Wednesday, August 10, 2011

US Men v Mexico- First step in the Klinsmann era

The US Men's national team looked as ragged as you might expect with a handful of recent callups and newcomers as they took on El Tri for the first time after a thrashing last year.  The first half of the match was a demonstration of the Mexican structure and discipline.  The US had few chances and paid a price when poorly delivered balls went off target even a little as the southerners pressed hard.  Mexico was not shy about expressing themselves physically.  And their plusses netted them a beautifully executed goal,  a rotating shot around the marking defender, in the first half.   That being said,  the US team pulled up its socks in the second half,  played scrappy, and made substitutions that began to break down the Mexican defense.  The US had the best of the opportunities in the last thirty minutes and began to look more confident on the lovely goal that tied the match.  Most exasperating were the increasingly chippy fouls by players in green as the tide of play swung against them.   The culminating insult, however, came as the US had a breakaway, ball under control and Rogers outstripping his opponents, only to be pulled down with a flagrantly obvious shirt and shoulder grab by Torrado as Rogers broke free.   What should have been a red was only a lemon yellow card on the ensuing call,  and the US lost its best but not only opportunity to take home a win.  When looked at overall,  the match signalled that there are many great US players who can be called up to the national side, and that the US will be dribbling toward international success if the team plays with joy and passion.  Tonight gave us sparks of both.