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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Final Thoughts: USA 1 Mexico 2

            On Wednesday, the United States lost 2-1 to Mexico at Estadio Azteca, making them 0-23-1 on Mexican soil.  Many had thought this was the time for the Americans to reverse their trends south of the border, but ultimately, the result was no different from past circumstances.  Up early thanks to an eighth minute Charlie Davies brace, the United States were not able to hold on, giving up goals on either side of halftime to once again leave Mexico City in defeat.

            Although getting off to a promising start, the Americans put forth a lackluster performance, clearly struggling with the high altitude of the Azteca.  They were dominated in terms of possession and managed four shots, only one of which was on goal.  Their offense lacked creativity, if any presence at all, and behind the ball, the American squad was maimed with gaping holes, allowing the Mexicans too much time to work in the midfield.  For individual critiques, see the below post, but overall, the performance by the United States was poor.

            The American display on the field, however, was not the most disappointing aspect of the match.  Terrible refereeing, classless Mexicans, and an abnormally high altitude tainted the latest chapter of this storied rivalry, and as a result, the United States leave Mexico feeling quite hard-done-by.  It is a shame in both football and in any sport should outside influence on the game be greater than that of the competitors, as happened Wednesday evening.

            First and foremost, referee Roberto Moreno was a disgrace.  The Panamanian had no control of the game and as Tim Howard put it, “It makes [the game] a lot harder when the most intimidated person in the stadium is the referee.” 

            Moreno was clearly influenced by the banter of 100,000-plus El Tri supporters.  He not only unjustly cautioned American players multiple times, but failed to reprimand Mexican individuals for even harsher fouls.  Carlos Bocanegra picked up an undeserved yellow for an all-ball tackle in the first half, and while Benny Feilhaber was carded for protecting an under-attack Charlie Davies, Neri Castillo received no punishment for twice striking an American player and later on, time wasting.  Even worse, Moreno at times awarded Mexico free kicks for fouls they had committed against the US.  This is absolutely unacceptable from a referee.

            While Moreno’s mistakes are almost unforgiveable, it is clearly evident that behavior in the Azteca stands is not just influential, but threatening, too.  Only in Mexico would spectators’ boos drown out the American national anthem.  And only in Mexico would fans be as vulgar as to throw vomit-filled beer cups at a player on the field.  (Landon Donovan was pelted with various items as he awaited to take a second half corner kick.)  Ultimately, the Mexican fans are absolutely classless.

            And while the deafening screams of El Tri supporters were able to withstand the extreme altitude of Estadio Azteca, the United States lungs were not.  American players looked abnormally unfit and lackadaisical throughout the entire match.  By competing in the sweltering afternoon heat of Mexico City at 7,400 feet above sea level, conditions new to the United States and familiar to the Mexicans, El Tri experience, as former national team coach Bruce Arena put it, “One of the most lopsided home-field advantages in the world.”

            Overall, every aspect of the Azteca match was disgusting: poor play, poor gamesmanship, poor refereeing, etc.  In the end, the Mexicans come out on top and are obviously quite happy with the win.  Realistically, however, the result is deceiving, for El Tri will rarely have the comfort of the Azteca on the international stage.  Now, Bob Bradley admitted the final tally to be a “fair score,” but certainly feels bitter, and rightly so, because in typical fashion, the Mexicans have stolen another result.


  1. I also was very upset with the referee. When two Mexican players surround Charlie Davies for cramping up, then one of them hits Feilhaber in the neck, it should probably produce a card. Not to mention after Mexico took the lead, one of their players started to cramp up, but did you see any American player smarm over and get in his face. Will, you hit the nail on the head, Mexican Soccer is indeed classless.

  2. For God's sake, what did you expect when Donovan and Alexis Lalas publicly and repeatedly say they hate Mexico and the Mexicans, repeatedly on ESPN and other media, all of which has been profusely reported in Mexico.

    Also, Donovan, when playing with the olympic team some three years ago at Guadalajara, pissed on the pitch of Estadio Jalisco in front of all media correspondants, which was an insult of monumental proportions.

    Regardinf the referee, check on you tube the American criminal fouls, which everywhere deserved yellow cards.

    His only biased was nor to expel Castillo, who acted as an inmature school bully, but Moreno also did not expel a brutal foul by an American defender who already had a yellow card.

    USA style is Catenaccio without the Italian skills.

    If you play to draw, you are going to lose.

    Also remember thaT WHEN WE PLAY THERE, YOU TAKE US TO 15 c below at Columbus, so please don't be sore losers, you have up at the 9th minute, and you paid for it.

    Also your coach was outsmarted by Aguiire.

    See you next time

  3. 1. Alexi Lalas is a complete idiot and anyone who seriously listens to his opinions needs their head examined. As for Landon Donovan's hatred toward Mexico, maybe it has to do with one Mexican player telling him he would find his mother and kill her during one of the previous encounters. Trash talking is one thing, but threating to kill a member of his family is crossing the line and Landon's disgruntled feelings seem somewhat reasonable. As far as his urination incident, he claimed nobody told him it was sacred or an insult to Mexico or whatever the problem was. The Mexican media blew it up to be such a big deal and consequentially caused for such an outburst from Mexican supporters.

    2. I would hardly call any of the fouls in that game "criminal", and if you watched the whole game instead of a 5 minute clip on YouTube, you could see the offenses made by Mexican players were unpunished while the same exact challenges from the American players were yellow carded. I'm not arguing the reasoning in which the yellow cards were given, but I am arguing the referee's lack of consistancy to disipline both teams equally.

    3. We take you to Columbus because when we play in Giant Stadium in New York, 50,000/70,000 in the stadium are Mexican supporters. Anywhere in Texas or California would result in a similar pattern. Also, I doubt the Mexican players on the field fear for their safety when playing anywhere in America. Last time I watched U.S.A vs. Mexico in America, I did not see multiple projectiles being throw at the Mexican player taking a corner kick.

  4. 1.- Alexis Lalas was one of the bastions for the US in yesteryear, and if he is givin prime time at MSM is because many people in the networks think he is not an idiot, so I think they outweight you, as for the insult to Donovan´s mother, I don't know the truth of that, but that does not exclude Donovan from his open media insults, which by the way were made in Spanish--also Lalas speaks fluent Spanish so not so much of an idiot.

    2.- Maybe manners are different in the US, but imagine hosting a social event, say a wedding or other party, and while the reception in the front lawn one of the guests opens his fly and urinates before everybody, Could you say that that guest should have been warned not to do so beforehand? I think to think so is really crazy. It had to have been deliberate, otherwise it doesn't make sense.

    The media just did their job selling news, so it is hard to defend the position that it was not an insult, just as in our example above.

    3.- Regarding watching the game, I did in my family's box at Azteca, with a wide screen in front of me, as I have watched two World Cups there, and all WCQ matches, including those with the US, and I can say without a doubt, that it was not until Donovan's attitude that the fans started getting so roudy, in yesteryear everybody kept silence on the US anthem, and nobody threw empty bottles.

    It is called "blow back" as Rep. Ron Paul calls it, you cannot expect to insult and attack people, and not expect a reaction, it's called Karma, or as Newton put it in his Physics Laws "To every action, corresponds a reaction of equal strengh, but opposite direction".

    Even when Costa Rica and Honduras come to play everybody respects their symbols.

    4.- On your last point think what would have happended if the media in the US had reported a Cuauhtemoc Blanco pissing in Lincoln´s Memorial, and going prime time saying he hated Americans, I think the reaction of the US fans would be different.

    As for the yellow cards, I again suggest you do your homework and see just how "criminal" were the fouls against Giovanni and others, as there was not a single ecquivalent foul from the Mexican side, and pulling somebody making time intentionally by the shirt or neck didn't put at risk that player's well being, although I concede that Castillo´s attitude should have merited a yellow, or even a red card.