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Gold Cup

US 0:5 Mexico: Outrage Lost?


” It was just a C team”  goes the mantra.

For some this is just a simple retort to accept and write off a 5-0 loss to your biggest rivals who were also playing without the majority of their top players (in fact, I would note before this tournament started Gerrado Torrado was the only El Tri player on this roster guaranteed to start at Azteca August 12th and that would be in a different spot on the pitch than where he played in the Gold Cup)

You can be rest assured Bob Bradley doesn’t take this approach. He’s rightfully embarrassed by the performance and will spend the next two weeks diligently preparing with his staff to ensure it never happens again. But for some of our fans, many who have criticized Bradley in the past, the result is being spun in a way that the American coach to his credit will not do- blaming the officials, blaming the player selections, or saying the tournament did not matter.

The fact of the matter is, that 5-0 score-lines in competitive matches are very rare in CONCACAF, when the small island nations of the Caribbean or traditional baseball countries Nicaragua and Panama are not involved. Even when the US was struggling to be relevant in the region between 1958 and 1989, the US never lost a competitive match by five goals, especially on American soil.

Even outside of CONCACAF, 5-0 score-lines are rare in major tournaments. Heck England only scored three goals on Andorra in 2007 and the Republic of Ireland needed a stoppage time goal to beat San Marino the same year. The two losing nations had a grand total between them of one professional player.

The previous low water marks in my lifetime for the US National team were a 6-0 drubbing to France, in a 1979 friendly, which I truthfully do not recall and a 1985 5-0 loss to England. which I remember well, largely because the US had just been eliminated from World Cup 1986 qualification days earlier, and those of us young players who had grown up playing this sport (and in my case, no other organized team sport) saw the end of our hopes to ever play at a high level on a sad day in Torrance.  (As it turns out we qualified unexpectedly in 1990 and have been a regional power ever since)

But the history of the US in this sport prior to 1989 has to be considered “pre-history” at least at the national team level. Obviously at the club level, the success of the NASL is considered by some a “golden age” of American football or at least a romanticized age which today is nostalgia driven.

So since 1989, the US has never been on the end of a score-line so one sided. Surely to satisfy those fans who want to write off this game, the US has never fielded such a weakened team, right?

At a time when the US had no truly professional first division (the APSL the forerunner of today’s USL-1 could be considered semi-professional at the time) and when few if any American players outside of John Harkes and Paul Caligiuri were getting real looks in Europe, Bora Milutinovic fielded several less than full strength US squads against big powers that arguably had zero truly professional players. (These were matches where Harkes, Tab Ramos, Caliguiri, and other Americans actually contracted to a club side were not available)  But yet those teams played with pride, played for the shirt and never got beat 5-0 by anyone, even in trips to the Azteca or Brazil.

As it turns out, every member of Bora’s teams save one or two became a professional and went on to at least a half decent playing career whether in the APSL, which by the mid 1990s was more professional, in MLS, in Mexico or in Europe. But at the time when many of these games were played, all Bora had was a rag tag group of players contracted to the USSF and living in Mission Viejo.

Under Steve Sampson, and Bruce Arena the US fielded many under strength sides. Who can forget the June 2001 friendly against Ecuador, which Arena used in the middle of a tough World Cup qualifying haul to cap several players for the first time? Or how about the 1997 2-1 loss in China that featured Marcelo Balboa, Eric Wynalda and nine other guys who were MLS based and not being given serious looks for the future. (Brian McBride was one of those guys and he turned out well- but the others like Dan Calichman, Steve Pittman, Miles Joseph and Martin Vasquez have been largely forgotten by everyone except Jurgen Klinsmann).

Bob Bradley took a young, inexperienced team to Copa America two years ago and despite the unflattering score-lines, not for a single minute in that tournament did the US look as a pathetically outclassed as it did after minute 55 on Sunday. Even against Argentina and their four goal assault, the US looked more competitive and organized with the likes of Hercules Gomez, Justin Mapp and Eddie Gaven on the field than on Sunday.

So, in fact what we have is a low water mark in the modern era for the US National Team. It can be spun as not mattering, but when you eliminate a psychological hurdle from your biggest rival, whose talent level is generally comparable or superior to your own, you have issues. Thankfully, Bob Bradley understands this sport and the national team program greater than that of the cadre of American fans who claim that the game Sunday doesn’t matter and should be quickly forgotten. Bradley’s post-match comments about taking lessons from this game, admitting it was not acceptable to lose 5-0, and not throwing specific players or the referee under the bus (as Bruce Arena surely would have done) was all class, and once again demonstrated why he is in this job.

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  1. LI Matt

    July 30, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    How ’bout the fact that a more free market capitalist model delivered club soccer to unassailable global dominance?

    Except in America.

    You’ve heard of the NASL, perhaps? Now, there was some free-market capitalism for you. Teams spent big money, and signed big-name players, up to and including the reigning Ballon d’Or holder (Franz Beckenbauer in 1977). The only problem was there was never enough income to cover the expenses, and everybody went broke.

    From the very beginning, MLS has operated on the idea that they weren’t going to let that happen again. Has it had repercussions on the field? Of course it has. But as someone who saw his childhood team go out of business 25 years ago, I believe a focus on stability is a good thing.

