Thursday, February 12, 2009

ATH: US 2, Mexico 0

from the National Team Players Association . . .

The United States got a 43rd minute goal from Michael Bradley and another in the 93rd to seal a 2-0 win for the US on Wednesday night in Columbus.

"The first one, DaMarcus served a great ball in and Landon did a great job of heading the ball back across the goal," Bradley said. "Obviously there were a bunch of guys there and the ball bounced to me. On the second goal, Jozy and Landon made a great play to get in behind their defense and Landon cut back as I started to move forward. He played a good ball and I took a shot on target."

Mexico played a man down from the 65th minute when their captain Marquez was sent off for a foul on US keeper Tim Howard. Howard was shown a yellow card for delaying the ensuing restart.

"It was a 50-50 ball and he came in a little bit late and, you know, those kind of things happen in these type of games," Howard said. "I respect him a lot as a player and there are no hard feelings, that's for sure."

"It wasn't the best start and they had a good chance early," US forward Landon Donovan said. "We got a lot more comfortable though and started putting pressure on them. We had a few chances and obviously the goal changed things. In the second half we knew that if we were solid and patient that they would open up and we'd have a chance to get the second."

As for the atmosphere in Columbus on a wet and windy night, US National Team coach Bob Bradley called it "a great atmosphere." "Our fans are really loyal fans, wearing the red, white and blue. That’s something that the players, coaches, everybody appreciates. We know the responsibility that we have for all of them. It’s also important to say that there was a lot of green, red and white in the stadium tonight and I think that also is special. The idea that we still feel like it’s a pro-USA crowd, we feel their passion and support, but at the same time there are Mexican fans, Mexican-Americans who have the passion for their team, it only makes the atmosphere better."

Match: United States Men's National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Feb. 11, 2009
Competition: FIFA World Cup Qualifying; Final Round
Venue: Columbus Crew Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 23,776
Weather: 53 degrees, overcast

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 1 2
MEX 0 0 0

USA – Michael Bradley (unassisted) 43rd minute
USA – Michael Bradley (Landon Donovan) 92+

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 15-Heath Pearce; 8-Clint Dempsey, 4-Michael Bradley, 16-Sacha Kljestan (13-Ricardo Clark, 86), 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 10-Landon Donovan, 11-Brian Ching (9-Jozy Altidore, 83)
Subs not used: 18-Brad Guzan, 6-Jonathan Bornstein, 14-Danny Califf, 17-Jose Francisco Torres, 12-Marvell Wynne
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

MEX: 1-Oswaldo Sanchez; 2-Aaron Galindo, 3-Carlos Salcido, 4-Rafael Marquez (capt.), 5-Ricardo Osorio; 6-Leandro Augusto, 12-Alberto Medina (15-Antonio Naelson, 60), 8-Pavel Pardo; 11-Carlos Ochoa, 10-Nery Castillo (14-Israel Martinez, 34), 17-Giovani dos Santos (9-Omar Bravo, 72)
Subs not used: 13-Guillermo Ochoa, 18-Leobardo Lopez, 7-Luis Perez, 16-Guillermo Franco
Head Coach: Sven-Goran Eriksson

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 10 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 3
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 26 / 16
Offside: 4 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Rafael Marquez (sent off) 65th minute
USA – Tim Howard (caution) 67

Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Roberto Giron (HON)
Assistant Referee 2: Edwin Gonzalez (GUA)
Fourth Official: Walter Lopez (GUA)

We Need Mexico

By J Hutcherson -- What did we really learn about CONCACAF Qualifying last night. That Mexico better hope they can roll along at home or they risk having to play a CONMEBOL club to be named later to qualify for the World Cup? Maybe. It's easy enough to build up what should have been the strongest opponent in the Hexagonal, but the reality is slightly askew.

With an elite manager, this was a side that had no width in the attack, an under-performing striker, and a defense that was never going to finish ninety minutes without giving up something.

Yes, the United States left themselves open to what could have easily been a goal or two. Unfortunately for Mexico, so did they. The scoreline could have been higher on both sides, with the same three points going in the direction of the States.

Calling for a coaching change will only do so much. Mexico doesn't have the players to put out a side capable of dominating in CONCACAF on their terms. They will have to make game-by-game adjustments, something that almost left them out of the Hexagonal altogether.

Sometimes squads are just a couple of positions and ideas short. Mexico doesn't have a Cuauhtemoc Blanco type player to pick them up and push them forward while the rest of the squad adjusts. Most worrisome of all should have been Marquez pulling what amounts to a Marquez. It's nothing that should have even surprised the El Tri faithful.

Facing the United States in the US and knowing there were no temperature issues, Mexico bunkered in the final third and tried to string passes that were never likely to connect. They played not to lose, the classic hedge that rarely works at any level.

CONCACAF needs Mexico as badly as the US National Team needs them as a foil. Only Azteca remains, and that's got to be enough. Otherwise, we're entering an era for the region that could end up looking a lot like the 1980's. This time it's the US in position instead of Mexico, but it's the same problem. Respect from the rest of the world.

CONCACAF Results: El Salvador Comes Back

By Clemente Lisi - NEW YORK, NY (Feb 12, 2009) USSoccerPlayers -- While the US got off on the right foot and downed Mexico 2-0 on Wednesday night to maintain CONCACAF supremacy, the Hexagonal’s four other teams also did battle. Costa Rica also won to tie the US for first place, cruising past Honduras 2-0, while El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago battled it out during a scrappy 2-2 tie.

The top three finishers of the round-robin group will automatically advance to the 2010 World Cup, while the fourth-place team will play the fifth-place team from South America in a home-and-away series in November for another berth.

Here is a summary of Wednesday’s games:

Costa Rica 2 – 0 Honduras

Home teams usually have the edge during World Cup qualifying and Costa Rica was no different. Playing before its home fans at Saprissa Stadium in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica defeated Honduras with two second-half goals by striker Andy Furtado.

After a scoreless first half, Furtado opened the scoring in the 48th minute by heading a bending free kick from the right by Celso Borges through Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares’ legs.

Furtado then struck again 11 minutes later for the Ticos, receiving another ball from the right flank from Armando Alonso and unleashing a blistering shot that left Valladares flummoxed for a second time.

The Costa Ricans continued their unbeaten World Cup qualifying run after storming through the semifinal round last year and finishing with the maximum 18 points from six games against Suriname, El Salvador and Haiti.

El Salvador 2 – 2 Trinidad & Tobago

El Salvador rallied behind Osael Romero’s two goals, both on free kicks, in the final 11 minutes to tie Trinidad & Tobago 2-2 in San Salvador.

Romero scored in the 79th minute off a free kick, then got his second goal in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time to salvage a tie versus the Soca Warriors -- setting off wild celebrations among the 30,000 in the stands at the Estadio Cuscatlan.

Carlos Edwards surprised El Salvador in the seventh minute and Dwight Yorke, who at age 37 is still going strong, added a goal on a penalty kick in the 27th to give the island nation an early lead.

Yorke, who plays for England Premier League club Sunderland, was one of eight British-based players called up by coach Francisco Maturana.

“Ideally, we would have liked to get all three points, but we know these games aren’t easy,” Yorke told reporters afterwards. “We know Central American fans can be very vocal. It was a hostile environment.”

El Salvador recently stumbled through last month’s Central American Nations Cup (eventually won by Panama), opening with a 1-1 tie against Nicaragua, losing 1-0 to Costa Rica in the semifinals and eventually finished in fourth place following a 1-0 defeat to Honduras.

In the next round, slated for March 28, Trinidad, which qualified for the 2006 World Cup, will host Honduras, while El Salvador hosts the United States. On the same day, Costa Rica will travel to Mexico in the third game.

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