|Photo by Horia Varlan|
Correspondent Scott expects some thanks, at the very least:
That was the two word text I sent immediately after the USA improbably beat Panama by scoring 2 goals in stoppage time to condemn the valiant Marea Roja to another cycle without World Cup action. Which condemnation simultaneously offered a reprieve to our struggling neighbors to the south who were unceremoniously dispatched by Costa Rica at the same time. My text, of course, was to a Mexican friend who was actually in that country on business when he replied with his appreciation. And the next day he forwarded a picture of a fictional Mexican National Team jersey boasting sleeves bespangled with stars and stripes to accompany the familiar green.
Is it fair to say, if the situation were reversed, that Mexico would have stopped playing long before the final whistle? I think probably yes. Credit must go to Jurgen Klinsmann who is stamping a winning attitude on the USA team by demanding more and making it clear that nobody is guaranteed a spot in Brazil – it is all about performance on the pitch. So what else was Graham Zusi to do but score with his forceful header? And can you blame Aron Johannsson for deftly touching the ball to his right before sublimely finishing in the bottom left corner from outside the 18 yard box with literally the last kick of the game? Given that a ticket to Brazil was on the line, I think not.
Of course, El Tri may want to temper their collective gratitude a bit since their place in Brazil is far from certain. A trip to New Zealand and then a hosting of the Kiwis will do more than test their abilities, especially given recent form. But at least they have a new coach…their fourth in 6 weeks. Buena suerte, amigos.
This is farlieonfootie for October 19.