  2. Ted Westervelt

    July 30, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    And the elephant in the room continues to go unrecognized here.

    Dempsey said it himself in an AP story earlier in the summer – If you are a top US player, EPL challenges you to be a better player – MLS exhibition/franchise model does not.

    Can we please address the massive dropoff in talent that occurs when we play our domestic players? When global clubs sell out friendlies here, but MLS can’t even break wind?

    Please let’s address the institutional problems that hold our top league back. How ’bout the fact that a more free market capitalist model delivered club soccer to unassailable global dominance?

    Look closely – we have the interest to run the same system here. Yes, crybaby owners will whine about relegation. But let’s be nice – when the system is reformed, we’ll give them the first division status that they paid their franchise fee for, and then let the chips fall where they may….

  3. Jason Gatties

    July 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Absolute worst article I’ve read in the last 3 years. Sorry, its true. Kartik continues to rip the fan base for no real apparent reason other than the fact that some tend to disagree with his standpoint.

    I enjoyed this blog more when you dry humped the USL for 7 straight posts.

  4. Mexico5-USA0

    July 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I am still enjoying Mexico’s thrashing of team USA in the Gold Cup final. Not only did Mexico break its “10 year hex”, it sent a clear message to USA. Highlights are available here:

    In the Cofed Cup, USA shouldn’t have even played Spain if only Italy and Egypt would’ve shown up for their games. Aside from the win versus Spain, the USA had a terrible performance and almost went home with 0 points (again).

    Regarding the game at Azteca, there is no reason to believe that USA will win this one. History will repeat and USA will continue to have ZERO wins in Mexico. This is a far more impressive streak than the 10 year drought that Mexico just broke out of.

    My prediction for Azteca is: MEX 2 – USA 0

  5. John

    July 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Under no circumstance should a team ever lose to its biggest rival 5-0 even with an F team.

    The excuses from some of our fans are pathetic and quite honestly insulting to those of us who actually understand this game better than them.

  6. Jimbo

    July 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    i hope your “facts” are sarcasm… the only true fact of the ones you wrote is the third one and only this “GULATI AND GARBER HAVE BROUGH THIS SPORT TO THE MASSES WITH THIS SUMMER OF SOCCER” …all the others are your opinion and not facts… if you did own concacaf then usa should be in the first place of WCQ and you`re 2nd so please be informed…

    And as for the All star game…pfff….your mls stars? a tie? with a mid-level EPL team? really? …good luck with your so called “THE MOST COMPETITIVE LEAGUE IN THE WORLD FROM TOP TO BOTTOM” … =)

    Aug 12 is going to be one hell of a ride for usa i can tell you…i do think that Mexico will beat usa again…maybe not 5-0 but a nice 1-0 or 2-1…it is still a win…

    and for some reason i have the sense that you are one of those “fans” that are never or barely informed about soccer and only go to the games and shout: usa! usa! usa! … that`s all i have to say, thank you and i`ll be seeing you in the azteca on Aug. 12th…

  7. Very Nice

    July 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    @ Fernando

    I’m sorry for my poor english but I’m at work and I don’t have the time to check if it was well writen…

    Now… I’m not saying he knows about soccer just because… I prefer to quote “he’s posting positive things about the Mexican team; boosting your self-esteem”

    I’m trying to say this… the best way possible… I don’t want to be rude… because you always feel insulted when talking about soccer without knowing about the subject and it’s not your fault… we grow up always talking about the subject and there are many that only come here because Mexico won to upset you… making us look as horrible as they are…

    Your soccer needs to evolve… yes you have your “own style”… and have stablish a way to play… but in your A team… I only reckon there is a player with abbilities that are really good enough to take in account… and is not Donovan… but well you can call me ignorant to not take enough interest in MLS because is not that great to me yet…

    ok naw to your point:

    1. They tend to crush the national team and our players when possible…
    2. Aguirre was tired of the press because they said it was a B team and when they won the GC they wanted them to be the base for Aug. 12 meaning the press changes its mind quickly having no credibility… I can understand you didn’t get that because the complete article is in spanish and is not your 1st language…
    3. It doesn’t matter if Aguirre called people from the GC that doesn’t mean they are going to line up on Aug. 12 as starters… likely Ochoa, Torrado (wich idea I hate but he has Aguirre’s trust), maybe Giovanni… and if he insists on thinking Sabah is good… he as well ¬¬x… Unless he takes everybody by surprise he will do what you think about the base…

    I ask you to bear with me please… It has been a long time since I wrote in english… so I’m out of practice…

    And yes I agree the FMF website is horrible ¬¬x even me who is native speaker… sometimes I can’t find what I want…

    An finally I repeat I try not to be rude or offend you but if that’s the case let me know so I can improve on that…

  8. Jack(from Vegas)

    July 30, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Most important things to take away from the gold cup final in no particular order.

    1. The US has lost some of its mental edge by losing on US soil. That is an experience Vela, Dos Santos and the other players will be able to draw upon in the future.

    2. The US meltdown was epic. The scoreline could have been even worse if Perkins doesn’t make a few nice saves. I’ve never the US look like that before.

