I sure can pick them. Since I am originally from Omaha, NE, and I recently graduated college from Wesleyan University in central Connecticut, I haven’t had too many opportunities to watch the USA play in person over the years. In fact, I’ve had only two. The first was in 2005, when a half-strength USA lost 1-2 to a second-team England (it was a Kieran Richardson brace that did it, if that tells you anything). And now this. I get to watch the likes of Heaps, Pause, and Arnaud go down 0-5 to Mexico. Yes, I was there to hear the chants of “Si se puede!” turn to “Si se pudo!” (Sorry for any misspellings.) I was there to get drenched by the volcano of beer, Pepsi, and barbecue sauce (?) that errupted every time Mexico scored a goal. I was there to witness the worst ever defeat to Mexico on US soil. Considering I was in the top tier, in the cheapest seats available, I’ll leave the detailed commentary to those who are in a better position to write it (maybe I’ll throw something in after I re-watch the game on TV). For now, I’ll do my best to help my fellow American soccer fans take something positive from this match:
-0-5 sounds a little more lopsided that it actually was. The game was pretty evenly matched (I believe it slightly favored the Americans) for the first 55 minutes.
-Blame the ref! That yellow card on Pause for his late shot was bad. The red card on Heaps was worse. And that penalty was absolutely horrible–it completely swung the game in Mexico’s favor. Note to Americans: When playing in Mexico City, remember that an elbow to a defender’s face = penalty. (In all seriousness, while the penalty call was bad, one would hope that a national team could deal with adversity a little better.)
-We still have the “This was our “C” team!” excuse.
-Expectations were getting a little unrealistic. Our success in the Confederations Cup left us feeling invincible (except, of course, for 45 minutes against Brazil, but does that really count?). American fans should be happy to take a point from Mexico City, and they certainly shouldn’t expect a win. Perhaps this loss, even though this team will have very little overlap with the one that plays in the Azteca, will bring us down to Earth. That’s not so bad.
-There was nothing big on the line here. The powers of CONCACAF left the big guns at home. The winner isn’t going on to the Confederations Cup. This game was only about pride. While ours suffered a bruise, besides a friendly, there probably isn’t a better time to lose to Mexico.
Congrats on your win, Mexico. But let’s put things in perspective: