The next round

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by RevsRule, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. RevsRule

    RevsRule Member+

    NE Revs, LAFC
    Jun 9, 1999
    N. Eastern, Mass
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was in Mexico last week and saw the Mexico/St. Kitts game on TV. Let's just say that we will have raise our game about 10 notches to do anything in this group. Mexico played a very accurate short passing game and just worked the ball into position and scored (a lot). They looiked very tough and I think we'll have to be much better to beat them. St. Kitts was not a good team but they looked as good as Jamica. I'm just worried that we've become a little soft from lack of competition and could be in for a surprise in the next round.
  2. RevFan

    RevFan Member

    New England Revolution
    United States
    Jan 1, 1999
    East Lyme, CT
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    I disagree, St. Kitts.... I think anybody would look like the best soccer team ever against them. The US is fine. We live on the right side of the 2-0 border.
  3. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I completely disagree with your thoughts, with all due respect..

    The US was in a tough group in which Jamaica got eliminated.. Let me repeat that, Jamaica, a team that routinely gets through to the Hex, got eliminated..

    If you want to talk about free rides without competition, the team you mentioned prominently had a cakewalk..

    St. Kitts and St. Vincent's?

    Are you friggin' kidding me?

    The US is more than ready to take this challenge.. Mexico is the team that beat up on minnows, not the US.. I will agree with you that El Salvador is down and didn't provide much opposition for the US, but the other teams sure as hell did..

    Had we played St. Kitts and St. Vincent's as well, I'd dare say our ball movement would have looked equally as impressive as Mexico's did..

    Oh, by the way, we have fared pretty well against Mexico recently if you haven't been paying attention..
  4. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Not trying to say that qualification is a formality, but a direct WC berth through the Hex is pass/fail. Whether we're first or third doesn't matter, and I can envision going to Germany while dropping as many as five points against Mexico, so long as the US can get full points against TNT, win at home against the other three and find one more win away. With Mexico's dominance in the first round and semis, I expect them to keep the rest of the group down, and figure that teams 4-6 will draw often against each other.
  5. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    RevsRule makes it sound like every Hexagonal opponent will be as good as Mexico. Mexico has by far the best goal differentials in the region and has won all eight of their WCQs this year. Here are the cumulative goal differentials for the eight WCQs the teams in the Hexagonal have played this year:
    Mexico: +44
    United States: +14
    Trinidad and Tobago: +9
    Costa Rica: +4
    Panama: +4
    Guatemala: +0
  6. metro24freak

    metro24freak New Member

    Jul 5, 2004
    It's not like we haven't played Mexico before, they all know what to expect and I'm sure Bruce has been watching tapes or will be watching tapes of the other teams in the Hex between now and February. If they're playing someone like Mexico who is pretty much the opposite of El Sal then they'll step up their game, i don't think they'd all stand around stunned for 90 minutes at a team who plays with short quick passes. Mexico is the only team to worry about in the Hex I think and I think everyone's already assuming that both Mexico and the US will make it through no matter what.
  7. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Austin FC
    Dec 17, 2002
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I watched part of that game (as much as I could stand) and St. Kitts did not look as good as Jamaica. They would have a hard time beating my daughter's high school team.
  8. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    It was St. Kitts. St. Kitts. There are over a dozen club teams here in the NY area who would beat St. Kitts, and I would gladly lay a nice bet on it too. That is not an exaggeration either. It's St. Kitts.

    Where would St. Kitts finish in the A League?
    The PDL?

    It was St. Kitts. St. Kitts.

    Oh yeah, the top 3 go, so we could lose both matches to Mexico and still qualify handily.

    St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico. St. Kitts in Mexico.

    Say it a few times and I'm sure you will feel better.
    Hell, could anyone on that St. Kitts team make an MLS team, make an impact in the A League ( I watched both matches BTW)?

    When the groups were first announced the Mexican media unanimously branded it "Mexico's Carribean Holiday". Serious (Done in a very deragotory assessment of the comp if you're not sure). That's what they called it.

    Look at it like this. When was the last time you saw a team blow people out early in the season (happens in college football a lot). They look unstoppable playing the Murray States of the world. 70-0, 55-7, etc.

    They then go and play a real team and all of a sudden they don't look that great. Not saying Mexcio isn't an excellent team, but they are the ones who have had an absolute cupcake schedule, and they know it.

    If we play them in Mexico for our firat match I think that would be a great thing because it would be the first time they are challenged, and they would have the extra pressure of playing "Da Hated Gringos." Keep it even early and the pressure mounts. Will their young guys be able to handle it? Much more pressure on them than us. Great spot for an upset if there ever was one.

    Question? Why do you see us as a team not being tested in a group that was competetive where we had to fight hard in a couple of games over Mexico's self procalimed "Carribean Vacation" where most of these guys couldn't make the A League.

