Thursday, February 7, 2008

USA-Mexico Soccer "Friendly" Re-cap

Last night the city of Houston's Reliant Stadium played host to an international soccer exhibition between the national teams of the United States and Mexico. The game was the talk of Houston for several weeks and was by far the hottest ticket in town. All day long, the only thing the Dynamo staff could really concentrate on was making their predictions on starting line-ups and the final score. 5:30pm rolled around and most of the office had departed for Reliant. Everyone but the sales team now working some unpleasant hours in our effort to lock in as much new business as possible before The Men in Orange take the pitch on March 19. Finally 6pm rolled around and we walked out. I changed clothes in the parking garage while my friend Neil bought beer. We drank a few beers in the parking garage while we waited for other work friends to join us before jumping on the Metro Rail to the stadium.

As I expected, a sea of green awaited us at the stadium. Although there were several patched of Red, White, and Blue. I wasn't worried because I had requested tickets in a USA section. When Neil and I got to our seats, we were the only gringos to be seen. Luckily the people around us were there to have fun and see a good game. We talked smack but nothing was meant by it. The way it is supposed to be. The Yanks took the lead early and held the lead twice. All in all it was a hard fought match. Both sides clearly wanted to win for the purposes of regional bragging rights. The US played sloppy defense, lacked touch and could not finish. In the end the 2-2 draw was the best result possible given the circumstances.

Former IU player and friend Drew Moor was the brunt of several jokes this morning. Several Dynamo staff believe he had no business being out there as well as several other young players. Yes, the USA squad lacked poise, a fine touch, and turned the ball over. Yes, this was USA-Mexico. Yes, this was our biggest rival and all, but at the end of the day- it’s just a friendly. Is it really worth risking our best players for a game that doesn’t mean anything? Is it worth the risk when the Olympics are this summer and then World Cup qualifying shortly after? This game had bigger, broader intentions. Last night's game was about getting the next generation of U.S. National team players some invaluable big-game experience when the "big-game" didn’t mean anything. The game atmosphere resembled something straight out of the World Cup. The Yanks played in front of a largely pro-Mexico crowd of 77,103. If that doesn’t simulate World Cup conditions then I don’t know what does.

2010 South Africa will be here for we know it.

No comments: