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Mexico Struggles Again: Lessons for the US in Qualifying

Final Thoughts:

Despite the loss a very good run out and effort from the US kids who were facing an experienced and desperate Soca Warrior side. What Bob Bradley must learn however was on display in Edmonton tonight. If you attack against Mexico instead of holding back and relying on the counters and set pieces you can create scoring chances galore against a weak Mexican backline. Canada was unlucky: Paul Stalteri had a great shot in open play that went off the cross bar when it appeared to be going in, minutes before Thomasz Radzinski broke away from the Mexican defense and just missed a shot wide. My point is if Canada is comfortable attacking Mexico as they were last month in Chiapas, why does the US always sit back and rely on counter attacking against Mexico and other perceived powers? Mexico’s escape with a draw days after losing in Kingston shows how weak Sven Goran Eriksson’s managment of the side has been despite the fact that Mexico has more talent than everyone they face in CONCACAF: Mexico looked shaky at best in securing nine points in three matches at home, and now has essentially backed into a single point in two road matches.

Bob Bradley has to let the kids loose. Mexico despite probable advancement thanks to Stalteri’s misfortune with the crossbar is suffering from a crisis of confidence. The time is ripe for the US to once and for assert its supremacy in CONCACAF. Beating Mexico is not merelhy enough anymore: The US has relied on somewhat cynical football in the past to beat Mexico and under Bradley’s watch El Tri has been coming closer and close to victory against the US. Now is the time to let the kids loose, let them go forward and take their lumps so they are ready to attack a Mexican side whose defending has looked shambolic to be kind in this qualifying tournament. In that respect tonight’s 2-1 loss in Port of Spain was a victory as Jose Francisco Torres looked comfortable on the ball and Charlie Davies made the kind of impact coming off the bench that will make a difference in the Hexagonal.

IN GAME BLOG

Here is the US lineup:

—————-Guzan—————-
Hejduk—Califf—Orozco—Pearce
———Edu——–Torres———–
Kljestan——-Adu——Beasley (captain)
————–Altidore—————–

This was the site of the match that returned the United States to the World Cup after 40 years of football purgatory. Trinidad is going veteran heavy tonight with Russell Latapay, Chris Birchall and Dwight Yorke all returning to the national team. For trivia buffs, the English born Birchall is the only white player T&T has fielded in the last 50 years and was until recently a mainstay in the side. Birchall is a solid international and I am not sure why he was dropped for the last several qualifiers, but needing points he has been recalled.

We face sides in CONCACAF which I quite frankly do not like. Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras come to mind instantly. Trinidad however is not one of these teams. I have the greatest respect for what they have accomplished as tiny Island nation of 1.1 million and the courtesy their footballers have always shown to me as a fan. I am not ashamed to say when we are not playing them, I pull for the Soca Warriors.

The Soca Warriors are playing with much urgency. They look good. It has been pointed out to me that if Cuba draws or ties Guatemala tonight, T&T are in good shape even if they lose. However, I don’t think Trinidad can count on Cuba to get a result.

JAMAICA HAS SCORED TO TAKE A 1-0 LEAD AT HOME VERSUS HONDURAS. IF JAMAICA WINS, MEXICO NEEDS TO GET AT LEAST A POINT IN CANADA TO NOT FACE A MUST WIN SITUATION IN THE LAST MATCH, BECAUSE I BELIEVE JAMAICA WILL CRUSH CANADA IN KINGSTON. ELSEWHERE GOOD NEWS FOR T&t AS GUATEMALA HAS BEEN UNABLE TO SCORE IN HAVANA AFTER 40 MINUTES. IF CUBA HOLDS ON FOR 50 MORE, TRINIDAD DOES NOT NEED A RESULT TONIGHT.

Jose Francisco Torres has looked good tonight for the US but he isn’t yet on the same page with his team mates. Freddy Adu has been a disappointment thus far.

CUBA HAS SCORED. UNLESS GUATEMALA GET TWO BACK, T&T CAN LOSE THIS GAME AND STILL HAVE A DECENT CHANCE OF ADVANCING.

Russel Latapay scores, and T&T is in great shape. Great cross by Chris Birchall and a bad error by Heath Pearce.

Viva La Sven, or not? Ali Gerba former Miami Fusion and Montreal Impact man with an early goal in Edmonton for Canada.

Freddy Adu has been awful tonight going forward and he is going to be replaced by Charlie Davies. Adu seems to be “Bradleyized” that is playing too deep.

Goal Mexico. Salcido’s free kick bounces off the Canadian wall and goes in.

A horrible first touch from Mo Edu ends up creating a somewhat un deserved US Goal by Charlie Davies, but T&T answers with a PK goal after Jozy Altidore committed a clumsy foul. You didn’t think a keeper whose only action this season has been a disastrous League Cup start was going to stop a PK by a Champions League winner, did you?

Danny Szetela replaces Jose Torres. Good night from Torres, who had a great through ball to Jozy Altiodre that was incorrectly rules offsides early in the 2nd half.

Chris Rolfe coming in? Are we this thin on our bench? I guess so.

