Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Pre-match thoughts and predictions on U.S./Mexico

The Internet (or at least the US Soccer blogosphere sectors of same) is awash regarding prospective lineups for tomorrow night, youth vs. experience, the US/Mexico rivalry, etc. etc. And to add to all of that here would seem to be folly of the highest and blogoincestuous (my new word) order. (One notable exception is Bernardo Fallas' blog at the Chronicle, whose latest entry here is chock full of US MNT camp notes, a mini interview with (prospective Dynamo?) Ramiro Corrales and the above video.) So let's just skip to the chase here and offer predictions on the result.

Personally, records like 8-0-1 in the past 9 meetings on US soil for the US team just serve to make me nervous, or at least as nervous as the numbers "19-0" should have made any Patriots fan before Sunday. (And during that game, I have to admit to a certain satisfaction to seeing Robert Kraft have the exact same look on his face in that owner's box as he did at RFK in November. Personally, I have no great antipathy for the Revs and really enjoy some Rev-oriented blogs like Jimmy Chowda et al.'s Blue Blooded Journo, but seeing Kraft squirm brought up wonderful memories of November and had me looking for Dwayne De Rosario on the screen rather than Eli Manning.)

OK, enough tangentials, so let's get down to cases. My prediction is a 1-0 U.S. win. I honestly think that losing Andres Guardado is going to be a big deal for the Mexicans and El Tri, and Hugo Sanchez in particular, have shown me nothing to make me think that they are not as spooked by us as they have always been this decade.

And the spook factor is, I believe, the key. When they spend the prematch interviews talking about how annoying Landon Donovan is to them (hey, join the club pal) and how the US dominance is entirely due to us playing the games here in the US, how Argentina and Brazil are their yardsticks and how they are still the top team in CONCACAF despite them not winning a single CONCACAF anything in how long has it been again, it's clear they are already thinking about losing again. We are in their domes as surely as the Giants were in Tom Brady's on Sunday, and that, my friends, is death on the pitch.

That being said, El Tri are a damn good team made up of a wonderful series of playmakers and futbol artistes. I respect them utterly, and I believe that the US team does as well, even and especially Donovan. And that, I think, is what gives the US an advantage.

So my pick is 1-0 US and the goal will be scored by Nacogdoches' own Clint "Deuce" Dempsey and assisted by Landon Donovan. Below is, of course, what happened the last time the Mexicans took the US team lightly.

And then there was Chicago:

1 comment:

shane said...

Hey, good blog! I think the U.S. is finally going to lose tonight on home soil to El Tri. Mexico is fielding a very strong side, will have the edge in fan support (nothing new there), and will have just that extra little bit of motivation that comes from not being able to overcome your neighbors and rivals to the north on their grounds in seemingly forever. I hope the US is equally motivated and Bradley has the troops fired up to get a result, but my gut tells me it will be 2-0 to Mexico. I hope I'm wrong!