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USA-Mexico, the verdict
by Paul Kennedy, August 12th, 2011 3:31AM

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TAGS:  fifa, men's national team, mexico, soccer business, television


[WINNERS & LOSERS] Jurgen Klinsmann's first game in charge ended in a 1-1 draw, but they were plenty of winners and losers to go around on a day in Philadelphia that saw the USA and Mexico renew their fierce rivalry and MLS announce an historic television deal.

WINNERS

JURGEN KLINSMANN. For about 60 minutes or so, it didn't look good for the new U.S. coach, but the pitiful start followed by a strong finish gave Klinsmann the best of both worlds. The slow beginning allows him to start his team out at a very low baseline -- any improvement is progress -- but the positive ending meant Klinsmann and his players could go home all smiles.

LANDON DONOVAN. Perhaps no player other than Michael Bradley had more to prove in Klinsmann's first game in charge than Donovan, who was coming a rather disappointing Gold Cup -- remember he started on the bench for two games. Donovan justified the confidence Klinsmann has in him -- he him on loan to Bayern three winters ago -- with an excellent game -- once he was moved into the middle.

MLS. Despite it being a single midweek fixture date and most foreign leagues just starting, Klinsmann's initial roster included only seven MLS players in a squad of 22, but three MLS players created the tying goal: Juan Agudelo to Brek Shea to Robbie Rogers -- who wasn't even on the original roster -- for the tap-in. It's the kind of lift Klinsmann needs to get from MLS -- and it needs to get from the national team. Now let's see how long the league can keep players like Agudelo and Shea ...
 
FIFA. FIFA has to be liking the news that NBC has partnered with MLS on a TV deal. It gives FIFA two major broadcasting companies committed to U.S. soccer in a big way -- two major broadcasting companies who will hopefully jack up the rights fees when they get around to bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. With the timing of the MLS contracts with NBC and ESPN to end at the same time in 2014, it also gives MLS and FIFA leverage again to commingle their media rights and get the best deal for both of them.

LOSERS

MEXICO. The Tri came to Philadelphia and left as the Gold Cup champion, so it still has that over the USA, but given its recent form against the USA -- a three-game winning streak for the first time in 12 years and and almost total domination in the last two Gold Cup finals -- you would have expected more out of Mexico, even if it didn't have Javier Hernandez. The last 30 minutes debunked the notion that Mexico has moved into another class. It may come to regret that in two years when the USA and Mexico meet in the Hexagonal.

JERMAINE JONES. If the Klinsmann era is to be about creating and not destroying, then Jones' (short) run on the national team is nearing its end. The one German in the lineup should have delighted playing for his countryman, but of the veterans no one played as poorly as Jones did. He should take Klinsmann's praise of other holding midfielder, Kyle Beckerman, that his coach wasn't happy with his performance.

EDGAR CASTILLO. The only player on the field to have played for both the USA and Mexico, Castillo had waited a long time to get a second chance with the USA. Unfortunately, his performance was universally panned by the media with ratings in the 2 and 3 range. Fortunately for Castillo, recent performances by other U.S. left backs against Mexico haven't been any better -- Jonathan Bornstein in the 2011 Gold Cup final and Heath Pearce two years earlier. And give the New Mexican credit. Luck was on his side. Nothing happened on the corner kick that ensued after the ball bounced off his head out of nowhere and over the end line. And after he ruined a nice U.S. exchange of short passes with an errant pass, Mexico goalie Guillermo Ochoa turned around and hoofed the ball into touch, where Castillo's quick throw-in started the play that led to the U.S equalizer.

ESPN. USA-Mexico preempted for a Little league game -- not the World Series from Williamsport but a regional semifinal, no less? When it was already 8:30 p.m. ET, and New Tampa was still batting around in the top of the 4th inning of its game against Mobile, Ala., you knew trouble was brewing. There is precedence to ESPN's decision to stick with the Little League game and move the start of the USA-Mexico game. When faced with back-to-back live events, ESPN almost always sticks with the game nearing its conclusion and moves the game just starting to another network. Just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. USA-Mexico is moving into stoppage time, and the Florida-Alabama Little Leaguers are just getting underway. Switching from a live event in midstream is rarely done. (The run-over was a shame because it took away from heavy-duty coverage of the game with Bob Ley brought in to lead the on-site studio show and Jorge Ramos added to give the coverage a Mexican perspective.)



34 comments
  1. Rudy Espindola
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.
    Mexico a loser because didn't defeat USA? .... OK Paul. ...Mexico is not at a different level? According to JK Mexico is # 10 in the world. ...Mexico is a loser because didn't beat USA for the 3rd. Time in a row?.. ...are you serious Paul? Let me explain something to you: After 10 substitutions among both teams the game turned in to a street informal "cascarita" match, and friendly games are used to tryout new players. I applaud the desire and the intensity of the US to tie the game, that's typical german soccer phylosophy, and think that the game was beneficial for everybody. Mr. Paul the political stage is waiting on people like you, mind to join the candidates? ? Have a nice day!

  1. Joe Hosack
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
    Michael Fiscal Orozco - Big winner! We miss you man. From Phila PA.

  1. Gary Wien
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.
    Rudy, While it was a friendly, international friendlies against your main rival are something a little different than a regular friendly. The main point about Mexico not being in a different class than USA is because Mexico totally outplayed the US in the Gold Cup final; yet, that was not seen here at all. I agree with the statement that they were among the losers simply because the Final had people believing we were entering an era when Mexico would dominate the US. Despite having what I would call a "golden era", Mexico did not dominate at all. In fact, they really hung on for dear life in the final 15...

  1. Karl Schreiber
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 9:31 a.m.
    Re. ESPN: Since they did a great job for the WWC, I forgave them for finishing the kids baseball game, especially since I knew from S.A. the game was being shown on Univision as well. Before I switched, I saw the note on the bottom of the screen about ESPN3.com and Univision coverage. ESPN should instruct their announcers to also verbally apologize for the overlap and to point out the options. Likewise, Univision should announce when the game comes on at ESPN2. Is this asking too much? Re. the game: Why was it set up so soon after the Gold Cup and for what reason? Why was it in Philadelphia with a half-empty stadium? Could we seriously have anticipated anything but a mediocre game? The expected Klinsmann effect takes MUCH longer than a week.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 9:37 a.m.
    Paul: stop drinking from the same cup as Ridge. How does one bad game define a player? J. Jones has a lack luster game and his career with the USMNT is over? You are a pathetic judge of talent and horrible at analysing. Soccer Americaw would do much better by replacing both your old, crusty, no talent rears with younger guys who know the game. Beckerman may have made his presence known in the middle with a few stops but he also gave the ball away numerous times. Jones did not do that. Jones had a quiet game not a terrible game. Here is my biggest case for Jones. European leage coaches think he's worth starting while NO ONE from Europe think Beckerman is worth a roster spot. It was the first game for Klinsmanns system and a couple players have bad games and Paul says their USMNT careers should be over? Glad you are not a coach or have any clout with the sport.

  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
    "Donovan justified the confidence Klinsmann has in him -- he him on loan to Bayern three winters ago -- with an excellent game -- once he was moved into the middle." Doesn't Soccer America employ ANYBODY who can proofread? Usually I can figure out which words are left out or mis-spelled, but this one stumps me. ANY verb will fit in that sentence.

  1. raul estrada
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
    Mexico loser....ummm I have to disagree.. mexico really had nothing to prove, they came with some desent players and to kick the ball around and make some money. Now the US had lots to prove, they were spanked in the last two gold cups, they have a new coach, and they were playing in their home turf. Edgard Castillo had desent game, more of a technical player that came out playing and touched some great ball. ESPN- now they just suck, they don't take soccer seriously.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
    Jorge Ramos is a breath of fresh air behind the mike, he speaks about what he sees; unlike, Harkes who blows meaningless smoke through the airwaves.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
    I really appreciated the commentary of Jorge Ramos. I hope ESPN brings this guy back. He is knowledgeable and forthright in his opinions. I thought Fiscal was a winner too. He played solid in the back. I would like to see more of Castillo. He may not be the answer at left back, but I think he needs more opportunities. I also would like to see more of Torres. He shows some promise. Jermaine Jones has not played well lately for the US. But I also don't understand playing him alongside Beckerman and Bradley. All three of those guys are defensive midfielders. I think one on the field at a time is enough.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.
    Paul, you suck. Castillo, whether you like it or not is the best at that position right now and he did not swerve the low rating given by you're colleague who also sucks, Ridge. Mexico a loser in a home game for USA in a tie? Do you know how much home field advantage matters in soccer, especially in international games? We played in Philadelphia where this time it looked like there were many USA fans. Only 20,000 showed up by the way for a lot of empty seats. I gaurantee you thaet next time this friendly will be in California, Chicago or Texas for a better turnout$$. Mexico is at another level and has proved it lately in many games and its U17 and U20 results. To tie a game in USA who is you're biggest rival is a good result for anybody. I think Klins has the right idea in player selection and will make this team better. It will be hard for me to go so hard against USA when they play Mexico in the near future when so many Hispanics will surely be chosen by Klins.