    3. I believe Bob Bradley will have the team ready for the opening half in azteca. My question is will he be able to make the necessary changes in the second half to give the US the a fighting chance to get a result?

    4. Other than that I’m not sure what else you can take away from the game. It was more than a friendly but not at the level of a WCQ. I think it is important to not make mountains out of molehills and vice versa.

  9. Fernando

    July 30, 2009 at 12:58 am

    @ Very Nice

    It’s pretty obvious that you’re glorifying Kartik because he’s posting positive things about the Mexican team; boosting your self-esteem.

    The comment that was directed at me didn’t make any sense. Which is OK because I understand that English is not your first language.

    1. They tend to crush WHO when possible?
    2. Aguirre hated reading that the team is a B. Why? Was it because he saw greater potential? Or was he sick of being reminded that his team is a B?
    3. The selection for the WC qualifier is largely made of of the starting line-up that played in the GC final. And is 55% FMF based.

    I don’t think I am wrong to take literally when Aguirre said “And this might be the base” when asked about the line-up for the WC qualifier.

    I also said to bear with me if my comments appear ignorant in one of the later posts.

    I’ve spent time on the FMF website (which needs to be entirely revamped – totally disorganized). And I’m having a tough time believing that the selection for the Aug. 12 game will defeat the U.S. Honestly, I think that the game will end 0-2, at least.

  10. BFT

    July 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    If you people think that Kartik is a “good writer”, it’s time to go back and take English again.

    Please don’t confuse being in agreement with his being a “good writer”. You not only out yourself as lacking the ability to properly comprehend the written English language, you do a disservice to those out there that actually are good writers.

    As for the point made, it’s a valid as the other side; the issue is gray, and the wholesale swap of players that will take place before August 12th makes it almost impossible to really grasp the significance.

  11. LI Matt

    July 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm


    The technical term for this is “load of crap”.

    You want to insist the penalty was a bad call? Fine, it’s a bad call. It’s also 1-0, with 30-some-odd minutes left. Now what?

    Remember, Mexico scored first in 2007, also. But in 2007, the US team fought back and won. In 2009, the US team collapsed.

  12. Very Nice

    July 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Wow Oscar Perez was left out, that means Aguirre confides in Ochoa and Corona (well done guys, although Chuy needs to learn humility)…

    With that being said, I like your blog Kartik, sure you know about soccer because normally a gringo doesn’t know about that subject…

    Now, Fernando Aguirre said that because here in Mexico where Soccer is the number 1 sport and the press is horrible, they tend to crush them when possible… and they were saying they wanted the team that wond the Gold Cup as the base that is the whole point, not that he was thinking if it was an A or B team… Because he said from the begining that he wanted to win the Gold Cup and that this tournament was the perfect oportunity for Dos Santos and Vela to show what they are made of because they haven’t perform well in the past with that national team… and as for the goalkeepers it was time to prove if one of them could be the next goalkeeper for the national team…

    So if you are gonna comment on something do a good job like Kartik and get all the information…

    Mexico only went to win a tournament not forgetting the objective that among these players is the future of our national team so you have to give them a chance…

    I don’t who among these will play on August 12 (well maybe only Ochoa xD) because it depends on the tactic who will be on the pitch at the beginning of the match…

  13. Angel

    July 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    hey thank Kartik, But you should of done me a big favor on my spelling and grammer jajaja.

  14. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Angel- loved your comment on my other site- I’m re pasting it here also:

    Angel says:

    I think Mexico will that with this lineup a 4-4-2 and I think Aguirre is going to use the same game plan he did against the B team in the gold cup and that is wait until the 2nd half to send the big guns like Vela, Franco and Blanco. so USA have to put all the ball in the net if they the chances and not waste them.
    Guardado——————Dos Santos


    very similar to the one he just against Spain, Egypt and Brazil.

  15. Angel

    July 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Ryby I don’t know what the lineup is going to be from Mexico, I pretty sure it might be the same as always with

    Guardado——————Dos Santos
    And BOB Please get real. Please we Outplayed Brazil come on, Yes we did play good for 45min and we lost a 2-0 lead. and we lost the Confederation Final. And then we come to the Gold Cup play well thru the trournament and we loose 5-0 to Mexico. and then you talk about MLS been on a top level and we are going to show them. Please we are using a lots of players from other countries in the MLS ALlSTAR. Please why don’t you get a team from the MLS and have them play against Everton when they at least in the middle of the season and will see where is the MLS at. Sunil and Gaber please don’t make me laugh.

  16. ryby

    July 29, 2009 at 2:48 pm


    This is list of all players… but who play on pitch?

  17. Angel

    July 29, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    That is the List of player from Mexico, the FMF already confirmed that will be playing against the USA at the Azteca. what you guys think?

