Thursday, February 8, 2007

USA Re-fights Mexican-American War (at least according to ESPN)

A few quick thoughts on last night’s USA-Mexico game…

  • Overall, it was an entertaining game that was fun to watch; as many commentators noted, the U.S. team played particularly well, and it was good to see Landon Donovan play aggressively. His assist on the corner kick was nice (although some credit must be given to the lackluster Mexican defense) but his second, charging goal was great and really cool to watch.

  • Bob Bradley should be safer now after this resounding win; as almost every commentator was saying this morning, it looks like the interim tag in front of Bradley’s title should be eliminated; it is better in the long run to have a coach in place now than hold out hope for a big European name. Personally, I was hoping we would get Carlos Queiroz and expected that we would get Jürgen Klinsmann; but we have Bradley and he has done a good job; he should get extended and get his system in place now.

  • ESPN went, as I predicted yesterday, completely over the top. One of my friends compared it to the Super Bowl. I am glad ESPN hypes the sport and makes the game seem like a big one, but really, we need to remember that this was still just a friendly against Mexico. Yes, the Mexico fans are passionate; although certainly less so than virtually any group of national or club fans in Europe; and yes, the fans give the players a hard time; prank calls at three in the morning, for instance, but no death threats and attempted beat downs, a la’ Argentina. In the end, it was a good game. There’s no need to oversell it. People who like the sport will watch it, but those who do will know what real soccer passion is all about.

  • On that note, I can’t wait until ESPN starts coving every David Beckham match in the MLS live. I’m sure they won’t sell those too hard.

  • It was…interesting to listen to the announcers last night. Eric Wynalda sounds good on TV but added nothing of substance the whole game; if he didn’t keep repeating things he picked up from Kobi Jones he would have nothing to say. I thought Bruce Arena was insightful; he correctly predicted exactly what the U.S. team would do on setpeices, but then he should since he was coaching the team a few months ago. In contrast from Wynalda, however, Arena gives off a creepy serial killer vibe both when he’s shown and when he speaks (in that spooky monotone) on television. When he was holding that unblinking, Jack Nicholson-as-the-Joker smile during the intro I almost left the room I was so frightened.

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