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Gold Cup

US 0-5 Mexico: El Tri Triumphs After Poor Tournament


Javier Aguirre got a monkey off his back. After a struggle of a tournament which saw El Tri struggle with the likes of Nicaragua and Panama and also need PKs to beat Costa Rica, the Mexican “B” team triumphed today at Giants Stadium.

This same El Tri side didn’t score a legitimate goal versus Nicaragua, a nation that was playing in its first ever major international tournament for 85 minutes. Yet today, they tore apart the Americans in the 2nd half scoring five goals, and perhaps feeling hard done  not to have scored more.

The US controlled much of the first half, but failed to make its chances pay. The insertion of Carlos Vela changed the game in Mexico’s favor. The US lost its composure after the first Mexican goal: an ironic role reversal from the psychological warfare of recent US-Mexico games.

The gamble of playing Gio Dos Santos up front eventually paid off for Aguirre. Early in the match it seemed Gio was lost up top, not seeing as much of the ball as he has when playing on the right side of El Tri’s midfield. Vela and Dos Santos dominate: get used to that storyline- we could be hearing it for years to come.

The US had a clear penalty shout in the first half, when Clarence Goodson was taken down on a corner kick- but no call was made. Robbie Rogers had a clear chance to finish a great cross from Stuart Holden in the 48th minute and didn’t. At the time Mexico was already looking frustrated and losing their cool, a storyline we have seen before. The penalty call on Jay Heaps was shocking, especially given that referee Courtney Campbell has had the reputation in Mexico of being a pro-American.

Dos Santos not only went to ground easily, but he hit Heaps in the face clearly affecting the way the play looked from afar. After Gerrado Torrado, the veteran of this Mexico “B” squad converted the PK, El Tri never looked back. In fact Goalkeeper Troy Perkins kept the scoreline from being more embarrassing, and Robbie Rogers got away with a take down of Dos Santos in the area later. (Perhaps a make up call by Campbell?).

Still the US had a solid tournament, exceeding all realistic expectations. However, the performance in the final provided Mexico with a bigger margin of victory than it had against several weak opponents in the last year when stronger El Tri sides were fielded. So despite reaching the final, the American performance in the final will certainly make Bob Bradley’s decisions about certain players easier going forward.

Bradley, to his credit was the best coach in the tournament and he out thought Aguirre today setting up the US in an aggressive way which gave the Mexican defense fits. But the lack of class in this American side eventually showed. Even more apparent was the lack of composure this side showed. I know this is an unpopular and politically incorrect opinion but that is an outgrowth of the bulk of this team playing in MLS.

I am sure some fans will blame Bob Bradley for this performance which is laughable. But now we know why Bradley is reluctant to play too many MLS based players at once in a big game. MLS is a league that is good in spurts- but it’s tough to find players that play consistently for a full 90 minutes and it is a league where you see teams lose their shape and appear disorganized for long periods of matches. I’ve made these points before and continue to make them when observing MLS matches.

But Bob Bradley still makes changes late, allowing opposing managers to dictate second halves. We saw this versus Italy and Brazil in the Confederations Cup and again today. In some ways, Bradley is a victim of his own success: his pregame tactics work so effectively that the opposing manager makes radical changes (in this case it was the insertion of Vela and dropping Dos Santos back into a roaming role behind Vela and Miguel Sabah) to change the game.

We also now know why Bradley has been so eager to re-discover the form for certain players: Eddie Johnson for instance whose speed and finishing touch is something the US lacks. The fact is the player pool is not as deep as some may have thought and this Mexican team is a define “B” side having retained only 7 of 23 players from the last set of World Cup qualifiers and having struggled to beat some weak opposition in the last three weeks.

Stuart Holden leaves this tournament as a player that needs to be retained for the trip to Azteca. Even when the other American field players were jogging at the end of the game, Holden was fighting until the end, not willing to allow El Tri to play with one another for the remainder of the game. Holden, was clearly the player of the tournament for the USA.

Troy Perkins has clearly established himself as the third or even possible second choice goalkeeper. Perkins has improved a great deal since transferring to Norway a year and a half ago.

Player Ratings (US)

Perkins 6

Heaps 4

Marshall 4

Goodson 5

Pearce 6

Beckerman 4

Pause 4

Rogers 5

Holden 7

Ching 6

Arnaud 5

Cooper 5

Quaranta 5

Cronin NR


Ochoa 7

Magallon 8

Castro 7

Pinto 7

Valenzuela 6

Juarez 7

Torrado 8

Castro 7

Medina 7

Sabah 7

Dos Santos 9

Vela 9

Franco 8


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  1. soccer goals

    July 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    That game really hurt.

  2. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Om Mi- why do you and others assume because I am American, I prefer MLS to the FMF. I don’t- I watch as much FMF league action as I can.

