Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
USA-Mexico: Tri is flawed favorite
February 5th, 2008 6:45AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Mike Woitalla reports from Houston
In the FIFA World Ranking, Mexico is 15th and the USA trails at No. 20. El Tri's corps of European-based players includes two Barcelona players and two who won titles last season in the Netherlands and Germany. The majority of the crowd in Houston on Wednesday will be Mexico supporters. So why will it be foolish to bet on Mexico when it faces the USA (TV; ESPN2 and Univision, live, 9 pm ET)?

For however impressive and celebrated the migration of U.S. players to European clubs has been, Mexican players have lately been more successful abroad.

Rafael Marquez often marshals the central defense (or more recently plays in front of the backline) for Barcelona in Spain's La Liga, the world's best league top to bottom. Marquez has won two La Liga titles and a Champions League crown. Last Sunday, Barcelona earned a crucial 1-0 win over Osasuna on a Xavi goal set up by some clever moves from 18-year-old Mexican Giovani dos Santos. Starting for Osasuna was another Mexican teen, Carlos Vela.

Defensive midfielder Pavel Pardo helped VfB Stuttgart win last season's German Bundesliga crown. (His Stuttgart teammate Ricardo Osorio isn't in the squad for the Houston game.) Outside back Carlos Salcido helped PSV Eindhoven win the Dutch title last season, and it currently enjoys a commanding league lead this season.

Americans Michael Bradley in the Netherlands, Oguchi Onyewu in Belgium and Tim Howard in England are near the top of the standings with their clubs. But Mexican players in the recent past have impressed more that the U.S. players abroad.

Giovani, for example, sees Champions League time for Barcelona, while Freddy Adu can't get a start in the Portuguese league and Benny Feilhaber sits on the bench at Derby.

But often in the past, Americans who were struggling abroad -- for example, Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Lewis at the 2002 World Cup -- shone when they returned to the comfort of their national team.

For sure, one of the most intriguing aspects of Wednesday's game is that it can provide an opportunity to compare American youngsters Bradley, Adu and Jozy Altidore to Vela and Giovanni.

Both teams' squads have roughly the same proportion of domestic and foreign-based players. On that front, the edge would seem to be Mexico's, because the Mexican League is underway while MLS is in its offseason.

If one relies on France Football's 2007 ranking of CONCACAF teams, favorite status goes to the USA. France Football's annual classifications, ranked by Soccer America's Paul Kennedy since 1991, rely more heavily head-to-head results -- a 2-0 friendly victory one year ago and a 2-1 win in the Gold Cup final last summer -- than the FIFA World Ranking. It marked the fifth time in the last eight years the USA was ranked No. 1 in CONCACAF.

That Mexico rated ahead of the USA in the FIFA rankings is due to its Copa America performance in Venezuela.

The USA at the Copa America, without key regulars, lost all three games, to (Argentina, 4-1), Paraguay (3-1) and Colombia (1-0).

Mexico notched victories over eventual title winner Brazil (2-0), Ecuador (2-1) and Paraguay (6-0), and tied Chile (0-0) before falling to Argentina (3-0) in the semis. It beat Uruguay, 3-1, in third-place game.

But for all the reasons why Mexico should feel confident when it hits the field at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday there remains the fact that El Tri has forgotten how to win in the USA against the Americans.

No doubt, games in the USA are home matches for El Tri, which in 2007 played more games (11) north of the border than in its own country (4). Yet in the last nine clashes when the USA hosted since 2000, the USA has won eight and tied once.

Instead of being boosted by the Mexican-American fan support, Mexico's players seem to fold under the pressure. That makes the USA, a team that must cope with feeling like visitors in their own country, the favorite.

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"We have watched Jordan through our youth national teams and in the Development Academy for the ...
Possible Jones debut and RFK rumble on tap    
[MLS: Three Games to Watch] The possible debut of USA midfielder Jermaine Jones in a New ...
Brooks headed back to Bayern Munich    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Portland Thorns FC today announced that the club has loaned midfielder Amber Brooks is ...
Concacaf Champions League scoreboard    
[WEEK 3: Wednesday] Wins by Waterhouse, Alajuelense and Olimpia on Thursday gave all three clubs in ...
Slim pickings for Klinsmann in Europe these days    
[USA MEN] In a game that is designed to be a test for his European-based players, ...
San Antonio looks to impose its will    
[NASL: Fall Week 8] The San Antonio Scorpions will look to increase their lead over the ...
A superb nutmeg by Christoph Kramer     
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] The last time you saw Christoph Kramer was probably during the ...
Eagles-Hounds match has huge playoff implications    
[USL PRO: Week 24] Four teams are secure with playoff berths and the home-field advantage in ...
Cech and Rosicky are Czech holdovers from 2006 win    
[CZECH REPUBLIC-USA] The Czech Republic roster for Wednesday's game against the USA in Prague includes Chelsea ...
Tab Ramos: U.S. Soccer values Hugo Perez     
[U.S. SOCCER] Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer's Youth Technical Director, said that the Federation's decision to end ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives