WTWF: US v Mexico 8/12/09

Overall it's important to remember that this isn't the most important match of the year for the US National team. They are in excellent shape in the final stage of qualifying, needing only 2 wins from the final 5 games. Mexico on the other hand, is holding onto the only playoff spot by a single point over El Salvador; a W here is integral to solidifying their spot.

That being said, it will provide an excellent measure, in a summer full of them, of where US Soccer stands in the region and the world right now.

Win and they cap off a summer full of positive results in historical fashion. More importantly it would put them on the verge of qualification and in position to win the hexagonal stage.

A tie would be respectable and proof that Mexico isn't really 5-0 better than the US.

A loss...esp another one of even multiple goals and, well, I shouldn't even "publish" that option.....but I try not to be superstitious about these things.

Into the good stuff...

Starting XI:

This is very close to the best 20 the US can put on a plane right now. Of those, I believe the best 11 includes Dempsey as the 2nd striker and Feilhaber as the wide attacking midfielder, however I doubt Bradley goes that route, especially to start. He will probably stick with what worked late in the Confed Cup, although I would like to see him put Davies up front from the get go.

Davies and Altidore from the start would put a lot more pressure on Mexico and forcing the issue would be smart of BB. Mexico absolutely needs to win this game and therefore will be pushing forward from the outset. This should open things up for the US's dangerous counterattack; an attack that is much more dangerous in that capacity with Davies and Altidore instead of Ching.

This could be more of a 4222 (and is probably more effective that way) but I think BB will start pretty conservatively and ask Dempsey to not get lost up front, letting Donovan be the primary MF->FW connector. This starting option also gives him the ability to bring Feilhaber in early in the 2nd half and push Dempsey forward, especially if they are trailing. Despite my hope that Davies starts, I think Ching will get the nod because of experience and probably gives way between 45' and 60' to Davies and his pace that everyone slurps.


In getting down to 17 players, I think BB will leave Holden, Casey, and Bornstein to watch from sidelines.

Who to Watch:

Landon Donovan asserted himself as the leader of this team in the Confederations Cup and needs to use his experience to help the kids stay within themselves tomorrow. Dumb fouls, giveaways, kick and chase, etc will all be detrimental to the team. They must play the game they prepared to play and it will be on Donovan to ensure this happens, at least from the midfield forward.

Donovan should have a chance to shine with his play as well. The counterattack should be in full effect for the US and he is integral to their ability to break in the other direction.

Tim Howard has had a fabulous summer thus far and can cap it off tomorrow. The Mexican attack is very dangerous and Howard will undoubtedly be tested early and often. It will be up to him to ensure that the back line maintains their shape/discipline throughout, and come up with some big saves.

Jay Demerit seems to have helped the US find a LB solution in Carlos Bocanegra by proving himself in the Confed Cup. The time is now for him to make that CB position his for the next year.

Michael Bradley, a CM in the mold of Claudio Reyna, has a ton of talent and potential but the only thing holding him back is his temper. His quality this summer has so far been marred by letting it get the better of him too often. Tomorrow's atmosphere will be the most hostile he has ever seen, staying on the field is key to both the US's chances and his personal development.

Jozy Altidore/Charlie Davies...the chances for the US will probably by outnumbered by Mexico, so it will be that much more important to finish those that come up. These two, if healthy, should form the strike pair for the US next summer and this will be a good test for them.

In closing, the US has the quality and form to pull out a win tomorrow. Once the whistle blows though, everything goes out the window and its up to those 11 on the field to play as a unit. Azteca Stadium is one of the most difficult places in the world and this Mexican team is coming together, but the US has the quality and ability to play with anyone in the world for 90 minutes. Do it.

A few others....
US v Mexico TV Station Update:

A brief note on the TV situation for this game. CONCACAF WCQ TV rights are held by domestic broadcasters of the home team, Telemundo in this case. They couldn't come to an agreement to sell the rights to ESPN in the US, so it will be broadcast in Spanish on Telemundo and in english on Mun2. NBCUniversal announced that Mun2, which is regularly available in only 31 Million Homes nationwide, will be available free to twice that many homes tomorrow, including the following providers; ATT U-Verse TV, Charter, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, and Time Warner Cable. Channels are in parenthesis...

Time Warner (Southern Manhattan) - Telemundo (47), Telemundo HD (747), Mun2 (126)
Cablevision (Southern Westchester) - Telemundo (16), Mun2 (197/227), Telemundo HD (714)

Anywhere else, I am apologize for leaving you out but TVGuide.com is real easy to use. www.TVGuide.com

Also, the WWL (affectionately known as ESPN) is broadcasting their own pre-game show from outside Azteca at 3:30 PM with Bob Ley and Alexi Lalas. A move that is utilized for most major American sporting events they don't broadcast but this will be the first time they have ever done it with a soccer game which isn't on their network.

1 comment:

  1. Another start for Ching will be very dissapointing, I'm sick of waiting for this guy to make plays up front cause it doesn't happen...Maybe try Dempsey up front and start Benny Feilhaber at mid...We need to get Feilhaber and Davies involved in the starting lineup rather than just playing the last 15 minutes of the game. These guys have shown me alot of good things and I want to see them get a chance to prove themselves as starters before South Africa.