    Now regarding the Ticos, if they can prove to me and everyone else that they can be competitive outside of Saprissa, I’ll give them credit. They actually looked better in this tournament without Centano after his injury. But they are reliant on turf, and Mexico will normally beat them outside of San Jose, save that one famous game at Azteca in 2001! 🙂

    Honduras has the best top shelf players in this region: Suazo, Palacios, Guevara, Rambo, Figeroua. If you were simply comparing staring XI’s, they are better than Mexico, better than the USA and much much better than Costa Rica. Alas, football is not determined on paper (yes I say football and not futbol, sorry) and political instability, Rueda’s tactics and personality clashes have held Honduras back. Even Bora couldn’t succeed with them and he’s done well with the other 3 top dogs in CONCACAF.

  3. Mexico, 2009 Gold Cup Champions

    July 28, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Hey tony, I would like to say that you are a disgusting child molester

  4. Om Mi

    July 28, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Mister Krishneiyer,
    As a journalist, you are too biased. You completely forget Costa Rica, the second best team of this tournament, and its couch showed to be better than Bradley and Aguirre. FMF has a better level than MLS. Football is not only about tactics and organization, those are just the map o the game. What matters is the game itself and its performers. And in this area, MLS is far from being competitive to FMF, only compared to the South American leages. Those Central American leagues you despise, with very traditional clubs that deserve respect, in my opinion have more to offer than MLS, a very physical league but soulless. The day your “soccer” understands that this is not just a sport, but a cultural manifestation of a community, something that rest of the word know, that they I might respect your poor league. I see some improvements in this regard, Chicago Fire, and it is all thanks to our old warrior Cuauhtémoc. Being the US a nation of immigrants like yourself, you should be aware persons, not only players, like Sinha or Gille, opted to play for the country were they were giving opportunities to develop. Uruguay wanted Nery, he chosed Mexico. And Gio is one hundred percent Mexican, as Adu and the two gringos Castillo and Rorres are one hundred percent Americans, that is why they both are nikcnamed “gringos” in Mexico, a cheerful word we use for US inhabitants (America is not a country is a continent) when we want to be nice to them, like catrachos for Hondurans or chapinos for Guatemalans, or “mexas” for ourselves. And for those racist implying Mexicans have no class for the mere condition of being Mexicans, here is my class: may God bless your ignorance. No US player can be compared to the likes of Márquez, Gio, Guardado and Vela. El Tri is one of the most followed teams in the entire word (just remember Germany). Every single team in CONCACAF thins of playing against us as a classic, which is a honor. Chivas, Pumas, America, Toluca, Tigres, Cruz Azul, just to mention a few, are symbols of passion among millions. Sir, you don’t know shit about Mexican Football.

  5. king chico

    July 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    who ever wrote this please open you’r eyes usa did not dominate mexico on the first half nobody had full control so dont make ur team look better i guess you usa fans really dont remember losing 5 sero ok well it happen alot against mexico what the media usa does’t mention is that all games lost to the usa in the past 10 years wer hier in us soil apart from the one in the world cup in my book that is a huge advantage it be a compleatly different story if the games wer to b played in mexico as much as over hier.. you want a giant in concacaf ok you will get it man by man mexico is better usa game is boring and any choach can just pull man back and wait to a counter attack so please don’t flater bradley because he is just do in the same arena was so author shut up………..

  6. tony

    July 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    “otherwise he is a decent gringo”

    Futbol Mexicana
    I would like to say that I think that you are your a decnt wetback.

  7. Carlos

    July 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Hi, I’m mexican but I have to say “C Webb” is right (21), we mexicans can´t take a loss like you guys do. I feel embaressed when good players like Marquez or Oswaldo forget about fair play. Anyway, I was happy for the 0-5 win, but the real deal is on the 12th. I hope The U.S. and México make it to South Africa without any problem…

  8. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 27, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks LI Matt.

    Based on Football Tactician’s racial stereotypes, Gio Dos Santos should be nowhere near the Mexican team and we know he isn’t nearly good enough to play for Brazil so he’d have no international career. Same for Nery Castillo who is not good enough to play Uruguay and thus choose Mexico. Vuoso? Argentine.

    And besides I was born in the US!

    • christopher

      August 8, 2009 at 3:10 am

      Dude Nery and Gio were born Mexican and Vouso kids and wife r Mexicans Franco loves the shirt and the pride where would the USA be without players from other descents do some research Adu Felhaber even Jozy Bocanegra gooch and so on and so on

  9. LI Matt

    July 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Kartik isn’t a gringo, he’s Indian.

    No, Kartik is an American of Indian descent. In all the time I’ve read this site, I’ve never seen him mention cricket once.

    BTW, does Guille Franco count as a Mexican now?

  10. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    his one big problem is he likes lavolpe. otherwise he is a decent gringo.

    Still like LaVolpe and think your recent trouble is because you fired him. Aguirre is good, but LaVolpe could have made Mexico into a genuine Argentine style footballing side.

    Do you realize the US last lost by 5 goals in a game in 1985! That was to England at a time when the US had not qualified for a World Cup in almost 40 years. The last loss to Mexico by 5 goals was in 1957! The last time we gave up more than 3 goals at home to Mexico was in 1964!

    I’ll have to check on the 1964 stat. The last loss by the US by more than 5 goals in a single match was in 1979 to France in a friendly. But the last competitive loss by 5 goals was 7-2 in 1957 to Mexico.

  11. LI Matt

    July 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I just watched the DVR, for two reasons: to see if I made any of the crowd shots*, and to see exactly what happened in the second half.

    I suppose fatigue was part of it, but that’s down to conditioning, which is usually an advantage for us. The big thing is we panicked. Once the first goal went in, the defense completely forgot what they’d been doing for the past 60 minutes. Positioning, marking, shape — gone. Again and again, Mexico would make one pass and suddenly someone was running free, 30 yards from any defender.

    * — When the US team went up to get their medals, FSC cut to the few of us still standing in 101. I’m at the upper left, wearing a plain red shirt with a Stars & Stripes bandanna around my neck and a standard Nike USNT scarf.

  12. Football Tactician

    July 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Haha, Futbol Mexicano, Kartik isn’t a gringo, he’s Indian. If he posts stupidity on this site, it’s because his sport is Cricket, just like the rest of his people. .

    Anyway, Mexico is the usa’s daddy. The usa will NEVER beat Mexico 5-0 in Mexico. The usa will NEVER draw 75,000 of its own fans when they play in Mexico. Face it, usa fans, the Tri is the most popular football team in all of North America, in any football code. And now the Tri are rightfully again, champions of this continent. Read it and weep, usa fans.

    Five-to-nothing! Clap-clap, clap clap clap

  13. kralmajales

    July 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I have to agree with Chris in post 31, see the end of my post regarding how disappointing this team was and what side effects it has on the sport in the US.

    So here goes:

    I had a chance to see Mexico play in the round in Phx. I watched a lot of their games as well. They are fast (duh!), attack hard (clearly), and frankly outplayed everyone once the knockout round began. They are a GOOD team and Vela made them look all the better. This was a “A-” team, not a “B+” one.

    The only solace that I can take from this is that it is our C team at best, but it also makes me wonder why (still) we didn’t have some US regulars in this tourney or some subs from the A team at least (Adu, Torres, etc)?

    This was Bradley scouting for more members, sure…but as a fan, it hurt from the beginning of the knockout round. I was happy to see us win some games and to watch (what fan wouldn’t?), but it was disrespectful to us fans, I think, to go into tourney without the A team (or at least a B+). It was disrespectful to field a team that could not win this.

    Last, we are trying to show the country that this sport matters. we are trying to build a following. I don’t care about scouting. Until we have that following we need to demonstrate that we are in it to win…and all the time. We don’t have the luxury of other countries which do not have to prove day in, day out, that this sport matters. The only way to prove it is to put our best foot forward each tourney, each chance, each game. The men on the field tried, Bradley and US Soccer did not.

    Last, I agree that the positive is that we have a few guys to add to the team and a few guys we know can’t cut it….but imagine how much of an opportunity it could have been to have the A team play together…get comfortable with each other, get to know each other’s styles and foibles…they could have used this tourney to GEL. That might be what it takes to get us to a level where we can win in Costa Rica, win in Azteca, and really challenge for a world cup.

  14. Ronny

    July 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    How some of you can continue to excuse this performance is really strange.

    Do you realize the US last lost by 5 goals in a game in 1985! That was to England at a time when the US had not qualified for a World Cup in almost 40 years. The last loss to Mexico by 5 goals was in 1957! The last time we gave up more than 3 goals at home to Mexico was in 1964!

    We’ve played plenty of C teams before and coped. But this team and this coach were totally outclassed. If heads don’t roll after this disgraceful result and their isn’t some accountability in the USSF we are going to get smoked in South Africa next year.

  15. Frank

    July 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    A 5-0 loss is a 5-0 loss regardless of the team or player selected. Tactics and Adjustments are thus more important in matches between B teams or C teams or whatever you call this US team and the Mexican team.

    As the post says this is the worst US loss in a non friendly in 50 years. That is simply not acceptable. I do not care whom you trot out. This is a US team that struggled with Panama and should have lots to Haiti.

    People want to defend MLS. We all want to see it succeed. But this game illustrates the gap between MLS and the Mexican League. Both nations depend heavily on euro based players normally, but when you have B teams in late july, the rosters are stacked with domestic players. The 5-0 verdict may be a harsh judgment on MLS, but it is accurate. To draw Haiti, a team with a few USL players and the rest semi pros was disgusting. You can whine and sya it was a our “C” team, but MLs is allegedly a professional league and the US fielded a team with 11 professionals while Haiti had 4 USL players, and 7 guys from what are semi-pro leagues in all but name. Haiti actually looked tactically aware in that game while the US clumped up, had no shape and looked totally desperate and undisciplined until Holden’s wonder goal.