  1. Geren Nichols
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 11:13 a.m.
    With regard to Jermaine Jones I had trouble seeing that he had as terrible a game as described. I saw the game on DVR of univision so I did not miss the opening kickoff. And I had already read the post game commentary so I was watching with those evaluations in mind. The defense looked disorganized and as the deep midfielder he was a big part of the at sea look but that had to be a team failing. But neither too surprising or worrisome given at most 3 days practice with a new coach and formation. Jones seemed to be dropped back almost as a third central defender and made a number of blocks in side the USA penalty area. And he was within a yard of a high light real goal on Donavan's cross that was just beyond Buddle's head and Jones's foot early in the game. Considering he spent more time in front of Tim Howard the fact that he made it to Buddle's side on a break away shows some offensive possibility. Yes, it was not a good game but it was hardly dreadful. Nor was Mexico a loser, (but it did end the 'Bring on Spain' chants). They played without Javier Henandez and brought back a tie.

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
    Luis Arreola's racist rants about hispanic/mexican players being better is really bad. Klinsmann will likely add a couple more hispanics to the squad (to be politically correct) but he will play a German or blended American style of play. Brek Shea was the player of the game and the rising star (note: he is is not hispanic).

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
    One of the looser was left out; Michael Bradley! Really he was roaming around aimelessly like fart in the pants. Maybe a couple good passes but that was cancelled out by the goal that he should have paid attention to. If not that goal it should have been 1-0 in the favor of US, not that we deserved to win. He should never carry a decisive role or position as he is not capable he is a middle of the road less than average player dime a dozen. He could maybe be a sub or right back. There is a reason why he doesn't fit in his club in Germany and the EPL didn't want him either. Back to the the MLS "boy"! But Castillo worth to be cultivated at left back position I don't see anybody better right now. Bornstein and Heath are not the future they are has-been and both have faltered and they are also older. Then for Jones to play with two inadequate players as Bradley and Beckerman he should be tried with different formation and partners. Had Bradley been subbed and Torres moved into attack as it was done I guarantee that the outcome would have been different. BTW Beckerman maybe OK down the line as a sub not the starting 11, he seems to play OK in his club.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.
    Paul, Landon Donovan has nothing, absolutely nothing to prove to anyone. He is a world class player. Bob Bradley paid the price for benching the best player on the US National team during the Gold Cup. The other loser you forgot to mention is Michael Bradley. He will continue to lose minutes playing under Klinsman, and for good reason!

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
    Antonio, I did not read your comment before I wrote mine. My apologies. We are definitely of like minds. I've seen Castillo play for Club America. He will be our left back is the US makes it to the WC. J. Jones was partly responsible for forcing the Mexican attack to the wings and out of the middle of the field.

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
    Pinched in on the sidelines and getting clamped down, JFT would spray a simple ball into space at least twice I can recall, expecting Bradley to move into the space and collect. But Bradley stands there like a dummy expecting JFT to backpass like he (Bradley) would. They were turnovers, but they were NOT Torres' fault. They were because of Bradley low soccer IQ The love for Jones I don't get. Beckerman was asked to play just like at RSL ( on the ground). But our purported German World class destroyer, asked to play that way ......could not. He would not move into space or show for the ball so Beckerman was constantly having to go back. If Jones can only play destroyer by himself, well that's fine and good, but he wont get called in when the coach wants to play a 4231 or 4213

