When it comes to the USMNT, it is Mexico that needs to look in the mirror


Team USA defeated Mexico 2-0 on Friday.

Team USA defeated Mexico 2-0 on Friday.
photo: Getty Images

The great story of the US demolition (at least in the second half) of Mexico was the US stuffing memo Ochoa’s words back since they came. Ochoa had claimed before the game that Mexico “was the mirror that the US wants to see itself,” which led Pulisic to write “Man In The Mirror” on his shirt and that same Michael Jackson song that sounded to everything. volume from the PA once the 90 minutes were over. completed and Mexico was beaten.

Perhaps it would be appropriate for Ochoa and Mexico to look in the mirror and really consider what they see. Because what’s in that reflection are the Dallas Cowboys of football: a lot of noise, a lot of demand for respect, an inordinate amount of coverage, and little or no accomplishment to justify any of that.

Perhaps it takes longer to tune into a sports landscape (over which you have had exclusive control for 70-80 years that you no longer have), when the United States (and perhaps we need to start including Canada in this thanks to their performance lately?) actually started caring or even trying in football. This is a nice plus. But in the past two decades, the United States has accumulated serious ground, and it could be argued that it has been caught up and surpassed. Whichever scale you want to look at, they come out more red, white and blue than tricolor.

What exactly is Mexico holding on to that makes them the big bads of CONCACAF? Did it happen at the World Cup? No, of course it isn’t. Their last appearance in the quarter-finals was in 1986 at home, which is also their only win in the knockout stage. Never. It means they have the same amount of it as the United States, and at least the United States has arrived this century. And before they started qualifying for each tournament, boning the World Cup qualifier was actually Mexico’s idea in 2014, and they were just saved by Graham Zusi. Which gave them the opportunity to eat it again in around 16, as is their custom.

Is this reputation based on the successes of the Gold Cup? Who cares? The United States and Mexico have been passing that trophy back and forth like a joint for nearly 20 years. Neither team was really able to send a full squad to Copa America, and the United States rarely attended when invited as guests. Mexico were semi-finalists in 2007, which is getting terribly small in the rear view mirror. And when they competed in that hemispheric of 2016, they were knocked out of the group stage for the first time. Same as always.

When it comes to taking down the talent of the teams currently, Mexico had five players on the latter team playing in the big five leagues in Europe. The United States had nine, and that without Gio Reyna or John Brooks or Josh Sargent, although Mexico also had a couple of injuries. The United States had Champions League players scattered throughout the lineup, from Pulisic to Adams to McKennie to Weah to Steffen (lengthening I know, but technically). Mexico had two in Hector Herrera and Tecatito Corona. Corona is simply a Porto squad player and Herrera spent his Friday night being put in a blender by McKennie, Musah and Adams.

The only thing Mexico can boast of is the strength of its national championship, which it still holds. Although, once again, he had a huge advantage over MLS. And thanks to the MLS salary cap and Byzantine roster building rules, this could stay that way for a long time to come. Surely the matches between teams of the two CONCACAF Champions League and other competitions almost always went to the Liga MX teams. They have often been lopsided. Fair enough. That gap continues to narrow, even though the MLS will always have a limb tied behind its back from the amount of young talent making their way to Europe before approaching their peak or skipping the MLS altogether. And it looks like Liga MX has something tough about it join MLS, perhaps completely one day.

There are caveats there, of course. Liga MX clubs require far more money for their players than MLS, which makes MLS the most attractive shopping mall for European teams for now. There is also the marketing angle that cannot be ignored for European clubs buying American players, which increases their appetite.

So should we shit for an Olympic gold medal?

The US team could not have a better future, as Mexico is trapped between an older generation that may no longer be able to hack it, a young one that hasn’t caught on yet and lacks something that can bridge the two. . Which has happened in the United States in the recent past. It could just be a cycle. It could be something more permanent, as three straight wins for the Yanks suggest.

The United States still has a long way to go and a long way to go before it can claim any kind of presence on the world stage. Then again, that never really stopped Mexico from doing it, did it?


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