  18. Angel

    July 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Francisco Guillermo Ochoa Magaña | América
    José de Jesús Corona Rodríguez | Cruz Azul

    Efraín Juárez Valdez | UNAM
    José Antonio Castro González | Tigres
    Rafael Márquez Álvarez | Barcelona
    José Jonny Magallón Oliva | Guadalajara
    Ricardo Osorio Mendoza | Stuttgart
    Aarón Galindo Rubio | Guadalajara
    Carlos Arnoldo Salcido Flores | PSV Eindhoven
    Oscar Adrián Rojas Castillon | América

    Gerardo Torrado Diez de Bonilla | Cruz Azul
    Israel Castro Macías | UNAM
    José Andrés Guardado Hernández | La Coruña
    Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo | Chicago Fire
    Mexico List posted already

    Alberto Medina Briseño | Guadalajara
    Giovani Dos Santos Ramírez | Tottenham
    Nery Alberto Castillo Confalonieri | Shakhtar
    Carlos Alberto Vela Garrido | Arsenal
    Miguel Sabah Rodríguez | Monarcas
    Guillermo Luis Franco Farcuason

  19. Bob

    July 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    We are on the cusp of beating Mexico at Azteca, and we have irresponsible blogs like this, irresponsible comments like from Seybold and Angel and irresponsible gutter journalism from MLS Rumors.

    Here are some facts:






  20. Angel

    July 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Well Like I said before and I say it again Bob Bradley is a good Coach but he lack of Technical Tactic and how to used his subs. That defense that we had in the Gold Cup was good but that’s where Bob Bradley need it to put players like Conrad who I think would of have done the dirty job on Dos Santos. The defense give Dos Santos too much respect and let him play instead of been more aggressive and tackle him hard. Don’t get me wrong I not saying to hurt the guy but you play hard and let him know that you are not coming in just like that. I just found out that Adu never left to Benfica, he was training all this time in Florida at the training Facility. Bob Bradley knew and he never call him back at least Parkhurst came back. 7 extra players that Bob should had add to the list and never even do that, and why you bring : Davis, Altidore, Adu, Clark, Feilhaber, Bronstain, Klejstan, Brad Guzan and not used this guy in the final or only used them for two freaking early in the tournament games against Grenada. No here Mr. Gulati saying that he back up the roster list for bringing a B team to the Gold Cup and that we should be proud cause it was not an insult to the tournament cause we made to the Final. Well it was an insult to us the fan and to be humiliated and to listen all this past day on how Mexico is back and the Giant has awaken. Gulati is a guy who doesn’t know or ever play soccer in his entire life, he doesn’t know how to love the jersey, the shield and the color that represent the Country. Now the Mexican have Jose Dela Torres in charge of the National Team, and ex-Chiva player and National team player. He wants to win at any cost. And not to mention Aguirre also an ex-player and National team player. Who do we have here running our Football soccer (USSF, USMNT, and MLS) Three guys that never ever had play at any pro or semi level. Sunil Gulati never played before, Don Garber who have never played before and it come from NFL. and Mr. Bob Bradley that never play in any level before only as assistant coach or coach of university before he became coach in the MLS. Until we start to bring coaches or people who can control the USSF with soccer experience and have play professionally and understand about what it take to gain respect, proud, and glory in the Football(soccer) community. That when the USA will be an Elite. And What happen in July 26, 2009 a defeat of 5-0 to Mexico will never again happen. I hope we go to the Azteca and show that we can win there and show that we are proud represent the color, and the Jersey of the United State of America… I hope all our player go there to win and not be blind of the revenge but focus to win the game. Revenge is not we wont what we need is to Win….

  21. Carlos

    July 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    letting everyone know that this game was just a sign of ability of Mexico’s future soccer team perhaps the best is yet to come from Mexico is yet to come and soon even the great teams in the world will fear them like when they had Borgetti, Zague And Luis Hernandez. 3 days after the world cup theres talks of world class clubs wanting Giovanni Dos Santos Deportivo De La Cruna wants him

    Vela Is a Top Class player And so is Giovanni Dos Santos lets not forget Guardado who is also a star. Sorry to say this but Mexico is a diamond in a rough.

    not Mexican so im not going to talk down on no nation but Mexico has a very bright future

  22. Carlos

    July 29, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    letting everyone know that this game was just a sign of ability of Mexico’s future soccer team perhaps the best is yet to come from Mexico is yet to come and soon even the great teams in the world will fear them like when they had Borgetti, Zague And Luis Hernandez. 3 days after the world cup theres talks of world class clubs wanting Giovanni Dos Santos Deportivo De La Cruna wants him

    Vela Is a Top Class player And so is Giovanni Dos Santos lets not forget Guardado who is also a star. Sorry to say this but Mexico is a diamond in a rough.

    not Mexican im not going to talk down on no nation but Mexico has a very bright future

  23. Glenn

    July 29, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Folks… we had a bad game. World Series champions and Super Bowl champions and NBA champions often have a bad game or two sometime during the season. Chill out.

    I’m not making excuses or saying the tournament didn’t matter.

    I’m saying one game – actually less than one half of one game – may not mean anything other than the fact that we collectively had a bad day. It happens all the time in sports.

    Credit to Mexico for jumping on us when we were down, but I think they’re going to regret scoring that 5th goal. I’m guessing the USMNT went from embarrassed to pissed off when that went in.

  24. Terry

    July 29, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Well said K!

  25. Fred Bear

    July 29, 2009 at 11:19 am

    As an American who was embarrassed by the result it is amazing the lack of outrage. I don’t watch MLS or care about the league. I tried to follow it during this tournament so I’d understand who this collection of MLS guys is- I know Ching, Holden and Rogers. The rest were new names to me and all failed the test as did the league.

