It’s not often you hear that an American sports team has never beaten an opponent. In fact, the USA is usually on the other end of a lopsided recorded. However, today marks the 24th time the United States national soccer team will travel to Mexico for a match. In the 23 times previous the US has earned 1 tie, suffered 22 loses, and most astonishingly has 0 wins. As if that stat isn’t staggering enough, think about the fact that in all the matches and years the US has played in Mexico they have totaled 1 goal. No, that is not a misprint, Eddie Lewis’ goal is the only time the ball has went in the Americans net in Azteca. Even in a sport where Americans seem always to be a step behind everyone else, it seems like at least once in the last 25 years the US would have gotten lucky and stole one; but no.
This time, however, the US teams goes in with something lost the previous time, swag. Coming off impressive showings against Spain and Brazil, compiled with the steady downturn of Mexican soccer, US soccer players are chomping at the bit to get back into Azteca stadium. Even players aren’t hesitant to say this. In an attempt to get United States soccer back on the map, players are motivated by this opportunity to show the world what they are made of. A win today in Mexico could possibly make the US a significant threat in the upcoming world cup instead of just a blip on the radar.
One thing you can be sure of is that there will be no shortage of bad blood on the field today. In a rivalry that has to challenge Ohio State – Michigan, Duke – North Carolina, and Lakers – Celtics, this game takes its own place on the map. While other rivalries take only a short trip down Tobacco road, the US is forced to travel to literally “foreign territory” for this game. Don’t think these teams hate each other? Ask Alexi Lalas how is groin feels after taking a knee from a Mexican player in 1997. Or take a look at Brian Mcbrides scar below his left eye after receiving elbow after elbow during the 98 world cup.
Certainly though, this is the only true “rivalry” at which one team truly has home field advantage. The 105,000 capacity Azteca stadium will see not a single US jersey in the crowd today. And I highly doubt that even with a strong performance by the US today the Mexican fans will pull a Rocky vs Ivan Dragoand start cheering for the underdog. Even if the US win today the record will still stand at a lowly 1-22-1, but US soccer can leave with respect which is way bigger then any goal could ever be.
My prediction a 3-1 win by US.
Final thoughts: For my response to the initial title to my post, in a word, No. The US just cant do it. In a hard fought game the US went down in the final minutes letting an unmarked man score from just inside the 6 yard box. Truthfully the US should have lost this game, however, again a lapse in defense causes a goal that should have never happened.
Probably the fastest man on the field, Landon Donovan, was nearly invisible the entire game. The leader and captain of the team HAS to be more involved if the team has any hopes of making noise in the World Cup. First things first, to watch the Mexican midfield blow by the US defense, including Donovan, numerous times is a clear cut reminder why very few US players play at the top level (meaning over seas and/or in the premier league).
Finally, as stated in my first post I thought the US, as well as being a better team, could ride the momentum of recent victories into Mexico and bring home a win. Clearly momentum is nothing compared to the home field advantage that is the 105,000 people of Azteca stadium (including the referees of course). This was none more evident then the last corner kick attempt for the US as Donovan is getting pelted by Coke bottles while trying to take the kick. Moving forward, the US is still in good position to qualify for the World Cup and do some damage as well. Take what you can from this game, move on, and come out strong on Saturday.
Also, nice call on the 2 – 1 score Danimal.
Thanks for all the comments guys! Whether you agree with me or not it’s great to see there are fans out there. Keep up to date on my page to post new comments or read new blogs for the day.