This evening at the Granddaddy of them All, the Rose Bowl, the United States Men’s National Team faces off against Mexico in a one-game, winner-take-all match to decide the CONCACAF champion.
Both teams are bringing their “A” games. Jurgen has, thankfully, brought a top choice roster. Mexico’s interim manager, Ricardo Ferretti (who Sounders fans should remember as the coach of Tigres, whom Seattle beat in the 2013 CCL), has also brought a strong lineup despite injuries to key players. (Jose Juan Vasquez will be a key loss for El Tri). Neither team has been on its form as of late, but this rivalry brings out in the bets in North American soccer. Expect a wild one.
An addendum to yesterday’s post: After the USMNT barely bested a poor Peruvian side, Bob Ernisse, my partner on the Wrong Color Green podcast, and I had a disagreement about how best to support the Stars and Stripes. I said I was cheering for the US to lose a friendly ’cause I wanted Jurgen publicly censured. I want the US Soccer Federation to get the clue that he is bad for the USMNT and the development of the game in our country. Well.. Bob said I was being a traitor, that I should cheer on the team come hell or high water. That is a very short-term view.
I love the Stars and Stripes and feel our national team would be better served with a different coach. Why do we want a coach who blames poor performances on “conditioning” when the US has historically been among the best conditioned teams in international soccer? A coach who actively insults his best players’ decisions to ply their trade at home? A coach who openly holds that domestic league in contempt. A coach who lobbies young American phenoms, like Jordan Morris, to go to Europe where “the development is better.” Why do we want a coach who repeatedly fails to put his players in a position to succeed? Why do we want a coach who stewards America’s first loss to a CONCACAF opponent before the final of the Gold Cup for the first time in our history? Tell me that.
If losing friendlies now gets Klinsmann fired sooner (than say after an embarrassing flop in 2018), I feel that’s the best course of action for soccer in this country. Though, today, with so much on the line. I’ll suffer a media cycle or two of Jurgen love, if the Yanks can get past Mexico. Winning today allows the USMNT to compete at the highest level against the very best national teams in the Confederations Cup. That is something I always want to see.
Bold Prediction: This is a tough one to call. Klinsmann hasn’t exactly been Mr. Predictable. This is a strong roster and hopefully, Klinsmann makes a logical selection. I am really just shooting in the dark here, but I think we really want this. The Gold Cup was embarrassing and we have some proud, proud men on this team. Both teams will play close, waiting for the other to screw up. This is heated and a rivalry, and I think things get wild. I want to say Dos a Cero but we’d only be so lucky. I’m calling 3-2 Yanks, with a PK for good measure.