    I take away Holden from this tournament and give the MLS lovers back the rest of your pitiful league that has done nothing to help the US cause since the exodus of players a few years ago. At one time, MLS developed good player who could cope- now it does not.

    Now we have further expansion into Canada. How exactly does this help US Soccer? USL is no great shakes either, allowing PDL teams to set up in Canada and then seeing them win the title.

    This 5-0 game was coming. The whole tournament you saw a lack of shape and a lack of composure from US MLS based players in tight situations. Holden bailed them out over and over again but even he couldn’t work miracles against classier players and better tactics yesterday.

  16. jake

    July 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    he must monitor fatigue in Azteca as in every year the american players cant handle the smog and altitude of Mexico city it also does not help that mexico play hard while facing the US and they play better in Azteca and that there are 100,000 Mexican fans

    but if he does not make the changes we will lose as Mexico as well as us will take much stronger squads on thing also to look at is that bradley will not try to win but tie as he know that there is no need to win as we have 10 points and thats the thing that might make us lose in Mexico but we can give them the win in Mexico and we will beat them in the WC

  17. Ace

    July 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    MLS is the only sane and responsible entity in all of this.
    I blame the USSF and CONCACAF for allowing this tournament to be scheduled and played during the MLS season. Players are leaving their clubs and others have to be left with their clubs. FIFA, CONCACAF and even our own federation constantly bend for European teams, scheduling around the league season. Then why so little respect for MLS who puts out a schedule in January and then in March this tournament pops up and is played at the same time? Why does the US play it and not withdraw. I applauded the old USSF regime for withdrawing from Copa America because it conflicted with the MLS season and thus we avoided the disruption to teams. This tournament has been terrible totally disrupting the league and forcing teams to get by with makeshift rosters. Now the USSF wants back into Copa America and continues to play games at the same time as MLS which is disrespectful. They set the start times for qualifiers and yet scheudle them at the very same time as MLS games and take players away from their MLS teams.

  18. Andrew

    July 27, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    EPLNFL- I tend to think Kartik is way over the top in a lot his commentary, including in this piece. He is always way too critical of Bradley and too quick to praise players that don’t deserve it and bash guys that are doing okay, but……

    … on the MLS thing I think he is right on the money. We’ve seen it time and time again in big games where MLS guys don’t have the poise or the composure to handle adversity.

    And the CBA does absolutely matter. When players feel they can make more money in a second division USL or by simply sitting in the partly amateur PDL waiting for a European offer, you have a problem. Thus guys fall through the cracks and are below the radar.

    The point is clear- many international managers in the late 1990s used to pick MLS based players, but no nobody outside CONCACAF will take a flier on MLS based players even if they were in their national teams before, because the league does not keep them sharp enough to compete at a high level.

    In the late 1990s African and South American teams that competed and even qualified for the World Cup picked MLS guys regularly. Now it’s only the desperate countries like Gambia and Venezuela that will choose MLS based players.

  19. Futbol Mexicana

    July 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    ivan a, krishnaiyer is an american but he is more knowledge about futbol than 99.9% of gringos. he knows fmf well and mexican football well. his one big problem is he likes lavolpe. otherwise he is a decent gringo.

  20. Ivan A.

    July 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    KARTIK KRISHNAIYER’s article is garbage. Mexico had a solid tournament and finished it up with a indisputable victory over a weak US team.
    Aguirre was the best coach at this game and throughout the tournament by realigning his strategy and taking chances with young players.
    KARTIK KRISHNAIYER go and write article for baseball or basketball…leave football for those who know something about it.

  21. Angel

    July 27, 2009 at 10:11 am

    USA player are to soft and believe in the fair play too much, Please guys have more huevos (Guts) to play hard cord Futbal Soccer. DoSantos was playing by himself and I saw the US defender just looking at him instead of putting the body and give him a hard foul. If you foul him hard he gets scare and you let him know that you are not coming inside with out getting your ass kick. Mr. Bob bradley need to learn more of tactics and how to setup a game plan. And all you Mexican Lover Congra. But remember USA players they don’t like to loose and get trash like they did. This could give them some kind of inspiration to go to Azteca and make history.

  22. eplnfl

    July 27, 2009 at 8:24 am

    It seems that the negative comments came late in the day.

    MLS does not = the USMNT. The CBA did not contribute to the defeat to Mexico which everyone saw coming but it was due to the FIFA schedule and European training camps opening up. We need to divorce the issues of MLS from the USA mens team.

