USA v Mexico tonight: Olympic Qualifier

To use a cliche, these two teams just don’t like each other:

My friends that have attended other games in Azteca (thank Og the game is not in Mexico City, if nothing else the lower altitude should help) say that a lot of this stuff was hurled at them. They normally get a police escort out of the stadium. It will only be worse with the USA knocking Mexico out of the World Cup 17 months ago, and knocking them out of the Olympics the last time around as well.

Sadly I have not yet been able to find a place to watch the match tonight. I’ll check around a bit, and worse comes to worse I can follow the boxscore online. This should have been the final match, but Mexico came in second on goals after drawing against Costa Rica in their final match (the Ticos play Honduras in the other semi-final). Should be a fun little match.

Why? What’s their problem? WTF? Sounds like May-he-co has the problem.

Well, Mexico was used to having at least one thing, football, where they could feel superior to the USA. Over the last ten years or so, the USA has been gaining ground and now has gained preeminence in the area. As the rivalry has tightened it’s become more and more physical. Ask Alexi Lalas, who got kicked squarely in the groin. Or Cobi Jones, whose best attribute over the last few years was drawing vicious fouls against the Mexicans, including a headbutting/cleating that saw the Mexican captain (IIRC) sent off during the USA World Cup victory. When you are physically assaulted by both the team and it’s fans, this does not endear you to their side either. Although from what I’ve seen the USA has played to win, not injure, the Mexicans. Also in the last friendly in the U-23 group (which does Olympic qualifying) , USA scored a goal from 85 yards out after Mexico brought their goalkeeper up at the end for a free kick, in a desperate attempt to draw level towards the end of the game (USA won 3-1 in Mexico). It’s boils down to bragging rights for the continent. Even though the CONCACAF region doesn’t have the talent, top to bottom, of say, Europe, it makes up for it in passion in (most of) the countries it’s played in. There are few easy road victories, particularly in the second round on.

They had better get used to it. Politely cheering for the US team is not going to happen in Mexico or anywhere else. They even get hostile crowds at games played in the US (where the fans often support the opposing team in overwhelming numbers). I doubt the soccer team will make it to the Olympics, but it will be interesting to see the reception the other American athletes get in Greece. I’m thinking it will be less than positive.

Oh, they’re used to it. It’s been going on for years now. Probably more used to it than other Olympic athletes would be. And the game tonight is hardly a foregone conclusion, although the conditions should be extremely hostile: a call in poll of Mexican fans shows they believe the Mexicans will win, but barely favoring Mexico, 1,546-1,098. If I were to handicap I’d say Mexico wins 4-3 with a golden goal, but just because the defense has been weak after losing a defender (Zak Whitbread?) to injury and Jose Luis Burciaga will also miss the game on accumulated yellows in the last game.

Actually this sounds pretty “normal” for soccer throughout much of the world isn’t it? I mean when the English play in Turkey, its probably worse. What passes for “rowdiness” at most American sporting events is generally tame (usually involving a row of bare chested fat guys with their team spelled out on their beer guts) though post game reactions in some towns can be bad. Americans just are not in tune with world sport culture, except with Canada and the baseball playing Caribbean.

Yeah, but the English deserve it!


So what was the score?

It was 4-0 Mexico.

The Mexican attackers were all over the US. In our defense though, we do have a few people lost to injuries.

Heh, the guy at the Taqueria wanted to bet me 200 straight up USA vs Mexico. I said no way, I didn’t like the odds: 60,014 vs 11. Turns out I was right.

Apparently not only was the defense porous but the offense never really mounted an attack, only forcing one save by the Mexican keeper. I’ll post in here with any insightful analysis I can find on why that is, since with Convey, Beasley, Donovan and Eskandarian you would suppose a strong attack (or counter attack) at least. Honduras was also thumped, 3-0 by Costa Rica, so it could also be a matter of USA doing well early in the weaker bracket.