The United States came oh so close to bagging their first FIFA trophy yesterday at Ellis Park. Mexico, meanwhile was busy continuing its neverending saga of who wants to score.
Some thoughts about both.
The US (to use a football term) punched Brazil in the mouth and had them down on the ground with foot firmly on throat after Donovan’s ruthless finish. And when a cross just missed two wide open yanks not too much later, I was reminded of that cliché that Andres Cantor employs from time to time (okay, all the time): goles que no vuelven…. Then the foot came off the throat, and Brazil had a chance to catch their breath
Dunga did not sport his NPR look last night, but Julio Cesar looked like he was playing at the South Pole, not South Africa. The climate will be advantageous to the euros next summer (winter) in the fact that it won’t be 90+ degrees at gametime.
Once Brazil got one back, I thought the US might be in trouble, and once they neutralized the counter, it was only a matter of time. I firmly believe that you have to keep attacking teams like Brazil because they are still going to get their chances. Playing prevent gives them that many more, and why would you want to do that? It’s like going up 21-0 on the Colts in the 1st quarter and then playing prevent the rest of the game. Oof!!
Mexico learned that they can, indeed, play with the big boys a while back. I was not really sure why the US hadn’t had their moment of clarity. It’s been obvious for a while that the yanks are capable. It’s good to se that they finally realized it.
XI v XI, both the US and Mexico can go toe to toe with anyone in the world. Unfortunately it’s the XII, XIII and XIV guy where they both have problems against the a-listers. Dunga turned to Danni Alves and Elano to provide a spark. Bob Bradley went defensive, even after Brazil got the equalizer. Not my favorite coaching decision.
Brazil did not get frustrated, chase the ref, or lose their cool when they were denied a legitimate goal from Kaka’s header. They just went about their business, as if they knew they would find the way. That had Dunga written all over it.
Mexico is still searching for someone, anyone to be that elusive “crack” to complement the emerging Giovani Dos Santos. The last Mexican to lead in goals, Omar Bravo, is out of rhythm (and that’s being polite), and the current one, Miguel Sabah, seems to be weighed down by the shirt. Carlos Vela, you have a whole tournament to find your inner poacher. Everyone else is still looking.
Playing at the Azteca is an advantage when the base of your national team plays for Mexico City clubs. If most of team comes in from Europe, is that advantage diminished?
Am I the only one that thinks that the Gold Cup should be played in countries other than the US and Mexico?