Posted September 11, 2013

Three thoughts on USA 2, Mexico 0

2014 World Cup, Mexican national team, U.S. men's national team, World Cup qualifying
USA vs. Mexico fans

United States fans came out in force at Columbus Crew Stadium. (Jay LaPrete/AP)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Three thoughts on the U.S.’s 2-0 victory against Mexico in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier:

Dos a cero, and World Cup 2014 is beckoning for the United States. With Honduras’ 2-2 draw with Panama, the U.S. has clinched a berth in the world’s greatest sporting event after its fourth straight qualifying victory in Columbus over its archrival Mexico. The visitors had a slight edge in the play during a scoreless first half, and you got the sense that if the U.S. was going to score it would come off a set-piece. Sure enough, Eddie Johnson’s thundering header off a Landon Donovan corner kick put the U.S. ahead and sent the boisterously pro-U.S. crowd into hysterics. It was poetic justice that Landon Donovan would score late to make it 2-0, the same score we have seen in all three U.S. qualifying wins over Mexico here. It was also poetic that Clint Dempsey missed a late penalty to maintain that score. There’s something special about this piece of grass in Columbus, Ohio, and the U.S. found a way to win despite missing some of its top players, including Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler. This was a gut-check game, and the U.S. passed the test with flying colors.

STRAUS: Klinsmann’s competitive culture pays off in win vs. Mexico

Tim Howard was terrific too. The U.S. goalkeeper made three big saves in the first half that kept the game tied, including two late in the period on Giovani Dos Santos and a sneaky Javier Hernández header that was heading into the goal. Some of Howard’s critics were vocal after the U.S.’s 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, but the 34-year-old keeper was decisive in goal on Tuesday and did a solid job organizing the back line. That’s an aspect of Howard’s game that’s underrated: With the departure of captain Carlos Bocanegra earlier this year, much more responsibility has been put on Howard to marshal the defense. Howard was clearly better than his Mexican counterpart, Jesús Corona, who was at fault on Johnson’s goal for the U.S. and helped cost his team the game.

WAHL: The Columbus Mystique is very, very real for U.S. Soccer

Mexico is staring at a trip to New Zealand in November. El Tri is in shambles, with just eight points from eight Hexagonal qualifiers, but thanks to the ultra-forgiving format in CONCACAF the Mexicans are still on track to finish fourth and go into a November playoff against New Zealand for the final spot of the 32 in Brazil. There is much to fix on the Mexican side: Its frenetic wide play that used to be so threatening is a shadow of its former self — Andrés Guardado in particular is not what he used to be — and there seems to be a lack of belief among the Mexicans, an old bugbear that has plagued El Tri off and on for years. Can Mexico rediscover its mojo in time to qualify for the World Cup? I think so, and my sense is a new coach will be able to make improvements in time for next summer.

ABNOS: Torres golazo leads Panama to draw, helps U.S. qualify

43 comments
MikeR in L.A.
MikeR in L.A.

If you want to know what's wrong with the Mexican team, look no further than the Mexican fans.  Funny, I didn't see any pee-bags being thrown in Columbus, no booing and hissing during the opponents National Anthem, no homophobic crowd chants every time the opponent takes a goal kick, no players were pelted with litter when they went to take a corner kick, no need for riot shield police garrisons after the game, it's going to take more than mojo to fix that sad state.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

And after the game the mexicans announced that they would stay in this country  illegally, drain the taxpayer, deal drugs, drive without insurance, commit crimes........oh wait.

JuanPeinado
JuanPeinado

Thanks Grant Wahl for using this great and decisive win to so firmly implant your lips on Tim Howard's azz.  Grow a sack, be a man, and start reporting what matters.  Nauseating.  Just Nauseating.

cbcatanz
cbcatanz

The better team won. Period. 

Blinker
Blinker

Ha ha.  I remember all the mexican fan's posts about how they would murder the USA.  Times have changed and if mexico does not win (it's an away game and a draw will not help at all) their next game looks like they will not even make the World Cup.  Sucks to be south of the border now!!!!!! 

salvaje50
salvaje50

I know I should want Mexico to do well for Concacaf but I can't help but feel elated.  Mexico deserves everything they are getting for being arrogant pricks for so many years.

cbarlow
cbarlow

Mexico may not be even be able to beat Panama in the next match.  Panama vs New Zealand, now that's something.

4130mojo
4130mojo

Quite possible Mexico might need a good USA result in Panama. Wouldn't that be a great pay back to Mexican ref Rodriguez?

Matt63
Matt63

Mary Coleman's comment is quite funny.  All the things listed about soccer players and the fans can be suggested about the fans and players of "America's" sports.  Football and basketball, even baseball.  

JoshMcKay
JoshMcKay

Wait . . . how did the soccer team qualify for the Super Bowl? I thought there were playoffs first.

MaryColeman
MaryColeman

Grant -- with all due respect, the world's greatest sporting event is the Olympics Games, not the World Cup.  I hope the US does qualify, but an event where only two (repeat two -- can I type two one more time) continents have ever won the competition (and I think I'm on safe ground here) even made the finals is not the world's greatest sporting event.  Highest ratings? Sure.  Most dirtbag over dramatic jerks faking injuries or taking dives? Check.  Obnoxious fans with annoying noisemakers? Spot on.  Hooligans and other thuggish fans?  Grant, you win again.  But please -- save the hyperbole.  Kevin Coleman

salvaje50
salvaje50

Dempsey missed that late PK in purpose.  Had to keep the 2-0 scoreline going.

MichaelBlankley
MichaelBlankley

Dos a cero: it's not a scoreline, it's a tradition. We'll see you in Columbus in 2017, El Tri. 

DSM
DSM

Fine work by many. Donovan appeared to make quite a difference, threatening often, ivig Johnson 2 excellent chances off corners and the final goal.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

What a huge result.  Missing important first-choice players, and with others sitting on yellows, the team still got the full 3 points.

Granted, Mexico is absolutely reeling right now, but this was still an impressive bounce-back from the flop vs Costa Rica considering the limiting personnel issues the team had to deal with in this game.

I've been a Klinnsman critic for a long time, but he's making a believer out of even me at this point.  I *really* thought the team would fall back into its old patterns following the Costa Rica loss, but one sign of a truly special sports team is the ability to shake off a setback promptly and emphatically, regardless of the circumstances, and that definitely happened here today.

bserious
bserious

@MikeR in L.A. Hmmm..., the actions you describe are obviously terrible, and should not be tolerated in any setting, but I'm not seeing the connection you're trying to make.  Mexico may be down now, but has obviously been very good in the past, were the things you mention not happening then? I could be wrong, but if the fan behavior has been pretty consistent over the years, while the Mexican team's form has varied, then we'd have to say that it's more than a minor stretch to try to say that their poor form now can be blamed on the behavior of their fans.  I'd love it to be true, but just badly wanting to make a connection doesn't mean you can just make that connection, if logic gets in the way.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@JuanPeinado He's a sports journalist, and sports journalists are supposed to write about it when an athlete has a strong performance in a particular game that had great significance.  That's literally and exactly his job.

So I'm not sure what your problem is, although I can think of several possibilities, most of them very sad and pathetic and generally uncomplimentary of your intellect.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

@Blinker Remember, these monkeys said they'd murder, but not in soccer, and they DO.

cbcatanz
cbcatanz

Hasn't it always sucked to be south of the border, ie living in Mexico?

cbcatanz
cbcatanz

Mexico deserves what they get for being a sh@ty country.

rrchemo
rrchemo

@4130mojo With the exception of the yellow card to Besler that was directed by his AR, Rodriguez did a good job... now you want to blame the CR loss on him.... it was 1-3 when the card came... and without Besler the defense looked quite good last night...

DSM
DSM

@Matt63 I enjoy soccer and agree in part, but there is no American equivalent of the soccer thugs found in many countries and there is little diving in football or baseball, although it is common in basketball.

MikeR in L.A.
MikeR in L.A.

@MaryColeman "With all due respect", you are an idiot for thinking the Olympics are the world's greatest sporting event.  Haven't you heard of curling?

SteveA
SteveA

@MaryColeman Please enlighten me, which "continents" have won the World Cup? 

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@MaryColeman No it's not, Mr. Coleman.  The Olympics are more important than the World Cup on a political level, but purely in terms of spectatorship and universal interest/passion across the planet over an entire month, the World Cup EASILY exceeds the Olympics.

Your complaints are all subjective and sentimental.  It's funny you bring up hyperbole, because that's mostly what your own post is.

JustinJaxAxelroth
JustinJaxAxelroth

@salvaje50 I've been thinking about that.... while plausible, I just can't see him doing that.  I would consider it more fun to bury them 3-0, instead of 2-0.  Either way, I'll take the win.  I just hope Dempsey hasn't cost himself the PK job moving forward.

chokoloks
chokoloks

@cbcatanz It must really suck to be you... full of hatred towards a country... I guess your mom was g@ng-b@nged by a bunch of angry Mexicans... poor thing you... probably just another dumb hillbilly...

chokoloks
chokoloks

@cbcatanz Now that is out of line... if that's the case then I guess the USA deserved 9/11 and the Boston bombings... you know, for being such a sh@ty country towards the world in general... By the way Happy Anniversary tomorrow...

DavidandTracyAgee
DavidandTracyAgee

@DSM @Matt63 Fan of all sports mentioned.  As for thug fans...  DSM check recent news articles of Dodger/Giants, multiple NFL games and some college games.  We have those idiots here as well.  Diving, well college football and NFL are worse than soccer right now.  Don't see much diving in baseball but the sport has a history of faking injuries before games to avoid facing certain pitchers.

chokoloks
chokoloks

@CriscoLeaner I guess you like NASCAR a lot, don't you? Your favorite movie: Talladega Nights...

chokoloks
chokoloks

@fless_43 @chokoloks @cbcatanzWell in this case the comment posted before mine is not truth, so it is not as if I was reacting to a truthful comment. I grew up in Mexico and I did it in a healthy and happy environment, and hopefully one day I will go back and raise my family there. Many of my friends did so too. I know my country has a lot of issues and not everybody has the same opportunities, due to corruption, bad economics or simply because we haven't as a country learned how to be a more prosperous place. comments towards my nation. So hopefully soon one day your country will stop needing my services (apparently most Americans are extremely unqualified, maybe they are just plain dumb) as an engineer, and I will go back to my country...

fless_43
fless_43

@chokoloks @cbcatanz Hey chokoloks, truth hurts doesn't it?  It's not like you see a lot of Americans running across the boarder to try to illegally enter Mexico do you? 

TOperspective
TOperspective

@chokoloks @cbcatanz Typical Mexican user.  Suck the country dry while criticizing the country.  Yeah, we're such a sh@tty country that 50M Mexicans want to come here.

chokoloks
chokoloks

@Blinker Sorry to hear that Blinker, but you gotta understand that the behavior of some fans in the stadium, even if they represent a large part of the stadium, do not grant to insult a whole country. I understand the feeling though. Let's keep this to an strictly sports rivalry, which it should be. We are neighbors and should be helping each other, instead of the opposite. By the way I also despise the USA soccer team... but hey, that is all right, right?

Blinker
Blinker

What you said here is absolutely correct.  I can remember the last time the USA played Mexico in LA, should have been a home game but there were clearly more fans for Mexico.  I would put my estimate at 35 percent USA and 65 percent Mexico and that has got to be pretty close.  Still....  when the Mexican national anthem was played the stadium sang and was respectful.  Then on our own home soil when our national anthem played the Mexican fans BOOED and made so much noise you could barely hear our song.  Say what you will but that is TOTAL DISRESPECT.  I do not care which nation comes to play here in the United States of America, we ALWAYS show respect to their countries song.  Classless, just classless.  It would be one thing if only a few Mexican fans participated in this outrage but the cameras in the stadium panned across many sections during our song and almost of of them were yelling and showing no respect.  I'm glad the US won and wish we could have piled on a few more goals!  GO USA!!!!!!!!!!!!

DSM
DSM

@chokoloks @cbcatanz I understand American fans' anger over the treatment of American players at Azteca and elsewhere, but insulting the entire country is something almost all American fans would oppose. It is also hypocritical given that there are American World Cup players of Mexican descent, all of whom I (and I hope you) root for.

cbcatanz, although provoked, you should not have descended to his level or lower. And, if you visit the 9/1 Memorial, you will see lots of Mexican names among the victims, all of whom I (and I you) mourn for.