Archive for the ‘USA vs. Mexico’ Category

USA-Mexico Preview: Attack at the Azteca

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Is it in the cards?

Is it in the cards?

We’ll spare most of the buildup to the game. It’s been hashed and rehashed over blogs, emails, television, radio, locker rooms, outhouses, penthouses, henhouses, etc. etc. for awhile.

It’s the USA away, Mexico home…and the game is a fulcrum point one year away from the (Project 2010) World Cup.

Are the U.S. for real after their revelation against Spain or are they Even Steven, showing bouts of ineptitude vs. flashes of brilliance?

Let’s get right to the tale of the tape then. Let’s get it on!

As usual, we’ll follow the TSG format:

TSG “What We’re Looking For”

11 at the Whistle

*Disclaimers

Ding, ding ding.

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It’s coming! The US-Mex preview: Your thoughts?

Battleground: Mexico

Battleground: Mexico

Nearly 1.5 miles above sea level.

Over 100,000 chanting fans clad in green.

Smog so thick it makes Los Angeles look like Montana.

A recent scare of epidemic proportions.

You think the U.S. only has to worry about the play on the field?

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Today’s postings brought to you by the numbers “9” and “12”

Buck up! One more week to go!

Buck up! One more week to go!

Whew!

We are almost there. We just went through the dead zone in American and global football. That’s the time after the Champion’s and Confederation’s Cup where the major European leagues are in a lull.

It is just 9 days until the U.S. World Cup qualifier south of the border at the Azteca

It is just 12 days until the start of the English Premier League.

You’ve made it. Just one more weekend.

What are your thoughts?

Who’s going to play for the U.S. next Wednesday? What’s your game summary prediction?

How’s Clint going to fare now that he’ll be a starter for the full season at Fullham? Is this the year that Eddie Johnson makes his mark as well.

Will Jonathan Spector stay healthy and contribute regularly? Does Jay DeMerit move clubs?

Tell us what you think?

The mirage is fast becoming an oasis.

As Predicted, ESPN.com Misses The Mark

While Ives Garcalep (www.soccerbyives.net) filed a fair game report on the U.S. meltdown against Mexico, the same cannot be said for ESPN soccer editor Jen Chang.

While I generally feel that Chang’s commentary is right on (calling out BB’s strategy of two defensive midfielders, arguing for overseas players over MLS players), his commentary on yesterday’s game was just plain off.

Chang calls out the Americans for letting Mexico recover it’s swagger by not fielding a strong Gold Cup team. He further excoriates the U.S. depth and suggests that beyond Stu Holden and Troy Perkins, yesterday’s performances by Kyle Beckerman and Chad Marshall among others undid all the work they put in earlier in the tournament.

My first issue is that I did not hear from Chang the entire tournament. Maybe he was recovering–like nearly THE ENTIRE US FIRST TEAM–after a long arduous tournament against top competition in a different time zone. Really Jen, you wanted the U.S. to trot out it’s first team in a weak Gold Cup field where no team brought all their top talent after playing 5 games in 3 weeks just days before? Further, after many had been away from their club teams and the top level play we want them to get before 2010.

Also where was your analysis early on? The U.S. struggled against Haiti and even Panama at times. That they would struggle yesterday was more likely than the phenomenal 1st half display the team put on.

To suggest that players like Marshall and Beckerman did themselves a disservice is another egregious mistake without mentioning that a) their play was strong in the first half and b) Javier Aguirre was so concerned with his team’s first half play against a second rate U.S. squad that he brought in Carlos Vela to pair Giovani Dos Santos to start the half. That’s two, count’em, two EPL strikers to take on the U.S. jv team.

Further, it is play against quality competition that coach Bob Bradley can use to measure his arsenal of players. He just saw his “A” team against Spain and Brazil less than a month earlier. What did the “A” team have to prove in the Gold Cup? What player insights would be gained against mostly inferior competition for players that taken on 3 of the top 10 teams in the world?