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:01 p.m.
    The game should have been played at PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union's stadium. It would have been a packed house their.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
    TO AMOS ANAN: Here you go again, using your in-the-gutter mentality and by calling Luis Arreola's comments and labeling him/them "racist" What planet are you from? And to say COACH Klinsmann "will likely add a couple of more 'hispanics'(sic) to the squad (to be politically correct) (sic)...." is as ignorant as your knowledge of the game. And btw, Anan, please use capitals when using any proper name or "label" related to a nationalikty or ethnicity.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:19 p.m.
    And oh boy Paul, Pablo, Pablito!!! I thought you were a better judge of soccer, but for one fleeting instance you have put yourself in the same level as Ragin Ridge Mahoney. To say Mexico "lost" and that Jones and Castillo were also "losers," wow! One point that must be noted is that I have said time and again that Coach JK only had but a couple of days to bring in the team together, and he himself knows that a couple of days and one game will not make a difference, 'cause it takes time to make an apple pie from scratch! In my humble opinion, both teams "won," and why? Because this so called "friendly" game enabled one now veteran coach (Mexico) and one very new and shinny one (US) to see the players, new and old, to judge how to best form and train the teams for future games. And btw, Spanish language analyst have given the US a fair to good score and have repeatedly said that Mexico had better be more aware of the US, what with "there's a new sheriff in town...!"

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
    David, I respectfully disagree that Jones would not get called up if Klinsman ran either of thoes formations. Jones was quite effective positioning himself in front of Bocanegra against Mexico. That said, you could go with a backline of Cherundolo, Bocanegra and Castillo, with Jones playing in front of the backline. Say what you want about his shortcomings, but he has the best combination of atleticism and skills than the other alternatives (Bradley and Edu). If you have a 3-2 attack of Dempsey, Holden, and Donovan, with Argudelo, Shea or Altidore up top (you choose the two strikers), that leaves one midfield position open. Does it go to Bradley? Torres? Edu?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 12:39 p.m.
    Amos, My African American Minority Friend, why am I racist? I am stating the obvious. You on the other hand never make sense. If Klins is being politically correct not even a week into his job why o why wasn't Bradley ever politically correct? Klins immediately called in 2 new Hispanic players and seemed to really like them. Torres and Castillo were pretty good with Torres probably soon taking Bradley's spot. And you're right Shea looked very good. Klins will pick the best players regardless of race but as he has stated himself, Hispanic players in the USA are an important factor and influence in Us soccer. Is he racist to, Amos? P.S. You really don't sound like you're black(a minority). Don't worry I got you're back homie

  1. Luis Villanueva
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
    Now that the Mexico game is behind. Here is my list for Costa Rica. I know that some of the players are starting their season in Europe - but is a good idea to bring young players for future important matches. What do you think? Keepers Cervic Yedell Def Daniel William (Freiburg - Bundesliga) Zak Whitbread Alfredo Morales (Hertha - Bundesliga) Nazzani, Giuseppes (Bologna) De La Garza Omar Gonzalez Tim Ream Bobby Convey Mid Freddy Josh Gatt Mikkel Diskerud Diego Chavarri Sacha Mixx Benny Feilhaber Forw Corona Hercules Matt Taylor (Paderborn, Germany) Brek Shea Agudelo

  1. Francisco Rodriguez
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
    Wow, does this guy know anything about soccer? This story is so ridiculous in fact that I made an account just so i can comment on how stupid this guy is. to begin with mexico had nothing to prove because they have already established the fact that they are better than the U.S. by completely outplaying them the last 3 meetings they've had and they continued showing that the first half of the game even when they weren't fielding their best team by not having chicharito and putting in a striker who is bearly blossoming at age 27 as well as putting an extra center mid in Israel castro and not fielding Giovanni and Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez. Even with this depleted side they still dominated a u.s. team that fielded one of their strongest sides, but of course having dempsey and onyewu missing (who in my opinion wouldn't have made much of a difference). the only reason the game turned in favor of the U.S. was the constant switching of players which showed that this match was just a friendly and not a game to be taken too seriously. I do believe that with Jurgen Klinsmann the U.S. is headed in the right direction, but Mexico still has the better players and a good coach that knows how to work well with them which puts Mexico at a higher class than the U.S.