    Now, I await Kartik’s thoughts on how the MLS MUST use the huge interest created`by this Summer of Soccer(great title for a book btw) to increase it’s talent level and interest in the US, so that NY, Chicago, and LA draw soccer crowds of 50,000 plus to see a MLS game.

  23. Franciso

    July 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Rafa Marquez, osorio, magallon, and salcido will stifle any US attack

    that is a great defensive group any national team could dream for

    the fresh 20 year old strikers that Mexico has in Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos are better than any US strikers the US has to offer

    and that poses a major question mark on the US as the near future of this rivalry looms…

    The US had a good run at being on top but this game was a look in the future and it looks like Mexico is gonna have a dominating chokehold in the Concacaf region for years to come

    Oh btw expect Mexico to thrash the US

    starting line up prediction for Mexico

    ST: Vela, Dos Santos

    MID: Medina, Torrado, Pardo, Guardado

    DEF: Marquez, Osorio, Salcido, Magallon

    GK: Ochoa

  24. Angel

    July 27, 2009 at 12:39 am

    A lesson to learn Mr. Bob Bradley next time when you make a B team please bring guys that are willing to play the ass off. What happen to Adu, Davis, Altidore, Cherendulo, & Feilhaber why did you call guys for only to start the begining of the tournament so you just let them go. Please Mexico kill us because the had speed and the play like the United State had play them. Gio Dos Santos looked like Donovan and Vela like Davis. Ohh My gosh the Defense was the worst ever they were coming from the right side and Heap was lost. Playing the Outside Marshall & Goodson were dead and lost their cool. Pearce there is a reason why he lost his place in the A team. Roger need to learn to execute and send those crosses. WoW Ching played fair enough but he is loosing his speed and looked like out of air. Arnaud no comment and Beckerman he keep doing bad passes and falling down shameful. The Changes wow I so disppointed of Cooper please I expected more from him and Quarenta awful lost the ball too many time couldn’t even kick the ball high enough. Give it to Mexico they play a good game and yes they got away with many things but is not their fault when u have a referee that for got to call a penalty against Mexico when Goodson got his shirt hold for more the 30 second. Penalty the Gio when he throw the elbow. Third goal when some hit Pearce hard and gio took it and pass it to Vela but hey its all about MR. Bob Bradly and his player. But my question is why you didn’t call other player with speed and good ball controlling so we could of play a fast pace.

  25. chris

    July 27, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Game plan for azteca pressure dos santos, and vela , run at mexico with speed from charlie davies, Landon donovan.Have Michael Bradley make runs deep into the box and having a couple of shots on goal, have spector make runs down the flanks and make some services to altidore or anyone in the box. Lets play them like its a world cup game like we did against spain, and the first half against brazil.

  26. chris

    July 27, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I am so pissed because i saw this coming when the U.S. played against Panama, Bradley should have brought a real “B” team with torres, castillo, bornstein, clark, kjestan, and a couple of “A” listers for more important rounds instead of the having some available at the group stage, these are altidore, davies, feilhaber, etc. Now, we have gave them something on their side. I am so pissed the only way they can regain my respect is humiliating them in azteca.

  27. David Griffith

    July 26, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I think the big problem for the US was playing two major tourneys in the same summer… Think about it, Euro is only once every 4 years, so is Copa America… Do you think England or Spain or Italy would have fielded a “B” team like we did? No, because they would never have had to, because they wouldn’t be in that situation… Now, had we won the Gold cup with this “B” team, everyone would be happy, but the downside (0-5 thrashing, and letting our biggest rivals out of their hole) was too risky… The Gold cup needs to be changed to quad-annual, like all the other top regional tourneys… I don’t blame BB for the selection process, you have to prioritize, and he did so correctly… The Gold cup did give him a look at some guys of the near or not so near future, for that it was a plus… I just think it inadvertantly let the genie (Mexico) out of the bottle in it’s wake…

  28. WIll

    July 26, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    To be honest, the Gold Cup is really a lame tournament for teams like the US and Mexico unless it’s for a Confed. Cup spot. It’s a chance to try some guys. But if guys like Jay Heaps are playing huge minutes, you know this is not something BB is investing too much into. I was having mixed thoughts even going into the finale — I thought even if we had won, what would have been the big deal? OK, so we discovered that Holden can play. Cool. On to Azteca.

  29. Fernando

    July 26, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Ignorance is bliss. I’m sure most of the readers of this blog know this.

    I sympathize with the Mexican team and managers. They were in dire need of a win. Seriously, I feel sorry for them. Let them savior these moments and ignore the facts: They beat a raw and inexperienced squad using a good portion of their A team.

    Before the game, even as a U.S. supporter, I kinda hoped for a Mexican victory. I placed myself in Aguirre’s shoes in hopes of understanding the tremendous burden that the Federation, press, and country place on him. I was afraid for his health and future.