    St. Vincent's superstar player is Ezra Hendrickson. Mexico needs the comp. They have been playing pick up games so far.

    If the top 3 finish any other way than US, Mexico and CR it will be a huge shock.

    Guatamala has lost the element of surprise now and the Big 3 will be ready for them. A good team, but hardly one to fear. Fighters, but still clearly overmatched.

    T&T could easily be (probably) the 10th worst team in that last round behind St. Kitts and Vincents. Joke of a draw.

    Nothing to worry about here.
  9. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Mexican "Carribean" vacation took them from San Antonio to Miami and I think their T&T game was affected by one of the late summer hurricanes as well.

    That flight to San Anton' can be a bitch. Other than that, it was a cakewalk throughout.
  10. Owen Gohl

    Owen Gohl Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    One way to look at the strength of the groups is to review the overall performance of the two teams that didn't qualify. The better their showing, the stronger the group:

    Group A (USA, Pan, Jam, ES)

    11 pts -7 GD

    Group B (CR, Guat, Hon, Can)

    12 pts -2 GD

    Group C (Mex, T&T, StV, StK)

    6 pts -29 GD

    Under this method it's pretty clear which group was the weakest overall and which teams had the easiest path to the next phase.

    Never tested in the first round, Mexico actually may be at a slight disadvantage in the Hex, though I've no doubt they'll qualify.
  11. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    I saw the st kitts matches both on telemundo, and the mexicans were using a ton of 2nd line guys.......

    grenada was better than st kitts....

    the hex is so weak...

    t&t is thru due to warner's rigging of the draw....

    panama...when they travel they will lose, and I suspect they can't beat usa, mexico, nor costa rica in panama city...

    guatemala is better than past incarnations, but they are weaker than honduras....they will drop points to the big 3 at hope...

    costa rica was in a depth struggle agaisnt cuba, then the semis...they are been tested....but I don't think they're quite as good as the 2002 side...
  12. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    CR is one Paolo Wanchope injury away from struggling. They are still a level above the other 3 without him no doubt, but he is the offense right now, and their only dynamic weapon. He is the clear difference against those teams, and is the reason they can beat us or Mexico.

    Herron has helped, but he isn't a player to fear. Was there a goal in the last round that didn't go through, was caused by, or was scored by Paolo?

    CR without him is solid, but they become very limited in what they can do. Start to look a bit like Guatamala, just a little better version.
  13. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    I've got mixed feeling on this version of the Hex. Part of me is still seriously pissed off that Honduras is sitting at home while T&T goes through, but whaddaya gonna do?

    Here's how I'd rate the teams:
    • USA: Look out CONCACAF. This US team is much better top to bottom than the last cycle's version.
      • Compare our starting lineup vs. Mexico @ Columbus to who will likely replace them this time around:
        • Out - Agoos; In - Gibbs
        • Out - Jones; In - Donovan
        • Out - Stewart; In - Beasley
        • Out - Armas; In - Mastroeni
        • Out - Regis; In - Bocanegra
        • Out - Sanneh; In - Cherundolo
        • Out - Joe-Max; In - GrownAss
      • Strengths:
        • The region's best coach, big-time athleticism, speed all over the field, and more skill and creativity than the US has ever seen
      • Weaknesses:
        • Weak on the road in the semifinals, way too timid at times. Still a few question marks in important positions.

    • Mexico: A very tough opponent, but snake-bitten against the US. At full strength, Mexico has an exceptional midfield, perhaps the best in the region.
      • Strengths:
        • Their home field, great skill in the midfield, combination play, and a very good goalkeeper
      • Weaknesses:
        • Defense has been exposed in the past by speed, and frontline attackers and creative play still a question against the region's best.

    • Costa Rica: More than any other team in the region, the Ticos are the toughest to figure out. They have very good talent, but haven't been able to put the pieces together this cycle:
      • Strengths:
        • Their home field may be even more intimidating than Mexico's, very creative players in Fonseca, Centeno, and Solis, and some very good athletes.
      • Weaknesses:
        • What team will show up? The one that tied Cuba twice, or the one that trounced Guatemala 5-0? The Ticos are wildly inconsistent, and often play down to their opponent's level. Their defensive play is an enormous question mark.

    • Guatemala: The sum equals more than its parts, and Ruiz is even nastier for his country than he is for his club. This team beats teams into submission, and is probably the most physical opponent the US will face.
      • Strengths:
        • Nobody wants to go to Matzetenango. Maradiaga has been there before. Carlos Ruiz - need I say more? When Guatemala is on their game, they are very tough to break down.
      • Weaknesses:
        • This team just doesn't have the horses the big boys of the region do, but they do have all the heart.