    By the way, I would like to know more about the two Americans from the 4th division signed by Everton. Who are they and are they any good?

  26. Futbol Mexicana

    July 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    a reason exists why kartik is the only gringo writer on football i take seriously. he knows the mexican team and knows the region. anyone who says this was mexico’s “a” team is delusional. this same mexican team has generally featured in friendlies on usa soil against the likes of guatemala and peru while the big boys, a totally different squad has been selected for qualifying.

    i enjoy kartiks writing on usa and concacaf but not the nonsense comments from many usa usa usa! fan who know nothing of football.

  27. Raul

    July 29, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Good article, Kartik. I am a new fan of your writing and show. In a way, Bradley is lucky that soccer is not the number one sport in the US. The same result in a “soccer country” would have cost him his job, or the humiliation would have caused him to resign. But, more importantly, he would have had enough pressure on him to have the sense to stack the bench so he could at least attempted to stop the bleeding. Kartik mentions at the end about the pressure Arena felt during their poor peformance at Germany 06 and how poorly he handled it with the press. Even though it was the most pressure any USMNT coach has ever felt (a lot of it self-imposed), it still is only a fraction of what soccer country coaches feel on a consistant basis.

  28. Joe

    July 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

    We’ve beaten Honduras three times in two months, twice with our “B/C” team and Mexico has been killed by them twice since November.

    This game was just a one off. We dominated in the Confiderations Cup, we have dominated Mexico for the last ten years and are still dominating CONCACAF when our regulars play.

    We are going to crush the helpless Mexicans on August 12th. And since Aguirre is going back to what some here call his “B” squad, it’s already in the bag!

  29. Seybold

    July 29, 2009 at 1:17 am

    And thanks once again to Kartik for having the guts to tell it like it is.

  30. Seybold

    July 29, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Interesting point, Bolacuadrada. As an extreme example I’d much rather see Guardado line up on the left than Vela. Guardado is more experienced, with a better overall record than Vela…but in this match Guardado is just another guy who’s never quite gotten it done against the USA. Kartik is right–Aguirre is in a bit of a bind. Dos Santos? Outstanding in this match, but in most matches…

    As for the Azteca–the Confed Cup was played at altitude. Not as much as the Azteca, but part of that advantage Mexico once had isn’t what it used to be.

    Bradley got one thing right in the final–not playing Charlie Davies! The Mexicans have never played against him. If he can make space for himself against Spain and Brazil…

  31. soccer goals

    July 28, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    The 12th will be a defining moment for USMNT qualification.

  32. Bolacuadrada

    July 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    As far as I concerned Mexico had his “A” team because this team is clearly better than the one that played the qualifying games. An “A” team is the best team a country has to offer and that is the best team Mexico has right now. The USA did not have the best team and you can call it from “B” to “Z” if you prefer. We all know that the best USA team was in South Africa last month. It was Mexico’s best against the USA whatever.

  33. Henry

    July 28, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Dude, miklo, what kind of answer is that, dont be a nazis, Mexico did well, I didnt expect that score!, but Its ok, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, thats the way of life

  34. miklo

    July 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    usa team is more superior in any aspect than mexico team. bradley just made a mistake in the final with the line sure its not gonna happen on agust 12 they are afraid of donovan.go usa

  35. LI Matt

    July 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Mexico had Dos Santos and Vela both EPL guys, both top of the line talents.

    “Top of the line talents” they may be, but they have exactly 20 Premier League appearances between them. They’re not quite established EPL stars just yet.

  36. MLS Rumors

    July 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Kartik, this is an excellent piece. The hardest part of going to Mexico for any US team whether it is the national team or MLS teams in the CONCACAF Champions League is the psychology of the game and adjusting to tactics. Unfortunately we see little progress there.

  37. Brad

    July 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Could it be Bradley was too afraid to bring in a stronger side for this tournament because he was afraid to lose especially to Mexico? So instead, he brought in a pro-MLS side with the excuse that it the US lost it is with a weaker US side. The abscence of almost all of the Confederations Cup team in the knockout stage leans me to think this way.

  38. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Fernando- I’ve speculated for the last few days about Aguirre’s bind. Now that this “B” side made up largely of FMF based players has defeated the US, returning to the European oriented “A” side he prefers may be a risk in the PR department. Even worse if he doesn’t beat the US with the euro based players, pressure may build for him to return to the Gold Cup team for the critical qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica. Success does have it’s price in player selection and Mexico still needs 9 points from their remaining home games to ensure avoiding the playoff with COMNEBOL.

  39. Mexico, 2009 Gold Cup Champions

    July 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Where did the eplfan (Lou from Chicago) go? Where are his “team usa is a player on the world stage!” or “the sport is catching on in the usa!” quotes?

    Haha. The usa is not a world player when it gets annihilated 5-0 at home.

    And the sport is NOT catching on if they get outnumbered 75,000 to 5,000 at a home game.

    I guess they don’t have internet service in the Looney Bin that Lou lives in.

  40. Fernando

    July 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Those were comments from the writer, not Aguirre.

    Sure, some of their best names weren’t on the field. But knowing that, why is he considering their Gold Cup squad as the possible base? Why did he hate seeing the press that his squad is a B? Was it because he saw greater potential in them? At least an A-?

    I started following Concacaf and the USMNT right when WC qualifiers began earlier this year. So please bear with me when my comments appear ignorant.

    I was certain of what I saying in the previous comment. But know I just feel confused.

  41. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    No, the article says Fernando very clearly that the majority of players he would select for a qualifier- Here are quotes from the story you link:

    ” Aguirre played a largely “B” team in the Gold Cup, but the group performed better with each match and won 5-0 on Sunday for Mexico’s first victory against the U.S. on American soil in 10 years.”

    ” Only goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, striker Giovani Dos Santos, captain Gerardo Torrado and defender Jonny Magallon are likely to back up. And Magallon may only play if Barcelona’s Rafael Marquez does not recover from injury.”

    So the story is saying he will call an A team for the qualifier which is different than the B team that won Sunday- he is saying that people in Mexico may want to see the same guys out there that just won but they need to respect his judgment on this matter.

    So the story confirms Mexico played a B team. I don’t need the story to confirm it. I follow CONCACAF, thus I follow El Tri. I know who their first choice players are and beside Torrado prior this tournament, no one on this Mexico roster was guaranteed to start a real A match.

  42. Fernando

    July 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    It seems that many people haven’t read yesterday’s article from the Associated Press. Mexico brought an A team. There is no doubt Aguirre had a strong desire to win.

    Aguirre’s words: “I remember having read – and I hated it – that this was a ‘B’ team. And now it might be the base.”

    We should congratulate our C team for their run. They are second place in Concacaf. I consider them a C team because it is MLS based with barely any international experience. They were overwhelmed on Sunday. They don’t know what is was like to face quality players and crowd of 77,000. Even then, our C team managed to create much more opportunities than Mexico did in the first half. They just couldn’t handle the pressure to score right after the penalty.

    Here’s the link:

  43. J. Alvarez

    July 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    OK we lost 5-0, this loss hurt me as much as any US supporter. BUT honestly we still have a game on AUG. 12 were we will hurt Mexico when it really counts: a step closer to not letting them qualify to the WC.”we should have brought our ‘A’ team” no this is a BAD idea. if we did we would have not discovered Stuart Holden, beckerman who is at least good enough for a sub or reserve, and another contender for goalie Perkins. Yes, he allowed 5 goals; however, if you look back at the game when we were down 1-0 and we lost our discipline, it took the mexicans 4 counter attacks to finally notch the second goal against a two man defense. This was a HORRIBLE loss i admit, but you look at the good and the bad and you learn. The young players gained experience, learned that retaining your composure is the way you play. Its cool its not the end of the world we still have qualifiers. We will win on Aug 12th. Mexico showed me nothing on Sunday that would defeat Gooch, DeMerit and Boca at the back.

  44. Revs Till I die

    July 28, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    This is nothing but drivel, the piece and the comments. Let Mexico have two weeks of glory. Come August 12th it is all over for them.

    We will win at Azteca. You can count on it.

  45. ROVOD

    July 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Kartik, thank goodness!

    I thought you were part of the “perspective” crowd the other day, the “5-0 losses are acceptable crowd” the other day. Finally, you have come around.

    Good work and good piece.

  46. AP

    July 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    So what 0-5 loss….Truth be told told that type of beating hurts!!!!!….. But we didn’t have many of our starters….. Team U.S.A. better have an answer and a victory in the next qualifying game!!!!…. No win in the next qualifying game will only mean that big upset game aganist Spain was a Fluke!!!!! Team USA has plenty of talent and good coaching….lets start puting it all together and show the world what team USA is all about!!!

  47. Juan

    July 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    USA FANS. Do u know how powerful mexico is in the Azteca..OMG!!! 100,000 mexicans routing for mexico, the altitude of mexico city, the heat that will take place, an inspired mexico team after embarrassing the us 5-0 and add to that that the USA is not really good on the road got killed by costa rica and barely tied el salvador in the last minute…. Oh boy that nothing compare to what the US will be against on agust 12th.. ask Brazil, argentina, or even better costa rica theyll tell
    Were not worried watssoever but i think u guys should 😉

    P.S donovan dont forget extra underwear ull be needing it

  48. Kyle

    July 28, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I think it will be a very close game at Azteca. It is very hard to beat Mexico there. But, if the US plays like they did against Spain, I am convinced they can beat any team and win in a hostile environment. In the first half of the game against Brazil, the US looked like an elite team. They were playing the bunker/counter-attack strategy they used against Spain, but they also had possession for significant amounts of time and controlled the flow of the game. Im interested to see if the team can regain that form, or if Brazil’s resurgence in that second half has shaken their confidence too badly. I’m excited for this game not just because its against Mexico, but because it’s the first time to see the full USMNT since the Confederations Cup and to see if they can keep that level of play

  49. El Tri

    July 28, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    C U.S. squad? Really? Come on Kartik, you know those we’re the MLS All-Stars out there… ..This game was all about pride, that’s it. Mexico did have the edge as far as experience players go, however if Bradley really wanted to win this tournament, he should have fielded at least a couple of more experienced players to aid his squad. How about Bornstein? He’s a good one and he plays in MLS?

