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Friday, September 11, 2009

CONCACAF Revolution 3: The Empires Strike Back

Maybe we all were in denial. Maybe things could still change. But one look at the Concacaf table right now might have you saying "no, Cocacaf is still ruled by the two powers: Mexico and USA." The US and Mexico are at the top of the Concacaf Hexagonal table once more. If we rewind a little bit we are reminded why we thought things could be different in the conference this time around: Honduras had impressive international players, Costa Rica wasn't losing, T&T was in the Hex again and Mexico was crumbling. Even the US started showing signs of not being invincible when they lost 1-3 at the Saprissa.

Fast forward to the Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup and we see that things are... just what they should be. The Gold Cup final was reserved for the US and Mexico. US made it to the final of the Confederations Cup. Mexico went to Costa Rica and snatched all three points plus three goals. USA dispatched Honduras three times this year.

So what made the difference? Depth, coaches, fans and history. Maybe those nouns are more reserved for the Aztecas, but the US has shown why it's still at the top of the table, even if they look less than convincing on the pitch. Javier Aguirre was able to turn a Mexico team into a dominant squad once more after the Sanchez debacle happened and the Eriksson experiment failed. USA defended its turf and is close to a sixth straight world cup appearance. Barring a huge upset (always a possibility) next month, a tie versus Costa Rica at RFK stadium or an improbable win at Honduras will see them join the likes of Brazil England, Spain and others at next year's ecumenical tournament.

So is the rebellion over? Possibly. Are the empires back? Almost. Two more rounds remain in the Hex, and this time the tables have surely turned.

1 comment:

jmc said...

That #4 slot and the tie against CONMEBOL #5 looks even more like a death knell with Argentina currently in the 5th slot there.

But yes, big boys USA and Mexico are all but through to the finals...