Thursday, February 7, 2008

US/Mexico recap and the future

So there were seventy thousand, one hundred and three people at Reliant Stadium last night and Playtherapy, Mister3d and I were the three. After the game, as we were walking to the car, I turned to Mr3d and said, "You know, even though I know the focus is on all the analysis and the who did what when and how well stuff, one thing about tonight was, Man, that was fun!"

And it really was. It was the first live action I've seen since Dynamo's 2-0 win over Wizards in the Western Conference Final, and what a time we had. Here are some random memories:

LONG LIVE THE SNAKES We were lamenting the absence of a good nickname for the US team. The Three Lions, les Blues, Azzurri, El Tri, these are great, great nicknames and US has nothing. But thank you to Nike for the new Don't Tread on Me commercial. We're going to start calling the US team, The Snakes! I am completely down with that name and the logo.

DEUCE'S TRAIN GANG The chants of "3-2! 3-2! 3-2!" on the train after the game. What a horrible, horrible call on Dempsey. Offsides had nothing to do with that play. We were right behind that goal watching Clint turn on his defender, go left, two steps, then a rocket of a shot. If that's offsides, then I'm Pavel Pardo's abuelita. That was definitely NOT the Clint Dempsey that showed up in MLS Cup 2006, and a good thing for Dynamo that. Geez mareez, if Deuce was still with the Revs in '07, how would they have ever lost a game? (And when was the last time you had a guy with the nickname of "Deuce" not have No. 2 on his jersey? Obscure is the new cool.)

Playtherapy had the theory, which I'll let him explain in his own post, that the 2-2 (official) result nullifies the jinx Mexico has had against us. I see it differently. Above and beyond what the score should have been, over the last 10 games on US soil, the Snakes (see how I'm already working the nickname into the post) are 8-0-2 against El Tri. That "0" has not changed after yesterday and Mexico is one badly-officiated call away from it being 9-0-1. In any way that the jinx is real (whether it is or not is subject to a debate elsewhere), the continued presence of that "0" makes it continue to be real. In any draw, both sides can lament lost chances and near misses, but with the way Mexico simply carved us up in the midfield in the second half last night (more on that below), I'll take the draw. You can even say they dominated the midfield in both games of 2007 as well, so what exactly has changed? When it comes to results, the US is dominating this rivalry north of the border and nothing that happened last night alters that in any way just yet.

VERY VERDE The sea of green in the stands. This photo doesn't really do it justice, but it was a sight to behold (and if you verrry closely behind the right side goal there, you might just see the three of us!) I've heard tell of the "Sea of Red" at University of Nebraska football games and other places like that, but that was a remarkable display of green in the stands. And on the two Mexico goals, that was some kind of noise, intense and loud! Wow.

All three of us were really doubting early on whether or not Jozy Altidore belonged on the team after he was getting abused, it looked like. Then he scored and shut us up. JO-ZY! JO-ZY! JO-ZY! Alright already. Altidore is clearly the real deal, and the fact that he's only a teenager still is just wicked scary. Forget Freddy Adu, who we thought played OK when he came in. An up top pairing of Dempsey and Altidore might just be the thing that gets us beyond the group stages in South Africa. You almost certainly didn't read that here first, but I can almost guarantee it won't be the last.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION We were sitting with Sam's Army, which means we were behind the goal that saw four of the five goals. (I'm counting Dempsey's. No doubt about it.) Worth every penny.

THE ABUSED Speaking of getting abused, if Bobby Convey and Eddie Lewis never play another game for the US, that is perfectly alright with me. Talk about non-factors. They were terrible. There was one particular sequence where Ramiro Corrales and Convey were trading little back and forth passes deep in Mexican territory in the first half, twice Convey was free to deliver a cross. The first time he sent it back to Corrales in traffic. The second time, he just lost it. Someone, please, step up and replace these guys on the wing.

NO MO MOOR Speaking of never playing another US game, I'm talking about you Drew Moor. It was Moor's poor marking on Jonny Magallon (Jonny Magallon!!!!) that led to both of Mexico's goals. Now, he made up for the first screw-up for assisting on Altidore's header. But one shiny penny in the sea of poop that was his night does not a continued presence on the first team make. Typical FC Dallas. I can't wait until April 6 here at Robertson Stadium so I can abuse him personally. I will always cherish the look on his face last November when he got sent off 2 minutes before the end of Dynamo's crushing of the candystripers. And one reason I'll remember it was it was the exact same look he had after screwing up on marking Magallon twice. Seeing the Mexican attack focusing on Moor sent shills down my spine for the entire second half. At least three times, Onyewu and Bocanegra bailed him out. (And you will note I am not posting a picture of him here because I now shun his very presence.)

OUT OF TUNE BUT OK All three of us were singing the national anthem loudly before the game and we even remembered the words. We were remarking on how it was the first time we had done THAT in a long while, but if you're not going to sing it at that game, then when?

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