Last year on June 25, 2011 the United States found themselves in the midst of an enormous opportunity that they had to capture. 94 thousand people gathered at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to witness this match. This match was the 8th USA Gold Cup appearance, and Mexico’s 7th appearance. These two rivals collided in what was definitely suppose to be an amazing match. The match in Pasadena, California was suppose to give the United States home field advantage as the host country for the tournament. However, as statistics would later show, Mexican fans outnumbered the USA fans 3-1. It was a hostile environment that the USA players needed to make a statement. What looked to be a glorious day after Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan put the USA up 2-0, ended in one of the biggest collapses in USA soccer history. The USA lost that match 4-2. Mexico has not looked back since that day. They have gone on to become the #1 team in our region, and now the 2012 Gold Medal winners of the 2012 Olympics. Mexico’s defeat over the USA in the Gold Cup also earned them the right to play for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil next summer. This tournament was the tournament that saw the United States defeat #1 Spain 2-0 to advance to their first ever FIFA cup final in 2010.
The United States took a different path. The USA went on to fire Bob Bradley, and bring in the ex German national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The USA saw their roster get completely revamped. They have had their highs by defeating teams like Italy, Scotland, and Venezuela. They have also suffered new lows such as drawing with Canada, our U-23′s losing to Canada in Olympic qualifying, and the 4-1 loss we took against Brazil. World Cup qualifying has started slow with the USA only claiming 4 pts out of a possible 6.
Although I hate that I am admitting this, Mexico is the team to beat in our region right now. In past years this would be a painful thing to admit. However, the CONCACAF confederation is no longer a weak region to be from. We are seeing new countries rise like Honduras and Panama that are also challenging for not only world cup spots, but to be legit contenders to get out of group play in the world cup. For the USA, one thing is for certain, we are definitely doing the right things to get ourselves in position to get back to the World Cup. But it starts with matches like this one, this Wednesday.
Any time you get the chance to walk into Mexico, and play in Azteca stadium, you are putting yourself in position to play the top quality soccer that will only make you better.
History since 2000:
|Jun 11, 2000||Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey||2000 U.S. Cup||United States 3–0|
|Oct 25, 2000||Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California||Friendly||United States 2–0|
|Feb 28, 2001||Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio||2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier||United States 2–0|
|Jul 1, 2001||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, D.F.||2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier||Mexico 1–0|
|Apr 3, 2002||Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado||Friendly||United States 1–0|
|Jun 17, 2002||Jeonju World Cup Stadium, Jeonju, South Korea||2002 FIFA World Cup Round Of 16||United States 2–0|
|May 8, 2003||Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas||Friendly||0–0|
|Apr 28, 2004||Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas||Friendly||United States 1–0|
|Mar 27, 2005||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, D.F.||2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier||Mexico 2–1|
|Sep 3, 2005||Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio||2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier||United States 2–0|
|Feb 7, 2007||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona||Friendly||United States 2–0|
|Jun 24, 2007||Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois||2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final||United States 2–1|
|Feb 6, 2008||Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas||Friendly||2–2|
|Feb 11, 2009||Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio||2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier||United States 2–0|
|Aug 12, 2009||Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, D.F.||2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier||Mexico 2–1|
|Jun 25, 2011||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California||2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final||Mexico 4–2|
The bad news is…..Mexico has been playing top quality soccer for a month now. They have defeated world power Brazil to win the Gold Medal in the Olympics. They are a team that has traveled together, trained together, and fought together, for a while now. The USA is coming into camp on Sunday and will have two days of training before they walk into Azteca. A stadium they have never seen victory in.
The good news….Mexico’s call up roster is evidence that they our out for blood against the USA. Hopefully this will work in our favor. After playing the entire tournament they called up almost their entire starting 11 from Brazil. These boys are flying across the world, jet lagged, getting off the plan straight into training, and have to be ready for a match on Wednesday. Klinsmann’s U.S. call up’s are very strategic. He has called up 6 players that currently play in Mexico, understand the style and atmosphere the country will bring on Wednesday. He also is bringing in players that are not only starting for their current clubs, but our scoring goals for their clubs. So although this USA team hasn’t been together for the last month, like Mexico, these players have been playing top quality soccer all summer as well.
Side Note: The new FIFA rankings have the United States at one of our lowest rankings in years. The USA is now ranked 36 out of the 206 FIFA countries. According to the FIFA calculations if the United States was to shut out Mexico and defeat them on Wednesday they could jump 5 spots in the September rankings. FIFA rankings are important for pot selection in the World Cup.
ANALYZING THE ROSTERS
Mexico Roster -World Rank:18
(Players underlined started for Mexico in the Gold Medal Match vs. Brazil)
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).
Defenders: Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Stuttgart), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres), Enrique Perez (Morelia), Adrian Aldrete (Club America).
Midfielders: Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Manuel Viniegra (Tigres), Edgar Gerardo Lugo (Santos Laguna), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Valencia), Angel Reyna (Monterrey).
Forwards: Elias Hernandez (Tigres), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (Manchester United).
Noticeable absents in this match: Giovani Dos Santos
Mexico lineup that defeated Brazil for the Gold medal in the Olympics:
Jesus Corona, Jorge Torres Nilo, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Severo Meza, Carlos Salcido, Jesus Zavala, Andres Guardado, Giovani Dos Santos, Pablo Barrera, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
8 of these starters will be on the pitch vs. the USA.
THE UNITED STATES ROSTER- World Rank: 36
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (6): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Beithasour (San Jose Earthquakes), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim)
- No Jay Demerit….WTF?
*Geoff Cameron is the future CB for the USA.
*Fabian Johnson is also a top quality player with killer speed.
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
*Brek Shea the last two matches has really started to show signs of the Brek Shea we know and love in Dallas.
*Beasley is back! After last season he is more than deserving of this call up! Let’s see if he still has that speed.
*Danny Williams is a speedster that can hold the ball and really create plays out of nothing.
*Joe Corona is also an upcoming star. He has played solid minutes with both our U-23, and played great vs. Scotland.
*A healthy Jose Torres will definitely challenge Mexico’s back line.
*Jermaine Jones and Maurice Edu are now veteran leaders that also have the ability to do great things.
FORWARDS (4): Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
*Terrence Boyd is an upcoming star! Boyd has tallied a pair of league goals and one in Europa League qualifying for Rapid Vienna this past month.
*Donovan is still Donovan and has the capabilities to do great things. It’s just about which Donovan will show.
*Herculez Gomez is a star in Mexico, and is becoming a star for the USA. He has also scored two goals in his last four matches with his club.
Noticeable absents in this match: Clint Dempsey
A little more than a year into his tenure, Klinsmann seeks to lead the U.S. team to its first-ever victory against Mexico in its country. Several U.S. regulars will get their first experience at Azteca, as only three players on the roster have ever played against Mexico on Mexican soil. The match is the first for the U.S. since the 1-1 draw on June 12 in Guatemala, and represents another opportunity to prepare for the critical set of impending World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica next month.
ADDITIONAL ROSTER NOTES
- Six players on the roster play professionally in Liga MX in Mexico: DaMarcus Beasley, Edgar Castillo, Corona, Herculez Gomez, Michael Orozco Fiscal and Jose Torres.
- MLS contributes the most players of any league, sending nine to Mexico City: Kyle Beckerman, Steven Beitashour, Matt Besler, Landon Donovan, Sean Johnson, Nick Rimando, Brek Shea, Chris Wondolowski and Graham Zusi.
- Eight players on the roster appeared in the last meeting between the teams, a 1-1 draw on Aug. 10, 2011, in Philadelphia (starters in bold): Beckerman, Castillo, Donovan, Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, Orozco Fiscal,Shea and Torres.
- Four players will arrive Monday after competing in matches on Sunday: Terrence Boyd, Donovan, S. Johnson and Jones.
- With 19 goals in all competitions in the last year, Gomez became the first U.S. player to win both an MLS Cup title and Mexican League title as Santos defeated Monterrey in the two-leg final.
- Wondolowski is atop the MLS goalscoring chart, having scored 17 goals in 21 matches for San Jose.
- Wondolowski scored the opening goal for the MLS All-Stars in their 3-2 win against Chelsea. Four other U.S. players were on the field that day: Beckerman, Beitashour, Donovan and Zusi.
- Geoff Cameron arrives after completing his transfer to Stoke City in the English Premier League.
- Joe Corona makes his second appearance on the MNT roster. The midfielder and Development Academy product debuted for the senior team in the 5-0 win against Scotland on May 26 in Jacksonville.
- Beitashour and Besler are the only players on the roster seeking their first cap with the senior national team.
Learn more about this historic rivalry: http://www.whalenfilms.com/gringosatthegate.html