Mexico Versus United States: The Good & The Bad

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8/12/09

What I liked and disliked about the Mexico versus United States World Cup qualifier in Azteca stadium in Mexico City.

United States National Soccer Team

Overall, the United States nearly pulled out a point, and they would have come home happy. However, to not have any possession throughout the game is embarrassing. Yes they are playing in Mexico City, in the heat, in the smog, in the altitude, and away from home, but can’t we at least hold on to the ball for a period of time?

The Highlights

 

The Good:

A Bit of Fight – Benny Feilhaber getting in the face of the Mexican players who were trying to get Charlie Davies to stand up. (6 minute mark in the video above.) This says a lot about a young player like Feilhaber. Should have started him in the match. Clark and Bradley are too much a like, needed someone to hold on to the ball and acts as a go to guy. There was nobody who was seeking out the ball.

Slotting the Keeper – Charlie Davies finish was superb. He went hard to goal and bent the ball into the corner nicely.

Donovan’s pass to Davies – This was a perfect. He slipped the pass through and Mexico was done.

Stuart Holden’s cross to Davies. This would have been one of the best goals the United States as ever scored, especially considering where it would have been scored. It would have won the game.

Strong Defender – Oguchi Onyewu, you can see why AC Milan signed him. He might just have had the most posession of the ball for the U.S – or at least the most touches. Not a good thing of course. But he constantly won the ball and tried to start attacks but didn’t have many options. He did show poise on the ball, at times throwing in a few feints or subtle moves to earn a foul. Something our midfielders were doing.

Set Pieces – The crosses by Donovan, both his corners and free kicks were good. He must be learning a thing or two from David Beckham. And the only U.S. chances really came from these set pieces.

Talented Players – For Mexico, Dos Santos and Blanco were marvelous. The U.S. doesn’t have a player like either one of those guys, who can create chances sometimes out of nothing or when you least expect it. Blanco’s heel layoff to Dos Santos was genius, Dos Santos nearly scored.

Goaaaallll! – Mexican announcer Andres Cantor for Telemundo is knowledgeable, passionate and just a pro. The game was a huge success for Telemundo: 8.7 million viewers tuned in for the Rumbo al Mundial: Mexico vs. USA on Telemundo networks.

Experienced Keeper – Tim Howard is just class. If he saves the second goal he’s a legend, but did enough to keep the U.S. in the game and almost got a point. You can tell that his time in England has paid off in spades. He’s played in big games at big arenas against big players, nice to have a guy like that in goal.

The Bad:

No Possession – an obvious one. The United States rarely strung three or four passes together and this is a big reason why they lost the game. Think coach Bob Bradley needed to replace Ricardo Clark a bit earlier than he did.

Use Your Shoulder – Donovan needed to get a body on Efrain Juarez who played the ball to Miguel Sabah on the second goal – he just let Juarez run past him. It was late in the game, so he was understandably tired, but with his experience, he should know that sometimes all it takes is an arm or shoulder to disrupt the players rhythm and prevent him from getting the cross off.

Juarez made a strong run down the line basically uncontested until the very end, but was still able to get the ball through to Sabah. However, Mexico was flying down the wings all game, someone was bound to get through.

Update: And this is no joke, Donovan has come down with swine flu, otherwise known as H1N1 flu virus, or as they call it in Spanish: gripe porcina. So that’s why he was a bit slow in the second half.

The Losing Streak Continues – The U.S. has never won in Azteca Stadium. The U.S. team is 0-22-1 in Mexico overall.

Miguel Sabah’s Goal

Here’s the goal with the great Andres Cantor with the call.

 

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