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Archive for the category “Mexico”

USA finds fool’s gold at Rose Bowl

It started out so well.

But then everything went so very, very wrong.

The U.S. Men’s National Team jumped out to a surprising 2-0 lead (on goals by Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan) over Mexico in Saturday’s Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl, but couldn’t hold on as their top rival stormed back with four unanswered goals to claim the title.

“They’re as dynamic as any Mexican team I’ve played against,” Landon Donovan, who has played for the United States since 2000, said in published reports. “They’ve got a few guys who can change the game in a heartbeat.”

The “few guys” that Donovan referred to would be Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez.

The back four for the Americans – especially Jonathan Bornstein – simply had no answer to dos Santos and Hernandez, who were so much quicker all night long.

“They’ve got a very good mix of attacking talent,” U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. “They come at you. They play quickly from the flanks. There’s a lot to deal with.”

Yeah, thanks coach. We noticed.

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U.S. goes for the Gold against Mexico

Huge day for the U.S. as they take on Mexico in tonight’s Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl.

The winner earns a spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, which serves as a warm-up for organizers of the 2014 World Cup. The U.S. earned a spot in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa and knocked off Spain, providing the team with the confidence that carried it into the knockout stage of last year’s World Cup.

More importantly, the U.S. wants to earn a win over its biggest rival in a series that has been decidedly pro-USA for the past decade. Since losing to El Tri in Mexico City in 1999, the U.S. has gone 10-4-2 against Mexico.

That decade-long success should negate what is expected to be a home field advantage for the Mexican team playing in Southern California.

“It’s difficult. Anytime you play in the States against teams from Latin America, it’s always tough for us,” said midfielder Clint Dempsey in published reports. “We’ve gotten used to that. I think that makes us stronger as a team.”

It won’t be easy, as Mexico has scored 18 goals (to the Americans’ 7) on its way to the final, but the team needed extra time to get past Honduras on Wednesday night. So some of the early shine is off for Mexico.

There will be a lot of pressure on goalkeeper Tim Howard and the U.S. back line, especially in trying to keep Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in check. Hernandez has seven goals in the tournament so far (by comparison, Clint Dempsey leads the U.S. with 3).

The one advantage is that Howard (who hasn’t given up a goal since the second game of the tournament) knows how to play Hernandez, having faced him twice last year in the Premier League when Howard’s Everton team took on Hernandez and Manchester United.

“No player is unstoppable,” Howard said in published reports. “But they’ve got a good team. They’ve got a lot of big players. So it will take all of us to stop all of them.”

It what should be a close game, any little edge helps.

“When you come into these types of tournaments you grow along the way,” U.S. coach Bradley said in published reports. “You certainly grow when you lose and you look hard at certain things. I think that’s been important. The first round is always about advancing and using the games to figure out where you are. I think we’ve gotten better from start to finish. There’s a good level of confidence, and it’s a strong group that has been through this before.”

No matter what happens, it should be one heck of a match.

World Cup Preview – Group A

With the start of the World Cup only nine days away, it’s time to start looking at the 32 teams making up the tournament. Today we’re starting with Group A: Mexico, Uruguay, France and South Africa, listed in order of projected finish.

This is a wide open group, one that should be the most competitive in the tournament. Mexico appears to be the favorite. After struggling early in qualifying under former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, El Tri brought back coach Javier Aguirre, who guided the team to five straight wins to earn a spot in South Africa. They’ve made it out of the group stage in their last four World Cup appearances and they seem to be the least flawed team in this group.

France reached the final in the 2006 World Cup, losing to Italy, thanks in part to Zidane’s famous head butt. Les Bleus are led by coach Raymond Domenech, aka “Le Crackpot,” who is known for basing his player choices on horoscope readings. Plus a few of the players have been in a spot of trouble back home. They won it all in 1998 but then struggled in 2002, not getting out of the group stage. But in this group, they should still have enough to advance, especially if they can pull out a win in the opener against Uruguay.

Uruguay has only one win in its last 14 World Cup matches, that coming in 1990. The team failed to beat Venezuela, Ecuador and Costa Rica at home during qualifying, so they may be a bit fragile mentally to advance. But if they can get their offense going, led by strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, they could challenge in this group. Forlan lead Atletico Madrid to this year’s Europa League title, while Suarez has scored more than a goal per game for Ajax.

South Africa earned a spot as the host country, but that’s about all it has going for it. The team can’t score – it netted only two goals in five games in last year’s Confederation’s Cup. Even with an automatic invite, the team played in the African qualifying matches where they didn’t make it out of the group stage. The host nation has never been eliminated in the group stage, but enjoy Bafana Bafana while you can, because it looks to be three and out for the hosts.

Information for this preview was researched, and more team information is available, here, here, here and here. Oh, and here.

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