A better angle if you wanted to call out the USMNT team would be to discuss the eerie parallel between Brazil piling on the U.S. in the 2nd half of the Confederation’s Cup final game with yesterday’s second half implosion. As this blog can well atest, I have been critical of Bob Bradley’s halftime adjustments and considerations in such situations and again yesterday we saw the U.S. come out not ready to handle an invigorated Mexican attack. While the manner of attack was flashy and the score finally obnoxious, the U.S. had a similar behavior against Haiti, giving up two goals in the course of ten minutes after half time in a decidedly different manner.

At least this time Bradley tried to change up the team (admittedly too late) with early insertions of Kenny Cooper and Santino Quaranta.

The story of yesterday is not the Yanks letting Mexico regain their confidence (if Mexico has to rally around beating the U.S. “B” team just a year before the World Cup that’s a bigger problem) or how certain players canceled out their entire tournament. It’s about measuring the Gold Cup team in aggregate (by achievement and by the next step of growth necessary) and a disturbing trend of coming out tactically unprepared in the 2nd half.

Yesterday’s post-game opinion saying ESPN would miss the mark

USA – Mexico: It’s up to the A team to respond

My brother will be along later with the traditional TSG review to today’s game.

If you read the 1st half notes posted less than 1 hour ago, well tear them up or just reverse them completely.

Here at TSG we support the USMNT, but we don’t pull any punches. If there is a player or coach to call out, we do it–in the spirit of providing good commentary to our readers and fans.

Take this away from today’s 5-0 drubbing by Mexico, it was a positive moment for U.S. soccer.

Today’s story, and don’t let ESPN commentary or Fox Soccer Channel (Fox announced: “this will taint the U.S.’s progress in the Gold Cup”) announcers tell you differently, is how a young, inexperienced team hung with the A team of Mexico for one half in front of an overwhelmingly pro-Mexican crowd at Giants Stadium.

For a team of youngsters to come together and play so confidently in the 1st half is THE story. Remember, this is a team that needed a late strike from Stu Holden just to beat Haiti a few weeks ago.

In the 2nd half, Mexico came at the U.S. with experience, momentum and national pride on the line and though our game Gold Cup squad couldn’t diffuse the onslaught, chalk that up to lack of experience and only lack of experience.

Though it was late in the game you know what was great? Brian Ching, arguably the best U.S. player on the day, rallying the squad. And you know what else I liked, 3 yellow cards (and subsequently a red for Jay Heaps) to Ching, Kenny Cooper and Heaps to end the game. While that may not be the best sportsmanship, it smacks of pride. Pride for their team and embarrassment of being demolished; it shows fight.

As a fan, I thought that U.S. soccer had fallen to the ultimate low when Tim Howard’s head was stepped on last August in Guatemala and no one came to his defense for the U.S. team. That was a team, and game, where you questioned the heart of everyone but Frankie Hedjuk. Or remember just a few weeks ago on the opposite side of the equator when the US team had to be nearly shamed into a solid performance against Egypt.

I didn’t see that today — I saw fight and a good future for U.S. soccer. I saw pride in the jersey the entire tournament.

Tough game team; great tournament. The fans appreciate it Team USA.

And kudos to Mexico, you played exceedingly well tactically and skillfully in the 2nd half. You deserved the win.

Notes at the half: USA – Mexico

The U.S. is playing a strong game today in East Rutherford as they take on Mexico for the right to host the Gold Cup trophy.

The word of the day for the USA: positioning (and this is also a pat on the back for Bob Bradley). From Brian Ching’s striker play to midfield o runs by Pause and Beckerman to Pearce overlapping the U.S. is playing a smart confident game.

Chad Marshall and Clarence Goodson have proven that their blanket defense against Honduras wasn’t an anomaly. Beyond one late half run, Mexico has struggle to mount anything more than counter attack offense.

Kyle Beckerman is controlling the midfield and Stu Holden again is creating on the wing. Even Davy Arnaud has gotten into the mix with some good if not yet fruitful runs off Ching.

For Mexico, Geovanni Dos Santos has dazzled with the ball but not yet leaked through for a shot.

Good first half boys!

Oh, one more note, Jamaican referee is calling an excellent game and clearly in charge of it. He may have been quick with some early yellow cards, but that’s how you keep a US-Mex game in check.

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