USA 2, Mexico 0
Good Lord, Jimmy Conrad with the gamewinner? I don't know what the line on that was, but if someone put money on that, they made a tidy sum.
This game was brutish, and somehow also a bit over-officiated. Mexico was not dicking around this time around, hiring Mexican Legend Hugo Sanchez to be the Coach (not to be confused with that other enemy of the US, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez). Though I do like Eric Wynalda's suggestion that they hired him now so they could fire him before the games start mattering. Also, I liked the way he capped off his argument: "That's Mexican soccer for you."
I like the idea that the US plays in places to get a sell-out against Mexico, homefield advantage be damned. And homefield advantage was damned. I can't think of any finer example of that then at the end of the first half after Landon Donovan created a corner kick, and as Bobby Convey lined up the corner, bottles were flying at his feet. The fans were throwing bottles at the home player lining up for a crucial kick! And it also featured possibly Dave O'Brien's finest piece of play-by-play work (which wouldn't be hard, God Bless Him. The guy has clearly learned to love the game, but he still knows dick about the sport--surrounding him with Wynalda and Arena is a great start. Getting Arena into a speech therapist is the next step. I digress). O'Brien, as the bottles are falling around Convey's feet says, "And fans are throwing bottles of water at Convey. At least, I hope they are water." Which was a very nice way of acknowledging that when the US shows up in places like Guatemala, the fans have a tendency to throw ziploc bags full of urine. This was a Friendly Home Game!
But clearly, not really. Mexico brought back such famous douchebags as Blanco and Borghetti, and even Barcelona badass Rafa Marquez. The biggest name in the US lineup? Ooh, take your pick--Tim Howard? Umm, Clint "Deuce" Dempsey? More than likely, it was Landon "I only make bold runs in meaningless games" Donovan.
Jimmy Conrad scored for the US first; a header off a corner kick in which I don't think his feet actually left the ground. Mexico's marking for that corner was sketchy at best. Some of you may be wondering, "Is Jimmy Conrad the future of American Soccer?"
The answer is: No. He's 30 years old. And he's a defender. Do not look to Jimmy Conrad for hope, US Soccer Fans. If he's the answer, the question should have been asked about 8 years ago.
Landon scored in the 90th minute with a run that was sparked by an errant Mexican pass that hit the referee. All evidence in this game suggests that the referee would have done anything to get out of the way of that pass (his 12th minute Yellow Card of Bornstein; his 44th minute Yellow Card of Bocanegra, which were barely even fouls, much less Yellows; his very active reprimands of US players, etc). Regardless, a player for Mexico sent a laser of a ball off the leg of the referee, which was collected by Ricardo Clark, and sent into Landon Donovan, who had about 40 yards to run to goal, and two defenders to beat. And he beat them both, and just sped past the hapless netminder Oswaldo Sanchez. As commenter "L" said in my preview post--Where was that attacking flair in Germany?
Regardless, a win for the US, using a lot of young players, and a goalie with Tourette's. Tim Howard played superbly in the nets for the US, though he was not challenged a whole lot until the last 10 minutes, but he made 2 or 3 great saves to solidify the win. The Mexicans haven't scored on US soil in about 5 years. And considering that Americans hate jobs that Mexicans love, and Americans dislike soccer, and that American soccer players dislike scoring goals, that is saying something.
Clint Dempsey played in this game for almost 70 minutes, and I haven't mentioned him once. Remember that when you discuss the concept that he is the future of American Soccer. A defense that couldn't mark Jimmy fucking Conrad on a corner kick shut down Clint Dempsey.
What up, Deuce? It should be noted that star of the last game, Justin Mapp, didn't get a sniff for the US this game.
It should also be noted that current interim Head Coach of the US Soccer Team, Bob Bradley, has some interesting bloodlines. I don't think he is 100% Human. If I had to guess, I'd say some great-great grandfather or mother was a Reptile. I'm telling you, he heats his body on a sunny rock! For a small fee, he'll take care of your mouse problem. Cross him, and he'll hypnotize your ass.
Correction: I said Convey's corner kick was at the end of the second half. That was stupid. It was at the end of the first half. The correction has been made.
I really like Mexico and Mexicans but every time I watch the goddamned El Tri, I hate the whole country. So, if Mexico is your favorite team, this blog has an apropos title.
Anyway, how about that sportsmanship from Mexico? No handshakes, no jersey exchange. Eff you, too.
The U.S. was actually fairly lucky, I think, to have come away with a victory. They created only a few chances, but they did capitalize which says something. Mexico, though, pushed the attack the whole second half and several quality chances. The US defense was scrambling the whole night to get back. (Thanks very much Chris Albright.) If they had anybody that could finish better than Sheva in current form, they could have easily tied this match.
I would like to chair an exploratory committee to investigate the feasibility of building a sparkling new soccer-only facility in El Paso/Juarez simply to host US-Mexico friendlies.
Of course, said stadium would straddle the Rio Grande. One half in El P and one half in Juarez. Fans could only sit on the side of the nation they were supporting, and chain link fences would divide all the concourses.
This would result in a situation very similar to my favorite scene from Colors where the Bloods and Crips are inexplicably kept in the same general cell block separated only by a set of bars. What could go wrong?
Only potential problem I see is that beer prices would be significantly cheaper on the Mexican side.
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