It was a great atmosphere at Reliant
Mexico said goodbye to their foreign legion of fans last Thursday at Reliant Stadium. The stadium PA announced the sellout crowd at a little more than 70,000. That same crowd endured an open roof -- it wasn’t hot, but it was Houston humid. I lost 20 pounds of water weight just walking around and snapping some pregame photos. The Press Box was enclosed, which one would suspect was a good thing if not for the insane amounts of aftershave that permeated throughout the entire cabin. The elevator ride up turned into an Armani sweat lodge. Luckily, the sweet aroma of Texas Barbecue was able to cut through the cologne curtain. Is there anything Texas BBQ can't do?
The game itself was interesting. Andres Guardado was the star of the show, and he confirmed the status with the only goal of the night. Mexico is very active off the ball, more than I had seen under other coaching regimes. Wingback Jorge Torres Nilo was among the most active. He showed great game awareness, made some very nice runs, but always came back to defend. He looks to have won himself a spot on the final 23 as Adrian Aldrete was cut last night, along with Juan Carlos Valenzuela. That leaves one last cut before June 11.
One player who might be playing his way off the plane is Adolfo Bautista. For a player as talented as he is, it is frustrating to see the opportunity slip away. In the post game presser, Aguirre mentioned that some players have a lot of work to do with the noggin in order to succeed. Could it be that Bofo has turned into Aguirre’s pet project? He has shown confidence in his player, is he waiting for the player to show confidence in himself? Stay tuned.
Is Bofo running out of chances?
I have been to a ton of coaches’ pressers over the years. Most coaches don’t want to be there, and their short, curt answers usually reflect that. Javier Aguirre may not have wanted to be there, but he answered all the questions with frank, honest answers. He began his response by addressing the reporter who asked the question. He was in complete control of the room. Of course, things might have been a little different had Angola converted one of their late chances. There were quite a few press box attendees who were very animated in their hopes of an Angolan equalizer. It makes for a better story, I guess.
I came away very impressed by the work of John Sutcliffe. The ESPN Deportes reporter was tireless in his quest for the sound byte. And he got them in bunches. While most of the reporters were waiting for the players to come to them, he and his crew were hustling and were rewarded. It’s not easy to run in suit and microphone. And I swear it looked like he never broke a sweat… in Houston. They did a great job.
Sutcliffe gets the hustle award
With the sold-out US tour behind them, Mexico can now look forward to playing with the big boys. Over the next few weeks, there will be games with Chile, England, Holland, and Italy. The four remaining Mexpats will join Mexico in training at the Adidas complex in Germany.