    • Panama: They did an admirable job of getting past Jamaica and into the Hex, but they're not ready for prime-time.
      • Strengths:
        • Athleticism and Dely Valdes as a leader. Their home field is no bed of roses, either.
      • Weaknesses:
        • Like a lot of smaller countries, they surround some very good players with some that can't hang, and their lack of organization was badly exposed by the US.

    • Trinidad and Tobago: More of a question mark right now than anything coming out of a weak group. Stern John is a very good forward, and a couple of other decent players, but overall, they were gifted a spot in the Hex.
      • Strengths:
        • Stern John
      • Weaknesses:
        • Too many to mention. It is questionable this T&T team deserves to be here.
  14. fischerw

    fischerw Member+

    Sep 15, 2004
    Joplin, MO
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So which of these teams are we going to brain-fart ourselves to death against, which seems to happen at least once each round?
  15. LittleMaradona

    Feb 25, 2001
    There have been more insane comments on BigSoccer than I could possibly even think of shaking a stick at, but let's just say that this quote take's the cake.
  16. appoo

    appoo Member+

    Jul 30, 2001
    don't take Mexico's success too seriously guys. Yea I know we didn't look amazing against our minnows but Mexico's style of play allows the to easily dominate lesser opponents. They won't be able to get into that kind of Comfort zone against us.

    The reason we didn't dominate as much is because we need to be threatened for us to be at our best. We're skilled, but we're not all that comfortable holding onto the ball for extended periods of time and we have trouble breaking down defenses. We like to have space we can exploit with our quickness. Mexico needs no such space and thats why they destroy bad teams.
  17. NoSix

    NoSix Member+

    Feb 18, 2002
    For a little perspective, here is the USA's record against their Hex opponents over the last 8 years:

    MEX 6W-3D-5L
    CRC 6-1-4
    GUA 2-2-0
    PAN 1-1-0
    TRI 2-1-0

    Total 17W-8D-9L

    The basic trend has been for the USA to win all of their home matches, split home and home with MEX and CRC, and draw away at GUA, PAN, and TRI. If they continue that trend, the USA should qualify easily.
  18. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Mexico's weaknesses are lack of conditioning and of cajones.

    And I am not sure they're that strong in the box in either half.

    But you have to take the game to them. If you sit back, they'll eat you alive.
  19. galaxyfan03

    galaxyfan03 Member

    Jul 4, 2001
    Glendale, California
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mexico's domination of their semifinal group should be NO surprise. The big surprise would've been if they had struggled. We always seem to struggle against "weaker" competition & I think that the Panama game, in Panama City, was a MAJOR "wake-up call" for Bruce & the boys. There's NO way we will "slack off" in the Hex. Too much on the line.

    I expect Costa Rica & Mexico to be our toughest opposition but would be a bit disappointed if we don't finish first or second in the Hex. Of course, that doesn't mean that Guatemala & Panama won't be "troublesome" but we should be ready for anything & everything. Here's an early guess:

    1) USA
    2) Mexico
    3) Costa Rica
    4) Panama
    5) Guatemala
    6) Trinidad
  20. Martin Fischer

    Martin Fischer Member+

    Feb 23, 1999
    Kampala. Uganda
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would add that LaVolpe's relationship with the Mexican press and federation is a weakness in that it might create serious instability on the field.
  21. voros

    voros Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Parts Unknown
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That would be 18 points and yeah that would do it. 15 ought to do it unless everybody really pounds lumps againstone or two of the teams.

    I'd like to take 6 from T&T and at least 4 from Panama and then we should be okay.

    I really would prefer to finish 3rd or better and not diddle around with the Asia playoff despite the fact that it's a playoff we should win on paper.
  22. Chiquitibum

    Chiquitibum Member+

    Apr 4, 2004
    Pumas UNAM
    Nat'l Team:
    Cajones? Where do they put their clothes and stuff if they dont have cajones??? LOL.

    It will be interesting.
  23. Lowecifer

    Lowecifer Member+

    Jan 11, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    In other news, the US looked excellent against a team of orange traffic cones.
  24. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    This is 100% spot on.
  25. RevsRule

    RevsRule Member+

    NE Revs, LAFC
    Jun 9, 1999
    N. Eastern, Mass
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let me clear thigs up a little. Granted Mexico did not have any serious opposition in their opening round but they still looked very good anyway. What I'm really saying is I'm less then thrilled with OUR play lately and think we're heading for problems in the next round if we stay the course. We are not playing that well and the offense really isn't clicking. Against Jamica, we did not generate enough shots when we were still 11 v 11. Play that way against Mexico and we lose. Johnson is interesting and looks promising but I don't understand the lock McBride has on this team? I know he's good in the air but we really need to move on.

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