10 Things We Learned at the Azteca
Posted on August 17, 2012 12:32 am
Did you watch the USA beat Mexico 1-0 at the Azteca last night, after 75 years of trying? Have you stopped screaming “YEEEAAAASSSS!” yet? Because now it’s time to simmer down, wipe those last drops of yellow liquid off your shoulder and think about what we learned Wednesday night.
Listen to the latest Total Soccer Show below to find out:
Or, if your ears can’t take that much awesome, read it in list format below:
1. It’s just a big building. The Azteca we mean. It’s not magic. It’s just some concrete, some steel and a big rectangle of grass in the middle. Yeah, it’s got some serious altitude. But so does a Geoff Cameron defensive header. We now know that a US team can go there and win.
2. Brek Shea knows the way. If there was some sort of anti-American-win force field surrounding Mexican soccer stadiums, Brek Shea is the man who knows how to break through. The big blonde bombshell was on the field last year for a Major League Soccer team’s first win on Mexican soil (FC Dallas beat UNAM 1-0 last August) and he was on the field (and very much involved) for the US national team’s first win at the Azteca on Wednesday.
3. Juergen Klinsmann is a man with a tactical plan. We started out with basically a 4-5-1, clogging the middle (three defensive mids! five if you count Cameron and Edu!) and forcing Mexico to go wide. Then we slowly opened up as the minutes ticked by, culminating in a sort of 4-3-3 with Boyd flanked by genuine wingers Shea and Beasley.
4. Jurgen Klinsmann can not run for President of the United States. We checked.
5. Geoff Cameron should start in the USMNT’s central defense. He wasn’t perfect on Wednesday, but he looked imposing, heading balls away for fun and casually relieving Chicharito of the ball more than once. He’s 27, he’s got all he physical attributes (size, strength, speed, snazzy haircut), he’s all of a sudden got some serious international experience and he’s about to be a Premier League defender. If Boca’s the captain, then Cameron should be his partner when we visit Jamaica next month.
6. Tim Howard sees the Matrix. Those two saves in the last 10 minutes were phenomenal. Not just because of their importance, but because that first one, which was deflected off Edu, already had Howard going the wrong way. Normally that means goal, but Howard said to himself “there is no spoon,” slowed time down and stretched across goal to make the save.
7. Edgar Castillo = Not Terrible Yes, Guardado went by America’s latest comedy leftback with worrying ease, and there were a couple of other nervous moments. But Castillo did a good job of keeping Barrera quiet, and generally directing Mexican attackers to the outside, which–see number 3–was all part of the plan.
8. Kyle Beckerman started the move that earned one of the USA’s most historic wins. He did. Just saying.
9. Ian Darke is good at his job. Did anyone else hear him coin the phrase “floodlight robbery” last night?
10. It was only a friendly. Don’t tell us there’s “no such thing.” You’re being way too literal. Because if this was a WCQ game, then the atmosphere would have been more than a little bit different. So this win doesn’t suddenly mean we are hands down better than Mexico. We may never be, because we keep progressing and they keep progressing. Which is a good thing. Because no one wants to see a one-sided rivalry.
What did you learn from the USA’s first win at the Azteca?