  1. Luis Villanueva
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 1:07 p.m.
    A little more clear: Now that the Mexico game is behind. Here is my list for Costa Rica. I know that some of the players are starting their season in Europe - but is a good idea to bring young players for future important matches. What do you think? ------------------------------------- Keepers: Cervic, Yedell ///// Defenders: Daniel William (Freiburg - Bundesliga), Zak Whitbread, Alfredo Morales (Hertha - Bundesliga, Nazzani, Giuseppes (Bologna, De La Garza, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream Bobby Convey //// Midfilders: Freddy, Josh Gatt, Mikkel Diskerud, Diego Chavarri, Sacha, Mixx Benny Feilhaber ///// Forwards: Corona, Hercules, Matt Taylor (Paderborn, Germany), Brek Shea, Agudelo

  1. David Huff
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
    @Luis, keep dreaming about future US-Mexico games in Cali, Chicago or Texas. It is time to take off the gloves and give mexico more of the 'frio' therapy in places like Ohio, Massachusetts or my personal favorite Alaska (think North Slope in January with beautiful sightlines of the Artic Ocean and tundra). You give us Estadio Azteca and we'll give you Estadio Point Barrow. If the USMNT can consistently apply their 'steel' play against Mexico then El Tri will have a very difficult time beating the US just as been the case in the last 10 years with the exception of the last two Copa Oros. Of course a big change from the past is we also need to improve our individual player technical skills to help shorten the gap in this area we have with the Latin countries, we do not need to beat them in this area but we do need to get it mucher closer. And now, repeat after me . . . Ein Volk, Ein USA, Ein Klinsmann!! Viva El Aleman!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 1:55 p.m.
    David, as a USA fan I agree with you but if you can't fill the seats you're Ussf will set them up where they will be filled. Why else Gold Cup in LA? Go get em Klins.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 3:43 p.m.
    Luis VillaNeuva; Nazzani, Giuseppes Diego Chavarri Sacha Mixx, who are these players are they US born and raised, do you have their full names? I have never heard of them and I follow all US players abroad!

  1. Alan Cahill
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 4:34 p.m.
    Univision's "Man of the Match" - Ochoa. Love it!!! (and well deserved by the way - the guy was fantastic)

  1. Chris Steers
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 5:18 p.m.
    Unfortunately the US looked best after about 8 Mexican substitutions. Juan Agudelo was the man of the match. One of the few creative Americans. And why has nobody mentioned the dreadful referee. Blew 2 penalties and a red card.

  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: August 12, 2011 at 5:49 p.m.
    It's only one game, gentlemen, and only one man’s opinion. Some of you get too excited about that, like the guy who wants to dribble so bad he forgets the ball. Try to stay focused. Or try to reload. Here's my little observation for you: It was a good result for both teams because it keeps them on their toes and gives them something valuable to work on. Mexico’s game has been catching a lot of fire and pace lately, so it has to work on stepping back and clearing out— so it can actually think and make plays. The USA’s game, on the other hand, has been showing less rush and more thought, so it has to work on changing gears and speeding things up— especially once they hit the box. All in all, it makes for some beautiful battles during the next couple of years.

  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: August 13, 2011 at 5:34 a.m.
    Mexico is a loser? Let's see, the equalizer was scored after Rafa Marquez was subbed out. If anything, now they know what to look at for depth when World Cup qualifying comes around. They dominated this match for the first 60 minutes and could have easily scored 2 or 3. Sorry, Paul, you are guilty of wishful thinking. It was, after all, a friendly, not the Gold Cup final.

  1. Erik Perez
    commented on: August 13, 2011 at 2:17 p.m.
    Mexico subbed out Juarez, Marquez, and Barrera within 20 minutes after the start of the second half, at which point the US took control of the midfield and of the game. The positive for Mexico was that Chepo got to see some of the younger talent at the forward position. The result didn't matter as much as it did to USMNT fans looking for any sign of hope. The Gold Cup final was the game that truly mattered and in it Mexico showed its class. El Tri flexed their technical and mental strengths in Pasadena that night and throughout the Gold Cup. Mexico had a goal differential of +18 compared to USA at +3 during the Gold Cup, not to mention USA losing to Panama in the group stages. Mexico has two friendlies in Europe, plus friendlies against Argentina and Brazil in Mexico this fall, which will be more of a measuring stick than this past Wednesday's game. For the USMNT, the MLS players looked good on Wednesday night. I am wondering how much of that had to do with them being the only players in-season, while all of the European players were in their pre-season form and the Mexican league is only a few weeks old.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: August 14, 2011 at 1:42 p.m.
    @Luis, I think we were able to fill the seats in Ohio and Massachusetts in the past, Alaska North Slope would be tough though unless we can sell tickets to polar bears or Palin and her Caribou. :-)

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: August 14, 2011 at 4:26 p.m.
    David, well we know it won't be at Philadelphia again.


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