Closing the Gap? USA vs Mexico

The 25th match in Mexico, 23 losses and one draw in the 75 years of USA playing Mexico, and they finally won it.  Three quarters of a century of frustration is finally over as USA won vs Mexico last night 1-0.

Yes the game was just a friendly I do understand this, but this was no normal friendly game.  Beating a Mexican team that just won the gold medal against Brazil in the Olympics over the weekend.. now that’s a impressive win in a friendly.  Mexico didn’t think of it was a friendly either apparently; they played chippy and tough in front of their home crowd.

There were a couple of things that got brought up to me after the game.  The first question that came to me and probably the most important, is USA finally closing the gap to become one of the best teams in the world?  When I ask this and say the world I don’t mean like their going to beat teams like Spain and Germany in consecutive games, but I do believe they can equal out draws in those games.  10 years no one in the world thought that could ever happen.

Look at recent results in the past four years of how far USA has made it.  In the confederation cup in South Africa three years ago they defeated Spain in semi finals 2-0, and they lost to Brazil in the finals 3-2.  The loss against Brazil they did hold a 2-0 lead 35 minutes into the game, so they show us they got better.

Two years ago in the first game of the world cup they received a draw against England 1-1.  In that world cup they made it out of the group play but lost in-group of 16, 2-1 to Ghana.  But getting 1st place in the group is an impressive stride to take for USA soccer.

The second thought that came to my head is Tim Howard a top five goalie in the world?  I always thought Howard was the 5th best goalie, but after his performance last night in such a big game, I can say he’s cemented his spot there for a little longer.  The two saves that stood out the most in the game last night were in the most crucial moments of the game.  One save came in the 85th minute when one of the players off Mexico took a shot from outside the box, and it deflected off a USA player and Howard stopped it on his knees going the other way.  The second amazing save was in the 87th minute of a Chicharito header.  Howard made the save with one and hand and got back to kick the ball out of his area.

Howard has started 77 games as US goalie.  He currently plays for Everton.  Howard really stepped onto the world stage as a top goal keeper was when he won best Goalie of the Confederation Cup in 2009 which I recently talked about, he got a clean sheet game against Spain were they won 2-0.

Then after those thoughts went through my mind, an ESPN reporter went to talk to the US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann about the game and it made me think? The USA hiring him a couple of months to take over Bob Bradley was the best move they can do to make the strides they need to start winning against the best competition.  Klinsmann came in with a strategy of playing defensive and wait for counter opportunities to score a goal.  What impressed me about it was he stuck with it the whole game, and they didn’t allow a goal.

My last thought after the game was.. does anyone in the US care?  The world knows us, and we know us.. were not a soccer country.  We love blue-collar football, not a game where they are actors with all the flopping and fake crying they do.  So I said do they care?  I say yes they do.  Look at how many people watch and love the USA women national team, cheering and supporting them in the Olympics and world cup.   The thing about Americans is we love any of our teams and want them to do good.

Written By Navid Khoi

Follow Navid on Twitter: @NavidKhoiReal1

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