Gold Cup Campeones: Can We Play Mexico Every Day?

Knowing this is just one more stick of kindling on a bonfire of reports, commentary, rants, and celebration, I’ll (try to) keep this short - and bulleted.

- Dude, can we play Mexico every single day? They’re like the mechanical rabbit to our greyhound. Maybe it’s the green shirts; maybe we should ask all visiting teams to wear green. I don’t know. What I do know is we actually looked like the best team in the region yesterday.

- That quality went down to the micro-level: our guys played faster, smarter, and more crisply than we had in any game to this point. Whether it was a quick lateral pass by our players to get the ball out of danger and ready to head upfield at the half line, or that delightful string of quick passes at the top of the Mexican area that ended with, an admittedly feeble, shot on goal by Landon Donovan. We looked good in nearly every phase of the game to the extent that the exceptions showed as the merest of blemishes.

- Don’t get me wrong, though: winning was the important thing and I would have taken the crookedest of wins so long as things broke our way.

- Turning again to Donovan, c’mon and admit it: when he stepped up to take that PK, all y’all were waiting for a soft shot up the middle and an Oswaldo Sanchez save/shit-eating grin. So, here’s to Landon: way to step up, son.

- My man/men of the match (I have to go with two): Brian Ching and Carlos Bocanegra. The former left Mexican defenders in fits on two occasions with that spin while the latter contributed more timely interventions than any player on the field.

- And, yes, Benny Feilhaber’s goal was simply gorgeous...all the more so seeing as he missed his share of similar/easier shots in previous games.

- A special note to Jonathan Bornstein: all is forgiven; you had me at that shot on goal.

- Both 'keepers had sensational games. Sanchez kept the Mexicans alive more than once in the first half, while Tim Howard's late save on Bofo Bautista just settled onto the memory shelf of great U.S. Men's moments; it's right next to the winner Tab Ramos scored against Costa Rica way back when.

- All in all, we did remarkably well on both sides of the ball: Mexico had their chances, but we kept them down to a few (and Tim Howard mopped up the ones we let in); I’m still recovering from the shock of seeing us take the game to the Mexicans with a combination of grit, athleticism, and intelligence...it’s that last one that’s both big and not a little unusual.

- I haven’t read anything about how the Mexicans viewed the game, but can’t think of any grounds they have to complain. We done good and just beat ‘em.

Apart from noting my nearly-delirious happiness with the win, I’ll close with a couple questions (and, please, do weigh in):

1) Should the team we fielded stand as the U.S. starting eleven for the foreseeable future (allowing an exception here or there)?

2) Anyone think Hugo Sanchez might be looking for work any time soon? If not now, what would it take to lose him the job?

3) To make a bold statement: Clint Dempsey is our best field player. Anyone agree or disagree?

OK, that’s all I’ve got on this one. Can’t wait to read the gloating, moaning, general impressions that everyone else had.

(#########)

1 comment:

Mark in NRH said...

Answers:
1) Heck yes -- well the 2nd half anyway. Mastro holds us back now. He may be good coming off the bench with 20 minutes left to preserve a lead as his energy is very good, but he's not a smart player and age is catching up. I still think that Ching + Dempsey is the answer up top (until some young 17-year-old for RBNY grows up).

2) No -- unless USMNT advances to knock-out stage of Copa America and Mex goes 0-3 with a much stronger squad.

3) No. And I don't think Bradley thinks so either. You don't consistently sub out your best player for Taylor Twellman by the 65th minute.

Great game and really wish that Ching and Beasley would have netted their open shots. 4-1 would have sounded so much sweeter.