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Gold Cup

A Look at Mexico


Javier Aguirre knows the task at hand. A restless nation and overbearing press make life as El Tri manager almost impossible to cope with. For Aguirre in his second stint on the job after a long and successful run managing in La Liga, the CONCACAF Gold Cup has been a chance to experiment and add depth to the player pool. In a way, this is no different than the United States attitude towards this tournament.

However there are a few key differences. The US, after a successful Confederations Cup run and solid play in CONCACAF qualifying, which sees the Yanks second in Hex basically have a solid 22 which Bob Bradley picks from. Very few spots on the USA”A” team are truly up for grabs.

Mexico, on the other hand has been a mess. Struggling in qualifying (although believe it or not, Mexico could still win the Hex, but that is a subject for another day), and fielding the third coach in 16 months, El Tri’s A” team spots are truly up for grabs.

Take the goalkeeper situation for instance. Memo Ochoa was rushed into playing for Mexico and Club America before he was ready. He made the mistakes any young keeper would make. But Aguirre, showing little faith or willingness to play youngsters brought in 36 year old Oscar Perez who had not been capped in five years to start the last two qualifiers. Osvaldo Sanchez has seen a dip in his form in the last year for both Santos and El Tri, which opened the door for Perez’s return.

Reinforcing his lack of faith in the youngsters, Carlos Vela and Gio Dos Santos were dropped from the starting lineup and relegated to playing on this “B” team in the Gold Cup. Strangely with this youngish team in the Gold Cup, Aguirre brought back Guille Franco, the subject of much controversy in Mexico. Franco, the Argentine native who now plays for Villarreal was along with Gabriel Caballero and Zinha the controversial naturalized players who broke the long standing El Tri tradition of fielding only Mexican born players. Veterans, Gerrado Torrado and Omar Bravo are also on this Gold Cup squad. Miguel Sabah (pictured above) is 29, but only had never been capped before this summer, but now may have pushed his way into the “A” team after this tournament.

Mexico does have a stronger and more internationally experienced team in this Gold Cup than the US does, especially after Steve Cherundolo, Charlie Davies and Benny Feilhaber had to leave the team early. Still, 16 of the 23 players  that Aguirre selected for the most recent World Cup qualifiers, are not on this Gold Cup team. But that’s better than Bob Bradley’s dilemma: Only Brian Ching and Heath Pearce were selected for the most recent qualifiers among American players, and Ching was later dropped from the squad due to injury. But Mexico is still incredibly weak at the back, and even when Rafa Marquez plays for their “A” team they get exposed easily by quick, athletic teams like Honduras, Costa Rica and the USA.

Torrado is the key. I have always felt he was an underrated player. Mexico recently has had a lack of “hard men,” something the US never lacks. But Torrado has been good when he’s been called on by the last several Mexican managers and including him in this otherwise experimental Gold Cup squad has held the team together.

Given this disparity in regulars, the Mexican Team can be called a “B team for sure, but the USA team is really a “C” team in a sense and has been described as such in the media. This fact has not been lost on the Mexican press who have said among other things in the last 24 hours, that if Mexico does not win tomorrow, they may never beat the US again on American soil, and that Aguirre’s job needs to be evaluated if El Tri loses to second string Americans.

The truth however is that Mexico has struggled in this tournament. They needed a horrible penalty call to get a late first half goal against a weak Nicaragua side and only got a second late in the match. Against Panama, El Tri was outplayed until red card madness and crowd control became issues. Finally, against a Costa Rica team without Walter Centano and playing on grass, the Ticos went down only after a PK shootout.

The bluster is what we have come to expect from the Mexican press and a great number of their fans, ignorant in world football before a big match. Javier Aguirre will surely ignore them: you don’t get Osusuna into Europe and Athletico Madrid into the Champions League by accident. The Mexican manager knows what he’s doing, and win or lose tomorrow he’s plotting a way for Mexico to become relevant again.

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  1. yuls

    July 26, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    5 – 0 nadamás

  2. yuls

    July 26, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Creo que los unicos ignorantes son ustedes, señores norteamericanos, ni nuestra prensa ni nuestros seguidores lo son, hoy la seleccion mexicana les ha dado una muestra de la realidad que se he perdido desde hace tiempo.
    Lo que ocurrió hoy pertenece, gracias a Dios, nuevamente a la normalidad, México encima de EUA en el futbol…las bravuconerías han venido de su lado, al grado de llamarse los nuevos gigantes de la CONCACAF…por favor, no nos hagan reir…estan a años luz de lo que en México es el futbol.
    5 – 0 y el 12 de agosto les espera algo parecido…al hexagonal le hace falta mucho todavía.


    July 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

    isn’t it funny, the two teams that draw the most fans to the stadiums, are in the finals

    the four teams that draw the most fans to the stadiums, were in the semi finals

    this is all a concacaf conspiracy to show that they can run successful tournaments by drawing maximum crowds.

    Anyone who actually knows a thing or two about the rules of football, would know that the referee screwed up royally when Canada scored the tying goal against USA in 2007 calling it back for an “offside” after Onyewu (mis)played the ball.

