 PM

    I was not comparing by the style of play, I was comparing american fans to real madrids. and I am talking about the present not 9 yeard ago. The last two years mexico has had the better team. In my opinion mexico has had more talent in last 4 years, just awful coaching like hugo sanchez, erickson and aguirre (who chose bench chicharito, guardado and ochoa).


    • Posted by SuperChivo on 2011/06/24 at 8:12 PM

      Mexico certainly has better, more passionate fans, that we can agree on. I wish the U.S. got a third of that support.The last two years that you talk about they haven’t really done anything except beat up on teams very much inferior to themselves. Tomorrow will be fun, may the best team win.


  14. Posted by Gino on 2011/06/24 at 10:49 PM

    Didn’t read all the posts before commenting this time but here’s my two cents.

    Mexico has better overall talent, hands down. Even though they struggled the last couple of games, they still look better then the U.S. and are in much better form, particulary offensively. They pass the ball around with confidence and have multiple players who are capable finishers. They just appear to be a more cohesive unit. The game is at the Rose Bowl which means they’ll practically be playing at the Azteca. If you would have asked me six months ago who would win this tournament, I might have slightly hesitated before answering USA. However, the Nats have not impressed recently and there are a lot of injuries and question marks. We’re definitely the underdogs tomorrow.

    All that said, 2009’s Gold Cup Final was an aberration. Any knowledgeable, unbiased observer could see that the US sent inferior talent because that tournament had no meaning. The US played in the tournament that mattered, the Confederations Cup, that summer. The US has owned Mexico at home the past several years. And for all Mexico’s talent, they have struggled with the US style of play when we’ve played our A team. You can call it winning ugly, but win we’ve done. Mexico’s backline seems to always be their Achilles’ heel and this year is no different. Don’t forget that for all their fight and determination, El Tri have a history of buckling under the pressure against the Nats. The want to beat us so bad that they choke on their bile and implode.

    I know that this seems overly simplistic but sometimes when you stare at something so hard, the obvious only appears when you take a step back.


    • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 11:35 PM

      I agree with you! I believe mexico has more talent, but for some reason they always choke vs US. also, usa plays the same style as mourinho in playing D most of the game and playing the counter, wich they do well because of the speed. I dont like it, I think its ugly but it works


      • Posted by dth on 2011/06/24 at 11:43 PM

        Where does this impression come from? Mexican fans get bent out of shape whenever we beat them, as if it’s some offense against soccer…but the talent is basically equal. I’m not even sure Chicharito will be the best player on the field Saturday–Tim Howard is a top 10, top 15 goalkeeper. Chicharito isn’t equivalently good at forward.


        • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/24 at 11:54 PM

          Chicharito scored 20 goals for man united and did not fully start till the end of the season, he took berbatov spot. Also berbatov wad the top scorer in the english league. I believe coach ferguson would disagree with you! Chicharito will score tommorow maybe twice!


          • Posted by dth on 2011/06/25 at 12:06 AM

            I’d rather have Messi, Villa, Sanchez, Rossi, Ronaldo, Drogba, Rooney, Aguero, Ibrahimovic, Eto’o, Tevez, Suarez and Cavani to name just a few off of the top of my head. How many keepers would you take before Howard? For me it’s only a few for sure–Casillas, Neuer, and Reina.

            Mexico has been able to produce that one elite talent before–Sanchez, Blanco, Marquez–and is Hernandez really that much better than any of these fine gentlemen? Not really. For all of the hype, there’s no reason to look at the talent of either team and conclude anything is substantially different for either side. It just so happens that de la Torre has coached his team into a cohesive, flowing side; for whatever reason, Bradley hasn’t done the same for his.


            • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 12:18 AM

              I would take chicharito over howard, and so would everyone else. You would be a fool to say otherwise. I would choose casillas, victor valdes, reina, van der sar, pinto,buffon,the new goalie for man U who tranfered from athletico, and golie from shcalke and thats me knowing very little about golies, I’m guessing your in the same boat!

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/25 at 12:37 AM

              I would take Chicharito over Howard because he’s a forward and they’re more valuable than keepers. Nevertheless Howard is a better goalie than Chicharito is a forward.

              As to your examples–van der sar is retired. Buffon has stunk for a few years now. De Gea is still very young–might easily become better than Howard in a few years, but I’d rather have Howard right now. Neuer is better than Howard, to be sure, and that’s why I listed him.

            • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 1:03 AM

              Chicharito is 22 how old is howard?

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/25 at 1:20 AM

              Howard is 32. What’s your point?

            • Goalies stick around a lot longer than field players – especially the elite ones. Iker is 30. Cech and Valdes are both 29. Cesar is 32. Reina’s 28. Van der Sar played until he was 40. Goalkeeper is a position based less on how fast you can run (and puts much less mileage on your knees) and is based far more on positioning and having an iron ballsack.

              Look at the American keepers widely regarded as the best ones ever produced. Keller is still playing (albeit, in the MLS) at the age of 42. Friedel just signed with Tottenham and has been overseas since 1997 – he’s 40. Hahnemann is 39. None of these guys are better than Howard – but it’s not due to a decline in their skills per say, Timmy’s just better and has been for awhile. He’s a world class keeper (and anyone who argues that needs to be checked for head trauma), and he’s going to be for another 5-7 years. If anything, he’s gotten better as he’s gotten older, like a fine wine – only with a rather fiery temper.

        • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 8:27 AM

          I agree tho! Chicharito won’t be the best player on the field! I’ve said it a million times i say giovanni is better! He gives defences nightmares, he plays alot like messi! You think im joking, but you’ll see tonight!


          • Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 8:02 PM

            Come again!!!! Your superstar tim howard got scored on 4 times, like I said giovanni was the best player on the field!


  15. […] The Fan In You « Preview Lite: USA vs. Mexico: Been There, Done That […]


  16. Posted by dude on 2011/06/24 at 11:13 PM

    The chances of Adu not playing in this game are the same as the US carrying a solid lead late into the game- slim.


  17. Posted by Owen Coyle on 2011/06/25 at 6:36 AM

    Several things to give US a cold sweat and a nervous tick. 1. Can Goodson and Boca hang with Chick pea? How this plays out, plays out the match. 2. Chick pea is only as good as the quality service into him. Right, Sir Alex? I see you smiling. 3. The southern neighbors will press. Will Goodson/Boca be heady with the ball or cough it up all day, starting the next wave of assualt? 4. US respone will have to come from counter. Slow build up with Dolo and Aston Villa lad making a run will fizzle and die on the vine in this one, exposing Goodson/Boca even more. Other than that, enjoy nd drink responsibly


  18. Should be fun…hope the real Mexico team shows up. Cannot wait


  19. Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 1:04 PM

    Ya se armo!!!! Vamos mexico!!


  20. Posted by Jorge on 2011/06/25 at 8:04 PM

    Who’s struggling????? Thats what I tought!!


  21. […] much of the same–The Dos Santos Swivel–as we described here from El Tri […]


  22. […] Noah quaff & dazzling dance work-footwork–will be absent. However, the TSG-coined “Dos Santos Swivel” will still be in effect. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will start up top and […]


  23. […] Whereas in March, Dos Santos was expected to exclusively incut from the right–and continually failed  (Preview – March 2013 – The Dos Santos Incut Option), the past two games has seen Dos Santos float more as he did against the American in Pasadena at that Gold Cup Final (Preview – July 2011 – The Dos Santos Swivel). […]


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