De Poca Madre

The festivities at the Azteca started with a malfunction, and it couldn’t have been better. Pepe Aguilar’s mic went out as he started to sing the national anthem. No matter. The crowd filled in nicely. They were unified. It seems like only the French can make an anthem sound so pretty, but when 100 000 sing as one, it generates just as many goose bumps.

The plucky Ticos took advantage of Mexico’s early nerves and almost succeeded in getting that early goal. They didn’t, and then a lucky bounce against the run of play found its way to Omar Bravo and Matias Vuoso, who combined to spring the Tigres man into the box where he knocked in his own rebound to give Mexico the 1-0 lead. If people weren’t convinced that the team had united behind their unibrowed rabble-rouser, the ensuing celebration should have removed all doubt. For those that didn’t see it, let’s just say it would have drawn a flag in the No Fun League. Only in Mexico do you see a pre-conceived team celebration where the players go backwards. There would be no aztecazo tonight

Mexico took full control after the goal and put the game in the fridge after referee Terry Vaughn called a questionable penalty on Roy Myrie. There was contact between him and Pavel Pardo, there is no doubt, but the flinty Mexican captain made some tacos al pastor out of it and got the call. He took care of the formalities with a shot that hit the left back corner of the netting.

If anyone thought that Nery Castillo’s comments had offended the Mexican people, the answer came in the second half when the crowd urgently requested his presence on the pitch. The swede did not acquiesce to the calls, though, and explained later that for a hot blooded guy like Nery who has only seen 15 minutes of action, his anxiousness to “eat people alive” (it sounds better in Spanish) may lead to another injury.

For SGE, the ground firmed up under his feet a little more after the win. Which is why he felt “de poca madre.” Mexico had to have this game. They got it. And now they head to San Pedro Sula to face a team who is suddenly mired in a crisis of confidence of their own. Mexico will also have a few more players at their disposal in Honduras: Carlos Vela and Carlos Salcido are back. Gio might be back if he is cleared to play.

A few last thoughts…

The back line was solid in the absence of Marquez. Ochoa didn’t have much to do but he did it well.

Andres Guardado ran out of gas, but he proved why he is a world class player. He came within a fingernail of scoring a golazo.

Leandro Augusto just keeps running and running and running.

I loved the fact that there were so many ticos in the crowd. Great way to support your team.

Tequila tastes better after a win. De poca madre.