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Friday, June 12, 2009

Concacaf rewind: more Mexican trouble?

Mexico 2 - Trinidad & Tobago 1. Meantime it was 1-0 for Honduras in favor of El Salvador. So is 2-1 for Mexico really that bad? Did the team play so horribly? Long answer is "no" with a "but" and the short answer is "yes" with an "if." The Chicago Fire midfielder/forward Cuahutemoc Blanco did his duty and was easily the best player on the Mexican side. Guardado committed a few errors but was still strong going forward and creating chances. The Castillo-Franco tandem up top was great at the start of the first half. The first goal by Mexico was in the first minute of play with a nice give-and-go between Castillo and Franco. Throughout the game Mexico created plenty of chances but luck was not on their side. It could easily have been 6-1 or higher if it wasn't for the Trinitarian 'keeper. The back line looked shaky at times, yes, but they also went forward and created chances.

It wasn't an incendiary match for "el Tri," yes. But they got the 3 points they needed. I'm also being realistic that the only way to succeed in Concacaf is to win all your home games and take points from teams when away. That's true of any competition in world football. So far Mexico have none of those points. I propose this scale for points earned/lost abroad with home wins being null:
Costa Rica 4
Honduras 0
Mexico 0
El Salvador -4
T&T -4

I also don't think the Mexican FA is as much to blame as the press itself. Look at what happens when teams win at home. USA beats Honduras after coming from behind 2-1 and its called "courageous" and "a step in the right direction. El Salvador beats Mexico and they are "heroes" and "historic." Ecuador beats Argentina and it's a "justified win" because they wanted the game more. Now you have Mexico win at home and looking "deplorable," "uninspired," etc. The players were upset with these comments. They put their heart and soul on the field. I could see that. No one wants to "not win." That's ridiculous. And what about the "Futbol Picante" crew on ESPN Deportes calling Lavolpe's team as "much better" than the current squad when this particular group was supposed to be the "golden generation" after winning an U-17 tournament against Brazil by 3-0. We should know that when the youngsters play all bets are off. Sanchez and Eriksson were not given enough time and were ousted prematurely as many a coach in the Americas. Now you have "el Vasco" Aguirre and you lose abroad. Same difference.

The same thing happened with Argentina after going down to Ecuador. The press was furious and looking to decapitate players' and managers' heads. We know Ecuador is a much better team these days, even if they are on the outside looking in at the potentially "qualified" teams in South America. The team has been to two successive world cups. So, with that said, I ask the press to stand down. Reflect. Accept the consequences that these days world football isn't as "black and white" as it used to be. Support your local squad when they achieve a win or good result. 3 points puts Mexico back in the hunt. They will almost certainly beat the US and any other team at the Azteca... and they, along with Argentina will qualify for the world cup.

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