USMNT Study Guide: Mexico
Mexico vs USMNT
March 26, 2013 – 10:15pm ET (ESPN)
Mexico City, Mexico – Estadio Azteca
It’s that time of qualifying again. A visit to the stadium that has been impossible to crack for the USMNT. Despite the friendly win breaking the spell on the USMNT’s inability to win in Azteca, it still will be a battle to earn anything in Mexico City.
It is a tale of two training camps though, as the heaping pressure put on the USMNT with last week’s bombshell of anonymous sources blasting Klinsmann and his approach to management has been lifted with a workman like win in terrible conditions against Costa Rica. Mexico on the other hand are hanging on the edge of major issues. After such a great 3rd round of qualifying they have been less than impressive with a 0-0 home draw with Jamaica and giving up a 2-0 lead in Honduras to draw 2-2. Anything less than 3 points could cause the fans and media to turn against El Tri.
Independence Date: Declared on September 16th, 1810 from Spain, but recognized on September 27, 1821
Government Style: Federal presidential constitutional republic
Current Political Leaders: Enrique Peña Nieto (President), Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong (Secretary of the Interior), Juan Silva Meza (Supreme Court President)
Capital: Mexico City
Official Language: Spanish
Recognized Regional Language: 68 indigenous languages
Population: 115.3 million
Geography: By total area, Mexico is the world’s 14th largest country including the land of southern North America with coasts on the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Gulf of California. From the farthest points the country is over 2,000 miles in length. The country is crossed by by two mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Oriental and Sirra Madre Occidental, from north to south with the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt running east to west. There is also a fourth mountain range called the Sierra Madre del Sur in Mexico as well. In the valleys of the four highest points (Pico de Orizaba, Popocatepetl, Iztacihuatl, and Nevado de Toluca) are three major urban areas (Toluca, Greather Mexico City, and Puebla).
Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación
Mexican Federation of Football
El Tricolor, El Tri, La Verde
Member of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) as well as the North American Football Union (NAFU).
Primary Kit: Green top with white shorts and red socks
Secondary kit: Black top with black shorts and black socks
Head Coach: José Manuel de la Torre
Stadium(s): Estadio Azteca was built in the 1960s and holds a capacity of 105,000. It is the third largest soccer stadium in the world. It has hosted two World Cup finals in 1970 and 1986. It is also the home of Club América.
Current FIFA Ranking: 15
Highest FIFA Ranking: 4 (February-June 1998 and May-June 2006)
Lowest FIFA Ranking: 33 (July 2009)
World Cup appearances: 14
Best Finish: Quarterfinals (’70 and ’86)
Overall Record: 49P, 12 W, 13 D, 24 L
Gold Cup appearances: 19
Best Finish: 9-Time Champions (’65, ’71, ’77, ’93, ’96, ’98, ’03, ’09, ’11)
Overall Record: 83P, 54W, 17D, 12L
2014 World Cup Qualifying:
Bye to 3rd round
First place in Group B (Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guyana) finishing with a perfect 6 wins out of 6 with 15 goals for and only 2 against.
Roster for qualifier vs USMNT:
Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Alaccio, France), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)
Defenders: Severo Mezza (Monterrey), Jonny Magallon (Leon), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Club America), Hector Moreno (Espanyol, Spain), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Diego Reyes (Club America), Jorge Torres Nilo (Tigres), Carlos Salcido (Tigres)
Midfielders: Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Jesus Molina (Club America), Hector Herrera (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Villarreal, Spain), Andres Guardado (Valencia, Spain), Angel Reyna (Pachuca)
Forwards: Giovani dos Santos (Mallorca, Spain), Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United, England), Omar Bravo (Atlas), Raul Alonso Jimenez (Club America)
What a difference 3 points makes.
If the USMNT can keep the game tied heading into the half or take an early lead there is a chance that the 105,000 El Tri faithful could turn on their team. The pressure is on the Mexicans to get a result as they sit just one point off the bottom of the table.
The win against Costa Rica could be a turning point for Klinsmann and the USMNT. Rallying together after bad press and tough conditions for a qualifier could bring the team together to do the unthinkable and bring home 3 points from Azteca for the first time ever.
Jermaine Jones has been sent back to Germany after an ankle injury and stitches in the last game. That leaves a hole in the center of the field that will most likely be filled by Maurice Edu. It is hard to take too much from the last game, but the backline should be much the same after keeping a shutout.
The Mexican-based USMNT players will play a key role in the game, having experience dealing with the culture, fans, and stadium environment. DeMarcus Beasley did an admirable job against Costa Rica in the snow and Herculez Gomez has been a steady performer for the national team. If he can bring some of his Santos form on Tuesday he will cause plenty of problems. Eddie Johnson will most likely find himself of the field as a sub or starter, having good experience against Mexican club sides in the Champions League. Omar Gonzalez not only has the Champions League experience, but brings Mexican heritage that makes his trip to Estadio Azteca personally important.
Clint Dempsey lived up to the captain armband in Denver on Friday night and is in great form right now. Jozy Altidore also showed great hold up play in Denver that will be important if the US will get any points on Tuesday.
It is hard to believe that the high powered Mexicans will be kept off the score sheet with Javier Hernandez proving his golden touch against Honduras. It could be a showdown to see which star, Hernandez or Dempsey, can have a bigger impact on the game.
USMNT 2-1 Mexico
Dempsey – 15′
Hernandez – 44′
Johnson – 87′