Matchup brings joy to soccer fans
Typically the holiday season is reserved for winter. But for any serious soccer fan, it has come to us this summer, via the CONCOCAF Gold Cup championship game Saturday afternoon between Mexico and the United States of America.
Since the beginning of the tournament it hasn’t been much of a secret that the this match up was heavily touted as the heavy weight battle. It doesn’t come as a shock to many that we are set to watch these two nations duke it out at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
But, there is still a question that deserves begging.
Who you got D-Lo?
Well, this is an extremely tough one to pick. It is very cut and dry that these are the two best footballing nations in the North Americas. So, making a selection must be heavily scrutinized. A fun fact, since 1991, the bi-annual event has been split by either Mexico or the United States nine of the last ten times running. (five times to Mexico, four to the US and one random time to Canada ((Who knew?)))
So, who will it be in the 2011 edition. The way I see it, you really can’t refer to a body of work in the Gold Cup to make your decision. In all seriousness, the United States struggled in group play, losing to Panama 2-1. However, they did get a chance to avenge that loss, pulling off a 1-0 nail bight win Wednesday night in the semi-finals to stamp their ticket to the finals. Otherwise, you see an effort that has been highlighted in my opinion by the missing Landon Donovan in the first half of both the quarter finals and semi finals. Not ironically at all, when Donovan made his entrance in the second half of both matches he made an immediate impact, being involved in assists in both games.
It also bears mentioning that Clint Dempsey has been on his game, scoring three goals in the tournament for the red, white and blue.
While Jamie Foxx blames it on the alcohol, the Mexican national team blames it on the bad meat. Of course, I’m referring to the loss of five players do to failing a drug test. Among those players were star goal keeper Guillermo Ochoa. So, Mexico has been make due with out a star player. There Gold Cup has been high lighted by an impressive string of putting together 18 goals, while only conceding 3. There offensive onslaught has been led by Javier Hernandez amassing an impressive seven goals.
So, as look at the evidence for both teams all I can do is trust my gut. My gut tells me to pick Mexico in a 1-0 victory in overtime. The truth is though, I wouldn’t be shocked if this game went to penalty kicks to be decided. Both of these countries have shown an incredible knack to defend and both of them have shown an ability to score. The only reason why I have to give the Mexican team the benefit is because they have had a more dominating performance. Though you can’t discredit Tim Howard as being one of the best keepers in the world right now, you also can’t discount the work that Alfredo Diaz has put together in goal. In four appearances he has recorded four clean sheets.
But lets be honest with one another. It’s mighty cliche, but the real winner of this game will be the passionate soccer fan. I don’t think it gets much better than the USA vs. Mexico rivalry game. Both teams will come out looking to win. Especially since the US wants to repent for their 5-0 shellacking in the Gold Cup finals in 2009.