Tuesday night’s soccer match of the United States vs. Mexico was a harsh reminder as to why I don’t watch soccer. Even avid soccer fans can’t honestly tell me they enjoyed watching that match. For those of you who missed it, the United States and Mexico played to a 0-0 tie last night. No that’s not a typo, this game showcased 0 goals. This match was the third of 10 total World Cup qualifying matches these teams will play. With the tie, The United States fell to 3rd in the CONCACAF standings (1-1-1), while Mexico remains in 5th in the same standings (0-0-3). The top 3 teams will qualify for the World Cup. Mexico is highly regarded as the best team in this group, and barring a major injury or meltdown they will represent their country in the 2014 World Cup. The United States will most likely find themselves in the 2014 World Cup as well, but it won’t be because they break any goal scoring records. And that brings me to my thoughts on last nights game.
I continue to hear all the commentators say, well this was a solid performance by the United States, and their fans should feel great about what transpired on Tuesday night. To that I say, are you kidding me? Mexico dominated every aspect of this soccer match except for the final score. Yes, it is a fact that Mexico did not score a goal in this match. However, that doesn’t mean that United States played really well. Their defense was very good, but it was not without some luck and some questionable non-calls. Let me throw out some statistics to support my position before I continue on my rant. Mexico outshot the United States 19 to 1. 1?!?!?! 1 stinking shot is all you could muster up in a 90 minute match? If you didn’t watch this match, let me be the first to tell you that that shot wasn’t even a real shot. It was from about 8 miles away from the goal, and it didn’t even end up on net! Mexico literally could have played without a goalie and this match would have ended with the same final score. Mexico possessed the ball for 58% of the match, and found themselves with a clear advantage in corner kicks as well (15-2). Now, everyone can keep telling me that the U.S.’s defense was spectacular, and that’s all well and good, but that style of play is not going to cut it against good teams. You are also not going to allow 19 shots and 15 corners and expect to come away with a shutout on a consistent basis. Now, I must give The United States credit for the final result of last nights match. Azteca is one of the most difficult venues to play in, but the U.S. hung tough. Regardless of what it looked like they still came away with a point IN Mexico. That is a rare feat, as it is only the 2nd time in the history of World Cup qualifiers that they didn’t leave Mexico empty handed. Now just like any close match, it wasn’t free of controversy. Mexico’s players did their fair share of complaining during and after the match. Early on in the game, “Chicharito” was positioning himself inside the box to await a pass. As he entered the box he flew forward away from a U.S. defender (Michael Bradley) as if he were shot out of a canon. There was no whistle blown, no penalty shot awarded, and to that I applaud the referee. In a sport filled with “talented” flop artists it is difficult to differentiate a penalty from an acting job. It is the hardest sport to officiate, and the referee got that call right. Now, a play that was far more controversial came in the 76th minute. Javier Aquino of Mexico was feet away from the goal and was gearing up for a shot on net. Freddy Edu of the U.S. snuck up behind Aquino and disrupted the shot attempt. It appeared that Edu caught Aquino’s foot and that he tripped him up. Play continued without a call and the United States pulled out their violins to give the Mexican squad some background music for their crying and complaining. In sports there are missed calls everyday. Unfortunately it is part of the game. Personally I thought it was a penalty, and Mexico should have been awarded a penalty shot. Fortunately for the United States the referee was checking out a cute girl in the stands instead of doing his job, and the call was blown.
All in all the end result of the match was great for the United States, but my standards it was pretty ugly. Next time, I think I’ll go to sleep at 10 instead of 1230 in the morning. At least I know I won’t miss anything important.
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