On a day when football finally came home in the form of England’s heroic 4-1 victory over an arrogant and vastly over rated Croatian side, “anti-football” scored a big victory as well. While youngster Theo Walcott provided the heroics for England, no youngster of Walcott’s caliber was in the negative looking and tactical side Coach Bob Bradley sent out for the United States against a weakened Trinidad and Tobago team which was going to be run off the pitch by any side with a pulse last night. Instead of calling in Walcott’s American facsimiles Freddy Adu or Jozy Altidore, the United States fielded a safe lineup which featured Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley exploiting the flanks and a 3-0 US victory. Given the weakness of the opposition and the ease with which otherwise shaky internationals like Beasley and Dempsey dominated their markers, would not this have been the perfect occasion to enter Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu to World Cup qualifying?
The American victory while deserved was not pretty. Unlike the Mexico-Canada match going on at the very same time in Chiapas, the US lacked artistry or any sort of technical on the ball skill in this match. When you are facing a young side that’s going to be easily overwhelmed, results like this one occur, but the inability of the United States to control possession in the midfield was apparent. Freddy Adu would help Bob Bradley’s side in this regard instead of watching the US hoof the forward or simply play unattractive football which is bound to be losing football come South Africa 2010.
Mexico’s two youngsters, Carlos Vela and Giovanni Dos Santos didn’t have the best of matches tonight against an extremely game Canadian side. They did not have too: Their manager Sven Goran Eriksson realizes the occasion and the need to build the strongest possible side for South Africa. After all Sven left England something special by taking its future starlet Theo Wolcott to World Cup 2006, which in turn increased his understanding of international football allowing him to humble the arrogant Croatians in Zagreb.
But the Americans don’t take these sorts of steps: playing it safe both on the pitch and with regards to player selection is the norm in US Soccer. Today’s result not withstanding every subsequent matchday for Dos Santos and Vela where Altidore and Adu do not participarte is a victory for Mexico in the long term battle with the United States for regional supremecy.