So Trinidad beats the US for only the second time in its history. Despite the controversial PK call a deserved 3 pts, and with Cuba defeating Guatemala, the Soca Warriors would have to REALLY mess this up to not advance to the next round.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Jack

    October 16, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Kartik, let me get this right: after months of complaining about the team after wins you are saying you are pleased with our play after a loss?

    I don’t get it!

  2. JOHN ROE

    October 16, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Moreover you have proven if Bradley plays players you don’t like you’ll criticize him regardless of the result and if he plays your guys, namely Adu, Altidore, Orozco, Torres, Davies, etc then he’s doing a great job and the US has played a great game even when being defeated by an inferior side. Your agenda is clear.

    Last night was pathetic and yet you claim it was a good performance. Beating Guatemala was historic yet you ripped the team. I did agree on the game at Cuba though. That performance showed why Bradley is not fit to manage. Suddenly calling in Altidore, etc has you back in Bradley’s corner and I have to say that is very disappointing from the perspective of this US fan and fan of your show.

  3. JOHN ROE

    October 16, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Kartik

    This is a pathetic posting. First off Sven is twice the manager of Bradley.

    Secondly as you have stated before and I kind of agree with Canada has more talent in its starting XI than the US. I mean we don’t have anyone like DeGuzman in our player pool and DeRo as he has shown in MLS would probably be our best player also. Others have laughed at you, but knowing they have two, maybe even more players better than our best player I think you are right.

    So Canada can attack Mexico because they have better attacking players. Last night you once again saw why Bradley is not fit to manage. You saw Adu withdrawn and a team that was scared to push up too far for fear of being run out of the player pool.

    If you really believe the US is somehow gaining ground on Mexico you are mistaken. The US would be struggling to advance out of the group Mexico is in also.

  4. Phillip

    October 16, 2008 at 2:09 am

    I also wanted to add…

    I think Bradley is right in the way he’s been playing Adu… as a second half substitute when he can run at a tired defense.

  5. Phillip

    October 16, 2008 at 1:53 am

    Meh…

    I would love to see our veterans be able to play on a pitch of the quality that TandT’s was tonight.

    Guatemala and Cuba were a disgrace.

    That’s not even counting the stadium + weather conditions.

  6. kartik

    October 16, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Have we beaten them in Mexico yet? NO

    They drew with us the last time here and the tables were clearly turning in the rivalry before the FMF made the foolish move of hiring Sven whose is a first class failure as an international manager.

    Mexico is very fortunate to not be facing elimination in their next game.

    No, I believe this was our best performance on the road since the Poland match. With the veterans we played poorly on the road against teams substantially inferior to a T&T side that featured savvy veteran players at home.

    You cannot possibly tell me our pitiful performance in Havana against a team that hadn’t even been able to practice for two weeks because of hurricanes, etc was better than tonight.

    I am in the minority no doubt but I thought we played very well tonight- better than we have on the road in qualifying or at Spain or England over the summer- certainly much better than the embarrassing performance against Barbados in Bridgetown. We need games like this- this game will go further to making us competitive in the world cup than the first four games of this round combined.

    The result has no bearing on anything. What does matter is we got some kids who are technically and athletically more gifted than the limited footballers we continue to trot out some valuable experience in a must win game for our opponent.

  7. USalwaysbeatsmexico

    October 16, 2008 at 1:02 am

    Why do we have to change the way we play against Mexico? When was the last time they beat us?

    I hoped this proved to you that we need a veteran team in these qualfiers not these young inexperienced kids who can’t even get on the field for their club teams.

  8. kartik

    October 15, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Agreed Phillip and I think overall this was the best performance thus far for the US on the road in qualifying. However those calls represent turnabout being fair play. We got every single call against Guatemala and T&T in the earlier qualifiers so it was just time for every call to go against us. But the reality is with the exception Kljestan and Edu we were very good.

    Canada has by the way just missed two shots- one on a breakaway wide by Radzinski, the other by Stalteri that hit off the crossbar.

    Mexico is hanging on for dear life here.

  9. Phillip

    October 15, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Edu, Kljestan, Hejduk and Adu were very poor tonight.

    Unfortunately…

    We had Beasley one-on-one with the keeper when he was called offside when the replay CLEARLY showed he was on.

    We had Altidore’s goal called back for offsides when he was CLEARLY on.

  10. chop

    October 15, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    All in all not an unexpected result.

    Edu, Kljestan and Hejduk had very poor matches. Frankie did well defensively but again, couldn’t hit a decent cross to save his life in spite of being in position nearly all night long to help the attack.

    I kinda disagree on Adu’s performance. He and Torres were really the only players who could handle the ball in the middle of the field with Edu and Kljestan acting as human turnover machines. Freddy did play a bit too deep but when Bradley pulls out the 4-5-1 this is what happens.

    Altidore with a sick move and assist on the goal but of course big demerits of the penalty and the missed sitter that could have squared the match at 2-2.

    Again, not unexpected though I suspect Denholm will tear Bradley apart. Can’t have it both ways Davy boy.. You asked for it, you got it. Deal with it.

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