    Both teams looked fairly equal during the 1st half, it almost seemed to me like Aguirre was trying to play a US style defensive game, that’s why the first 45 minutes were so dull. It was really Vela, the one that made the significant difference and once that 1st goal landed, the US opened up and it was all over! The game in Mexico City will be the important one, this one will have both teams with their full squads and it should be fun! Good luck to the US since they’ve never won in Mexico, and good luck to Mexico since technically in this decade the northern neighbors still have the winning edge! I just hope we see some good football.

    Kartik, you are a good writer and know Mexican and American football well. But you preach too much to ignorant, dumb gringos who just shout USA USA from the rafters with no ability to appreciate what you write and why you write it.

  50. Lee

    July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm


    it was bad. But how many European based players did we have? How many EPL guys ZERO! Mexico had Dos Santos and Vela both EPL guys, both top of the line talents.

    Look we all know MLS is joke- most MLS guys lack the composure and understanding of the game at a high level to cope when things go bad- we saw that with the two quick Haitian goals by USL and semi professional players.

    The few real quality players in MLS could not join this team because the league insists on plowing right through the international breaks with games so coaches didn’t want to lose guys like Kljestan and Ricardo Clark.

    Bradley perhaps should have picked players like Frank Simek, Jemel Johnson or Zak Whitbread from England to get more quality and composure. He did not.

    But the team we take to Azteca is almost entirely European based with the exception of the unmotivated and selfish Landy cakes. Gone are Heaps, Pause and Quaratna, and in are Dempsey, Gooch and Davies.

    We will win at Azteca. If anything this result though embarrassing should convince Bradley and the USSF to NEVER AGAIN rely on an MLS oriented team. Go with European guys, even second choice ones and avoid embarrassment. When our first rate Euro guys like Gooch and Dempsey are in the fold we are untouchable in this region. No one comes close- Mexico will pay the price for their arrogance and “B” team success at Azteca.


    • Rodrigo

      August 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm

      Well, so Mexico was going to pay for his arrogance??? honestly I watched the game and Mexico controlled the game from beggining to end, approximately 90% ball posession, your defense looked like a cheese full of holes lol, so please refrain yourself from doing this type of comments, it is more than obvious that your defensive game is not going to help you anymore. I hope this time you will not have any excuses or someone to blame for this loss.

  51. Angry USA Fan

    July 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Kartik as usual on to something but defending Bradley is plain wrong. It is he who choose 7 extra players that weren’t going to be called in or availible it was he who admitted that several players were leaving early but yet did not pick adequate replacements, it was he who still hasn’t called in some of our young guys from Europe, it is he who still plays favorites and it is he ultimately who has failed to make adjustments in the 2nd half of two finals this summer when the flow of the game changed quickly and in the other teams favor. In a World Cup, every game is like a final and I think he needs to be fired now.

  52. DK

    July 28, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    It was about pride–it proved that a lot of those guys have very little pride, and it won’t be a problem since few (if any) will be in that position again. If we lose 2-0 or worse in two weeks, then maybe you can claim “low water mark”. But if we get a result in Azteca, this game won’t matter one bit.

  53. Chris B

    July 28, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    It was a “C” team, but, there are lessons to be learned. simple as that!

  54. Hal

    July 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    First off, having the Gold Cup every two years is a joke, especially when it falls on Confed Cup years and crucial WCQ time. It should be the year after the World Cup with full strength squads all around, no qualifiers, and the winner getting the Confed Cup spot.

    We got spanked badly. Fair play to Mexico. But think about this: Ching and Parkhurst were the only ones from the ’07 Gold Cup squad. Out of a 23-man squad, we had seven players get their first cap (Robles, Holden, Pause, Clark, Cronin, Heaps and Evans) and five more with 2 caps or less. That’s half the squad with little to no international experience playing in a real competition, not friendlies.

    To be honest I wasn’t expecting this team to even make the final. I figured to the USSF and Bradley, this was a Copa America-like throwaway to get guys capped and get them some game pressure and experience. To do what they did up to the final gave me comfort knowing that the USA has some decent depth that could compete in our region. It can only help us going forward.

  55. Seybold

    July 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks, Kartik. Someone had to say this. You hit the nail on the head: at a certain point it’s about pride.

    As well as Mexico played, there is no excuse for lack of both mental strength and positional discipline when you go down 1-0. Those are the things you need most. Defenders can’t start attacking like chickens with their heads cut off. Attack they must, but at the right moments, not helter-skelter.

    I’ve seen some ugly USA matches, but I’ve never seen a single match like this, ever, where all of the sudden there’s only 1 or 2 defenders back, and the team’s shape just vaporizes. Vaporizes! Sure Vela and Dos Santos were superb, but with all that time and space, the truth is it could have been a lot more than five. Well done Troy Perkins.

    You can’t blame fatigue for that. Nothing like this ever happened under Bora, Sampson, or Arena. However ugly it was, the team’s shape was generally at least adequate.