    But on August 12th my sympathy for them will go away. The U.S. has a good probability of winning in Azteca. They’ve played against pro Mexican crowds before, and won. The only difference is the altitude in Azteca. And I’m sure most of the Mexican squad is not accustomed to this. Unless they start training there tomorrow.

  30. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Agreed BC- soon enough we’re going to be focusing on the CBA heavily on this site.

  31. LI Matt

    July 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I was at the game today. In Estadio Gigantes, East Rutherford, Mexico.

    The tickets for Section 101 were reserved for the Red Bulls supporters club. It looked like the visiting fans’ section at an English game. The USNT is not the most popular national team in the US, end of story.

    I bought my ticket before the knockout round started. If the US hadn’t made the final and Mexico had, I would’ve worn my Spurs gear and openly rooted for Gio dos Santos. As it was, I kept it to myself, but I was happy to see him play so well, and I can only hope ‘Arry figures out what to do with him.

    Mexican club jersey survey: Club America was the clear winner. Chivas and Pumas were a distant second and third, and I didn’t see more than one from anyone else. Maybe that’s just a reflection of New York’s Mexican community, but there it is.

  32. BC

    July 26, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I agree with a lot of your points. MLS isn’t where it should be. It isn’t on par with the FMF, and it needs to fix player development and get a new CBA. I pray that the obvious flaws with the current system is fixed so that the league can actually have some sort of infrastructure and grow better players and pay them what they deserve.

    However, it seems like MLS is always the culprit in these discussions. What if today’s game had been reversed and the US had gotten the questionable penalty call? It’s easy to suppose things hypothetically, but I think the young Mexican team would have reacted in a similarly negative manner.

    I think the criticism of MLS is often too one-sided. You’re right that a team full of MLSers is probably not good enough right now to win on the world stage. However, why isn’t MLS brought up to point to guys like Clark, Donovan, Ching and Holden from a positive perspective as often as it is criticized so consistently? I’ve read pretty much all your stuff this year and I’ll guarantee that MLS is brought up negatively when talking about the USNT 90% of the time. I just think it’s only fair to the league to point out where it does do well to counterbalance the obvious shortcomings. If the result went the US’s way today would your opinion of MLS remained the same?

    I would like to see a long look taken at what needs to happen to the CBA. That is probably more critical than anything else going on in American soccer right now.

  33. eplnfl

    July 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I am glad to see that the readers here have been insightful enough to look beyond the score today and take a look at the entire picture of US Soccer. Fan’s gaining maturity is an important part of the growth of soccer in America. Fan’s keeping things in perspective will help our teams growth.

    Well done to by fellow fans.

  34. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Let me work on finding a link HSNCal

    Basically under the current CBA, development players make 12k-17k a year.

    The MLS Players Union would like to increase that.

    We have more and more players who opt for other careers after college or simply leave for Europe to try and find a club- these players often fall through the cracks and don’t develop.

    We also have other young players who opt to sign in USL, our second division for more money than they get offered in our first division. This is a situation I doubt is prevelent in other parts of the world.

    We also have little incentives under the current structure for MLS sides to develop young talent because if the player is sold most of the transfer fee goes to the league.

    Also if the team has a youth academy often times they cannot sign the players they develop under MLS rules.

    I am hoping all of this is changed when the new CBA goes into affect in 2010.

  35. HSNCal

    July 26, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Grats to Mexico for the decisive victory today…

    I don’t root for them, but unless quite a few Concacaf teams improve a lot, we desperately need each other playing at top form for the international competition…

    Hey Kartik, I want to support MLS player development, but I don’t know anything about the upcoming MLS/CBA issues… can you list a link to more on this?

  36. C Webb

    July 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    “Mexican players always play with class”

    Still trying to wrap my head around this comment from poster Mexican Football.

    So, the red card by Marquez and the hatchet job on Cobi Jones in the 06’s World Cup is class? The knee to the ball of Alexi Lalas in the 97′ Gold Cup final by Ramirez is class? The refusal to shake hands after every loss to the US is class (oh, but they certainly wen’t out of their way to shake hands today). How bout when the Mexican goalie tried to trip Eddie Johnson after Landon had scored for the US in their 2-0 win in Arizona a few years back?

    Shall I even broach the subject of the Mexican club teams behavior in the last two SuperLiga competitions?

    Class is not a word I would associate with Mexican soccer. They have great players and great passion but their thirst to beat and embarrass the US sometimes gets the better of them.

  37. Mexican

    July 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Gio dos Santos’ a great player!!!
    Finally we win on USA after 10 years… I deserve it this victory.
    The Mexico “B” is better than USA “C”. Even, tis US Soccer team, seems so poor…

    In the Azteca Satadium, Mexico will pick 5, 6 of this Gold Cup players (Ochoa, Magallón, Torrado, dos Santos, Vela, Franco and maybe Sabah) and the “European” players, like Márquez, Salcido, Osorio, Guardado, Castillo” and other players like Blanco from MLS, and Pardo)

    Mexco City at 15:00 GMT are so difficult proof for the US “A” team, Mexico seems are wake up with Aguirre and are very needed for should score 3 points at home.

