ARLINGTON, TX - It was surprising that Jerry Jones and the decision makers at Cowboys Stadium didn't add any more capacity to their stadium. They could easily have sold 200,000 tickets for the the friendly between Mexico and Brazil. As it was, the majority of a record crowd of 84,516 went home happy after watching Mexico stifle Brazil in a 2-0 win.
Mexico concluded their prep tour before World Cup qualifying with 3 straight wins and two goals a piece by Aldo de Nigris, Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Hernandez. The games start to count on Friday night as Guyana makes the trip to the Estadio in the first game of the CONCACAF semi-final round. A trip to the always tough Cuscatlan follows next week.
But it wasn't just the Senior side that had a good week. Mexico's Olympic joined the Ivory Coast as the only non UEFA/CONMEBOL teams to win the annual Tournoi Espoirs in Toulon. Marco Fabian went scoreless for the first time in the tournament in Mexico's 3-0 win over Turkey in the final, but still managed to set up Mexico's last two goals. Fabian's seven goals were more than enough to claim the tournament's top scorer, while 18-year old Santos product, Candido Ramirez was honored as the tournament's best young player. Pachuca's Hector Herrera, who saved his best performances for both the semi-finals and finals, was named the player of the tournament.
The Olympic side will have a few weeks off before getting back together, with the additions of Giovani Dos Santos, his brother Jonathan, and the three overage players that will officially round out the roster. The Olympic team will have a trio of friendlies: vs. England, Spain, and Japan to get them ready for the for what awaits them in London.
Back in Cowboys Stadium, the freshly minted captain, Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez and his defensive back line combined for one of Mexico's finer efforts in years. Maza, his CD partner, Hector Moreno, and Wingbacks Jorge Torres Nilo, and Severo Meza frustrated Brazil for the full 90 minutes, Giovani Dos Santos added to his collection of wonder goals, and Chicharito slotted home a penalty to complete the scoring. Both goal-scorers were given standing ovations by the largest crowd ever to watch a soccer game in the State of Texas.
After the game, Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre kept everything in perspective, as he has been wont to do. "We are killing two birds with one stone: we played a great team, and we are on well on course for our main objective, World Cup Qualifying." Chepo has become a master in the art of vanilla sound bite and has refined his coach-speak vocabulary. Above all, he diffuses even the most loaded of questions with relative ease (and believe me, he gets a ton of them). Chepo doesn't get very many softballs.
Chepo and his quad will be in the FMF training center all week before Friday night's game vs. Guyana.
And then it's Mexico's first huge away game at a stadium that has not been kind to them over the years.