    Anyone who saw the Canada Honduras game knows that the penalty called against Canada was a complete farce, even the Honduran player after the game ADMITTED it. This tournament is a complete joke with referees who would never be able to properlly call 6 year olds playing let alone senior internationals.

  4. Earl

    July 26, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Kartik, it’s a B team except for Logan Pause and Heaps which are C players. The rest of the team had either been previously capped or brought in for camps in the past. Mexico actually has more totally new players playing key roles in this Gold Cup.

  5. ERT09

    July 26, 2009 at 9:27 am


    I like you optimisum nut if you think this is anywhere close to Mexico’s A team you are crazy. Miguel Sabah, the leading scorer in this tournament had never even suited up for El Tri before June. At least we have the benefit of the yearly January MLS/Scandanavian camp for many of our guys. Yes Gio and Dos Santos are “A” teammers but Torrado is the captain but what Kartik fails or forgot to point out is that they are so makrshift that he’s playing totally out of position in a place he’s never played before.

    No excuses for Bradley. This is Mexico and not a full strength Mexico. Bradley was gifted 7 extra spots for this tournament that he could have wisely used on players who would actually be avilaible. He did not do that so if we lose, he is to blame.

  6. chris

    July 26, 2009 at 1:35 am

    No its a c team the starters and bench are almost set except for a left midfield position left back position a central midfielder and central defender these positions would not be starting positions, but bench, so taking this into account it is a C team Mexico’s is closer to an A team because most of their midfield and fowards will start in Azteca not the defense though, so i can only hope that the U.S. lives up to the challenge by pressuring the ball up top and in the midfield, not letting dos santos and medina make runs with the ball and have us take advantage of set plays using our height advantage on mexico. Also, no mercy on chances to score very important.

  7. Tom

    July 26, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Dos a cero!

    But to be honest tomorrow’s game is not that important. It is important for pride’s sake of course but the real test will be in Azteca. I don’t think the Mexican media would be impressed if Mexico won the gold cup, if they lose at home to the US…

  8. kevin

    July 26, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Like always if usa loses thers always and excuse…

  9. Futbol Mexicana

    July 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    mr. kartik. on one hand i appreciate that u r the only american writer that even watches fmf or knows the mexican players. most are usa, usa, usa mls mls all the time. u know mexican football and follow the league closely. u know r players and give good insight into el tri.

    but i do not appreciate you in the past calling us unsporting and do not like you constantly bashing r fans. u do it again in this piece. some of ur fans r embarrassments. but some usa fans are horrible and racist. and costa rica? terrible! el salvador? terrible and racist.

    obviously u like mexican football but do not like el tri. that is fine. do not call us unsporting. also it is obvious from many articles and podcasts that u like honduras. that is ur right but honduras like always is not going to the world cup and mexico is, and as a concacaf backer io expect u to admit ur wrong about honduras in october.

  10. Eric

    July 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Dos Santos and Vela are going to be tough to stop in this game. Pearce and whomever starts on the right are going to have to be on their toes.


    We need to be able to counter effectively with Rogers and Holden pushing the action down the flanks.

    We must win tomorrow. No B or C team excuses. This is Mexico, this is a Mexico B team and we are playing at home and not in LA or Chicago where mexican fans dominate.

  11. Tommy

    July 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I cannot wait! 2-0! 2-0! 2-0! 2-0!

  12. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 25, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks futball fan. I try and cover Mexico as much as I can.

    I’ll admit I cannot stand your national team but I love your league which I watch almost religiously, thus I know alot of your guys well. The ones playing in Europe outside the big leagues, less so but ones playing in Mexico I know very well and that also allows me to follow COMNEBOL qualifying closely also because I see so many of those guys in the FMF as well.

    Good luck tomorrow.

  13. Futball fan

    July 25, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    That’s true I agree with you on that,Great site you have here & may the best team win tomorrow!peaceeee

  14. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Fair enough futball fan.

    Truthfully most of them are South American commentators but they cater to a Mexican-American audience. Except Caracol of course. They are just island hacks that love baseball and bash the beautiful game.

  15. Futball fan

    July 25, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Don’t assume that just cause Spanish radio in the U.S are speaking Spanish they are automatically of Mexican descent and know what they are talking about.Most likely those that say that are Argentine or from some other South American country that alway’s have nothing positive to say about Mexico or find some way to make them look bad…

    That being said it is both our country’s B team’s,Yall say c,d team’s to soften the blow when you lose or if yall win then to bash…It’s a win win for the U.S in this retarded logic..

  16. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 25, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Futball fan, quoting some of your press and radio hosts. I personally believe it is a “B” team since Rogers, Holden, Goodson, Beckerman and Cooper are all in consideration for “A” team spots in the near future, and Conrad played in the last World Cup. Listen to Spanish radio in the US and hear what they are saying. One host even called it a US “F” team!

  17. Futball fan

    July 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    lmao now there are C team’s in football?!It’s either A or B,It’s funny how US fan’s find comfort in letter’s and are already making excuses for when they lose and the game hasnt even been played,these are both B team’s period!

  18. Berlin

    July 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Hubris and unwavering fanaticism (which I like), but seriously I think they’re right. If Mexico B can’t beat USA C then their prospects of winning here ever again (we haven’t lost at home this millennium) are slim.

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