    However, I hope so hard game in Azteca between A teams. Mexico will win 2-0 this day… I hope that 🙂

    Say hello since Mexico, and I’m so sorry for my poor english.. i try it…

  38. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Actually BC I have blamed the FMF a ton on different shows for Mexico’s poor play. That league has too many foreign players and has sold out player development of mexican youngsters to make money and sign south american players.

    Most MLS players absolutely do not know how to play in big atmospheres and in high pressure games- almost every MLS game I watch (and I have watched the league since 1996) have large lulls where the players lose concentration and give the ball away often. Now, their are some elite players in MLS just as their are in any domestic league in the Americas. (believe it or not their are some very good players in the Honduran or Salvadorian league).

    But high pressure situations have never lent itself to teams full of MLS guys. Again, if it’s 4 of 11 instead of 9 of 11 we’re talking about a different story. But even lifetime MLS (and USL) vets unless they have actually played in huge games in tough atmospheres at the international level usually have a steep learning and adjustment curve to games like today. (Jimmy Conrad is a good example- he started in the A-League/USL-1 and then has been in MLS since- he was somewhat shaky in the 2005 Gold Cup but soaked it all up and by the time the 2006 WC rolled around he was reliable) You cannot possibly think otherwise. It’s not meant to bash MLS but to point out accurately that it is a league which has limitations and their is a reason foreign managers that once did pick players from MLS will no longer do so. Colombia is a good example- in 1999 they capped a number of active MLS players. In 2009, even though we hear how good some of the Colombians are in the league, they simply won’t. They even waited for Toja to leave to give him another look last year.

    I have seen some MLS fans through the last few years laughably compare MLS to the FMF in terms of quality and depth. I’m hoping we never hear such ridiculous comparisons again. Most MLS fans don’t watch the Mexican League- I however do watch it.

    In 2007, I began to watch the FMF again after not watching it for many years. I had been convinced that MLS was now on par with the FMF. Let me tell you, watching both leagues closely was a shocker, an absolute eye opener. Again, a big part of why the FMF has arguably hurt El Tri is because the league is filled with high priced foreign players. That’s not the issue with MLS- our league has spent less effort on player development than it used to (MLS had a great development record in the late 90s and early 00s) and now we see Everton and other European clubs raiding the PDL for guys MLS either missed on or offered an insultingly low wage.

    Alot can change for MLS if this CBA goes the way it should for the players. But if it doesn’t, games like this will repeat itself when we field largely MLS based teams in a competitive (ie non friendly) atmosphere against quality opposition. Keep in mind this also was Mexico’s “B” team.

  39. BC

    July 26, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Surprise, surprise, surprise…the US lose and MLS is to blame. It’s such an easy way out. Should we blame the FMF for Mexico playing poorly in the leadup to the final? Even the author admits that the Mexican team played poorly against bad teams like Nicaragua. Why didn’t we see the Mexican league blamed at that point??

    Would we have blamed MLS if that penalty wasn’t called and the US went on to win? The young yanks had a tough call go against them and lost their composure, it happens to a lot of teams. All credit to Mexico for laying the hammer down in the 2nd half.

    Props to our young guys from MLS for a great tournament. It didn’t come off in the end, but they did the league and the US proud.

  40. Jammer

    July 26, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Seybold made the point I was going to make. By the second goal the defense had been completely broken like 4 times in a row, with 3 great saves by the keeper. So where are the defensive subs? You have to stop the bleeding.

  41. HSNCal

    July 26, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Kartik, right on about Bradley deserving no blame for this game. I have been happily surprised at how well he got this team to perform, sticking to the predominantly-MLS roster.
    I would hope that the fact that a highly competitive international squad cannot be made predominantly of MLS players should be no surprise to anyone. But I’m not going to blame MLS for a failure to produce a full international squad; I believe the league is continuing to improve and hopefully over time will support and provide more players that can compete at the international level. You are right, the breakdown we saw today after the first goal did look like something we see in MLS games. On the other hand, you also see frequent careless and reckless fouls in MLS games, and we didn’t see this much in this tournament; the US even recieved the ‘Fair Play’ award.
    Bradley’s commitment to sticking with these players in tournaments like this is a great help to MLS, and he should be applauded for it.

    Although I think the final was his poorest performance of the tournament, I agree that Holden should be brought along, and I believe he can contribute significantly to upcoming WC qualifiers, because I think outside mid is the US’s greatest weakness, along with left back. I also think Rogers should be brought along because of this, although I don’t think he is ready to contribute in qualifers.
    I was also impressed with both Marshall and Goodsen in this tournament, and one or both of them should be given more international experience. We may need one of them if Onyewu or DeMerit goes down.
    Perkins showed that he is at least a very solid #3 keeper.

    On a side note, I was shocked to see Holden not listed as a midfielder in one of the “Best 18” of the Gold Cup, on the Concacaf site. But then I realized he is on the list, they just have him listed as playing for Mexico (either an error or someone’s cruel sense of humor).

  42. Seybold

    July 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    This match reminded me of something Kasey Keller once said: that matches like these are where you find out who can play at this level. We found out.

    You’re right about Bradley’s inability to adjust. The USA backline was clearly gassed and losing mental discipline, so he subs in a forward and a midfielder–did he not even see what was happening? Not that there were any really good options, but at a certain point you just need fresh legs and alert minds. I hope he does a better job of monitoring fatigue levels in the afternoon sun at the Azteca.

  43. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Kyle hit the point of this entire write up- let me apologize right now for saying at the beginning of the summer we should blood let some MLS kids. When you come up against class sides, they don’t have the composure or tactical understanding to cope. That was obvious today and must be part of any storyline to come out of today. Also, Rafael’s points on in game subs is well taken- that’s the point I’ve made on several shows I’ve been a guest on lately- Bradley sets up his team as well as any international manager in the world and has a game plan- but he reacts late to changes in the f,low of the match.

  44. Rafael

    July 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    The U.S. was completely outplayed in the second half. The changes Mexico made were great. Bradley got out-coached in the second half and shows he still can’t make those tactical changes late in games. The subs should have come minutes before the first goal ad at the very least imediately afther the pk.

    As for the pk, I believed it looked more like a pk than many here. Heaps completely pulled Santo’s jersey before the elbow. Yes, there was the elbow, but the jersey pull came first. Santos could have got a YC, even with the awarded pk.

  45. kyle

    July 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I think this game showed that MLS based players at the moment are not good enough for international football. Sure against Grenada they look good, but against good competition not so much. I would argue that you could make two starting elevens of European based players and both teams would beat a MLS only team.

  46. joseph

    July 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    i have to admit mexico outclassed our team in the second half. It was pretty much even in the first half but after the PK our US defense was lost, There was plenty of time to tie the game but we got too hasty and lost order and mexico punished us on the counterattack which gave to our defeat. Nonetheless it was a good game for both but mexico was better today

  47. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Yup- Lou- will have a report card for all the us players (confed cup and gold cup) up tomorrow or tuesday.

  48. eplnfl

    July 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I am not upset. Mexico was the better team and deserved to win. The US with a C team reaching the finals was a major feat. Good for both sides. Bradley did a great job of getting a young group playing together to reach the finals.

    You learn more from a defeat then a victory. Bob Bradley saw how his youngster’s held up under fire. I agree with Kartik that Holden showed his stuff. Other then that I am not sure who should go to Mexico next month and South Africa next year. Thats what our talk should be about.

  49. Mexican Football

    July 26, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Jose, shutup. Mexican players always play with class. As a Hispanic, you should be happy with the result.

    All is well with Mexico atm. Onwards towards South Africa to see if we can once again outlast the usa at the World Cup.

  50. Jose

    July 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I agree with Jared. The game took a turn after the penalty call. It didn’t look like a penalty to me. gio jobbed the ref with his acting, as mexican players generally do, and bought the penalty.

  51. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 26, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Phillip- now they take 10-12, but as I said before, only 7 of these guys are holdovers. So it’s a “B” team.

    I do think we saw Bradley outfox Aguirre early. They were expecting us to counter, but we sued our width to control some good possession in their half of the field and created some decent half chances.

    My personal opinion is that Bradley continues to show why he got the job as time goes on. He’s making the right moves, but we don’t have the depth nor the domestic league we’d like just yet.

  52. Arnie

    July 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    The level of shirt pulling, elbows to the head, dives in hopes of a call-the whole thing was disgusting. No wonder I gave up on the professional game 15 years ago.

  53. Phillip

    July 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Look at the squads.

    Mexico’s taking nearly 10 of those guys to Azteca.

    We’re taking 1 or 2.

  54. Lars

    July 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    I think Hart did a better job than Bradley, myself.

  55. Jared Montz

    July 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Do you think game would have been different if the PK hadn’t been called? I felt like that was huge turning point and took U.S. out of their game. Maybe boys would have tired eventually (even though personally I think they could of won it!) but I don’t think the score line would have been the same.

  56. Julius

    July 26, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I can’t believe how apologetic you are for the US after that result. You spent so much of this (I assume preliminary) recap on how poor Mexico did but they were in the final and they crushed the US. Bradley shouldn’t be fired and the world isn’t over, but only Perkins is the only one that merits consideration for the wc squad. I don’t care what Holden and Rogers did against Grenada or Haiti.

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