    I know some say the ConFed Cup was a fluke, but at a certain point that’s ridiculous. If you’re in the final leading Brazil 2-0 at the half, you clearly are doing something right. I think the criticism from the likes of Kartik helped a lot, and shifted US soccer culture away from the culture of enabling mediocrity. Players like Michael Bradley were stung, and responded.

    Now is not the time to return to that culture.

  56. B4RL

    July 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Many US fans have a false image of he USMNT, that the USMNT is among the top teams in the World – twice you have seen the USMNT loose composure shortly after starting a second half in a Finals game. Call me crazy but I just don’t see the USA winning in Mexico, lets look at the past several games on the road, 1) remember the Cuba game prior to the Final round? that left a bitter taste, 2) El Salvador Match, the US barely made out with a tie there, 3) Costa Rica, now this was a beat down as well. What makes you think the USA will regain composure in Mexico in front of +100k anti USA fans? Donavon says that he likes that kind of negativity towards the USA it fuels his fire, but he is not the entire team. As for beating Spain, well that is soccer eventually Spain would lose this time it came at the hands of the USA – this was probably a good thing for SPAIN, but bad for USA, as it now puts a lot more unneeded pressure to perform every game. This is what always happens to the USA, they win against a big opponent and then they begin to think they can always play at the higher level, when in reality SPAIN underestimated the USA…won’t happen again in WC 2010.

  57. RaiderRich2001

    July 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t get Bob Bradley anymore, I just don’t. It almost makes me wish we had gotten spanked by Spain so we could have gotten a better coach.

  58. Kyle

    July 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Exactly… I think that if we had the roster in the final that we had at the beginning of the tournament, with Davies and Adu plus a couple defensive reinforcements, we would have won easily.

  59. C Webb

    July 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Perspective is the key.

    It was a butt pummeling of humiliation proportions no doubt, but I won’t lose a minute of sleep over it because of the circumstances that were created.

    Let’s see Mexico play the same exact schedule the US did this past 8 weeks and let’s see how their federation handles it and let’s see their results.

    it’s easy to say “Mexcio’s B side crushed the US’ B side”. But it’s more complicated than that. As has been noted ad naseum, Mexico had a number of first team players in use. Torrado, Magallon, Vela, Dos Santos and Memo Ochoa.

    The US can basically say Brian Ching, but even that is in question now if Bradley sticks with Altidore and Davies.

    The US got to the final of this tournament when not a lot of people expected them to. A tired team fought hard in the first 45 but the combination of Mexico finally breaking through, Bradley running the starting X1 into the ground (3rd straight match starting those players) and the lack of composure that comes with losing their edge and being flat out exhausted left the US in a no-win situation.

    Kudos to Mexico for laying the wood. One can only hope that if the situations were reversed that the US would do in kind. I doubt that the circumstances that faced the US this summer will ever be repeated by any team in CONCACAF ever again.

    With that being said, job well done and again, no lost sleep here. Besides, even if we do lose in Azteca in two weeks (which I think we will despite playing a good match), we’ll still be ahead of Mexico with a home match against El Salvador and a winnable road match against T&T upcoming.

  60. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Kyle- that is a very fair and valid point that I completely ignored when writing this: the 7 extra spots were unused and we didn’t bring sufficient cover for the guys we lost early like Dolo, Davies and Freddy.

  61. Kyle

    July 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

    If Bradley really understood the ramifications of what he was doing, he wouldn’t have brought such a weak squad to the finals and he would have used the substitutions FIFA allowed him.

  62. Berlin

    July 28, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I think this was a great tournament and frankly, not a terrible outcome. Yes, we got whooped. Yes, we’re going to be eating cinco a cero forever if we don’t draw/win at Azteca. But the team has proven that it needs this sort of head check to perform at a high level. I don’t like it, but a young team found out what they’re made of and the MNT got a taste of humility after the Confederations Cup. Hopefully the first team will take this loss to heart and set about rectifying the situation. After all, we can’t dream of World Cups if we can’t win Gold Cups.

  63. kerlon

    July 28, 2009 at 10:53 am

    in copa america, many teams take their u-20 squads ( u-23 if it’s an olympic year)
    I think if ussf wanted to test new talent in the gold cup, Thomas Rongen should have taken the full U-20 A-squad to prepare for the wc in egypt. Our
    U-20 Team has better talent than the likes of J Heaps; they are the ones who should be given a chance in a meaningful tournament

  64. Doug

    July 28, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Good points, especially about how Bradley is handling the situation.

    And I agree – it is a situation.

    But I think most people are trying to keep things in perspective, rather than completely dismissing the game, in large part because they expect the first team to continue to succeed.

    As frustrating as Sunday was – and it was frustrating – it doesn’t affect that the US is on track to qualify for the World Cup and recently showed that it might have the mental and intestinal fortitude to do something in South Africa of note.

    We’ll have to see how things play out. A poor performance (something beyond a one-goal loss) in Mexico on August 12 will raise a lot more eyebrows. What is interesting, though, is that this drubbing might actually inspire the first team to go for the win in Azteca – something that would be the ultimate revenge (barring another win in the World Cup).

  65. Mando

    July 28, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I’d like to think it’s a matter of what the US did wrong, but it we have to commend what Mexico did right. Vela and Dos Santos returned to their U-17 form and ran rings round our defenders.

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