USA determined to win Gold Cup and Confed Cup berth against Mexico

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Photo by David Leah/ISIphotos.com

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

PASADENA, Calif.- The U.S. men's national team knows all too well the benefits that come from winning the first of two Gold Cups in a World Cup cycle. But if the Americans are to repeat their performance from four years ago when they lifted the Gold Cup trophy, they'll have to beat an undefeated Mexican team that is considered to be one of the most talented in its history.

The United States takes on its all-too-familiar rival on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel/Univision) in what is expected to be a sold out crowd at the Rose Bowl. For the Americans, the game not only stands as a chance to reclaim the Gold Cup title that it lost to El Tri in 2009, but also to receive a berth to the 2013 Confederations Cup.

"We take all of the experiences and bring them into play. We understand what it takes to win a final, we know the feeling of letting one go," said head coach Bob Bradley. "But we also focus primarily on this group and where we are, and what's happened in the last month and what it's going to take to play well and win."

Having endured a topsy-turvy start to the tournament, the United States comes into the championship game peaking at the right moment. The Americans, who have not conceded a goal in 324 minutes, have won all of their last three games, and while the goals haven't been coming in bunches, the ability to dictate the tempo of games and create chances has been much improved.

Juan Agudelo has been effective in the lone forward role in the 4-2-3-1 formation Bradley has deployed in the knockout rounds of the tournament. The 18-year-old will need to be a handful against New York Red Bulls teammate Rafael Marquez and his centerback partner, Hector Moreno, in his first meeting against Mexico in order to open up space for the midfielders behind him.

That's where one question lies for Bradley. Landon Donovan was relegated to coming off the bench for the U.S. team in the quarterfinals and semifinals, but has a proven track record of coming up big against Mexico. That leaves Bradley with a big decision on his hand.

"Many factors," said Bradley of what goes into deciding whether or not Donovan starts. "The way we play. What we think this game will be like. What you need at the beginning of the game. What you might need as the game goes on. There's so many different factors. These are all things that the staff discusses and then often times we discuss it with different players so these are part of some of the discussions leading into decisions the last two games and we'll do it the same way."

Two players who are all but assured to start are central midfielders Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones. The American duo has started every match since the tournament began, and will be needed to limit a Mexico team with plenty of attacking quality in the midfield.

From the likes of Gerardo Torrado to Andres Guardado, Mexico enters the game still having some of the familiar faces that U.S. fans saw play at Soldier Field four years ago. There are some new Mexican players, however, that have slightly changed the dynamic of Mexico's anatomy.

"They have some good young talent to go with the experienced guys that we've all gotten to know well over the years," said Bradley. "I think their style of play is similar, but at the same time, things change as new players come into teams. That's true with us and true with them."

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is one of the players that is still fairly new to the Mexican national team, but he'll likely still prove to be a handful for Carlos Bocanegra, Clarence Goodson and the rest of the U.S. defense. The 23-year-old striker, who has never played the United States before, is coming off a dream first season with Manchester United, one in which he demonstrated good movement, well-timed runs and impeccable and deadly finishing.

Bocanegra and Goodson won't have to be the only ones though stop him, though. Instead, it will take a collective defensive effort from the U.S. team.

"The key for us in the game is stop Chicharito," said Donovan. "What he does on the field is different than the rest of the players. In every moment, he can do something special. If we're not focused, he can score one, two, three goals."

The Americans can't let that happen, not when they want to reach a second consecutive Confederations Cup in order to gain the invaluable experience of playing in the eventual World Cup country and its stadiums.

"The main objective is winning the game and getting to the Confederations Cup," said Clint Dempsey, who has scored a team-high three times. "That's the goal."

Dempsey also acknowledges that reaching the tournament in 2013 with a win on Saturday will allow the United States to continue to build on what they accomplished last cycle, something that needs to be done in order to show that the team is improving.

"That's what our goal is: To be better than we were last cycle, try to be moving forward as a country in soccer," said Dempsey. "A win tomorrow will be a step in the right direction."

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Gold Cup, International Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to USA determined to win Gold Cup and Confed Cup berth against Mexico

  1. Frenchie says:

    Pretty late post
    don’t ya think? ;)

  2. sushant says:

    Hope BB doesn’t get too smart and starts the A team, that means you Landon. Would love to see:

    Agudelo
    LD – Clint – Bedoya
    Jones – MB
    Lichaj – Boca – Goodson – ‘Dolo
    Timmy

    or a straight 442 with Clint & Agudelo up top.

    The question is who to bring off the bench. Right now, without Jozy, we’re thin. Of the players that have gotten some minutes in the GC, here’s my thoughts:

    comfortable: Edu.

    concerns (minuses to go with pluses): Sacha, Adu

    not ready: Wondo, Ream

    I don’t think any of the others have played in the GC: R.Rogers, J.Spector, Gooch, J.Bornstein

    Wow, that’s it. We are so light on the bench, aside from Edu.

    I think with the MLS guys (in general), that they really haven’t played in games with the pressure on them. No promotion/relegation means that whether they win or lose, the impact on the club can be managed. When everything is riding on 1 game, I don’t think the MLS guys have experienced that. My $0.02

  3. Nick says:

    Do you think MLS guys don’t care at all about the playoffs?

  4. chewp says:

    Playing league of legends is fun.
    That is all

  5. LD says:

    calm down, he wrote the article from Pacific time, jeez, u guys act like ya never made a mistake b4. These guys have been working their asses off. When u r tired like they r. U could make a simple mistake like that. How about a “thank u” instead,for all good coverage, smh

  6. abc says:

    Why do people keep putting LD on the left and Bedoya on the right?
    LD and Dolo work well together on the same side, I’m sure that’s what we’ll see.

  7. erikwmark says:

    spector sees the bench for the first time this GC in the final.

  8. erikwmark says:

    cause lichaj needs defensive help more than dolo.

  9. jr says:

    I am soo hyped for this.. Ill be upset if usa lose :/

  10. Hush says:

    I think your going to be dissappinted tomorrow. I’ve always argue that when these two team play, there is no favorite. Bug unfortunelty we have been playing below average Futbol. Tomorrow the game won’t be decided between the players,… The Coaches will be the key here! This is where I have Chepo having the advantage over Bob. Chepo knows exactly what type of Futbol he wants to play every game. Where as Bob seems to be confused on how to utilize his players and has no idea what type of game to start of with.. Bob has been very sloppy as of late.

    U fuc$&ng hate to say it, Mex 1-0 win. Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhh! :(

    I asked my wife to take me to a strip club tomorrow night so that I won’t be depressed all weekend. She agreed…. I don’t think I would ever say this, but I will,… I HOPE MY WIFE DOESN’T TAKE ME TO A STRIP CLUB TOMORROW! …. U.S wins, and I’m good all year.

  11. bizzy says:

    I doubted BB decisions and I still think we need another coach to take the US team to the next level but I think after the Panama game (and the Jamaica) I have a little bit of hope and more confidence that we can pull this one off.
    For one he showed a lot of guts benching Donovan till the second half and secondly bringing in Adu (my Favorite player!!!!) instead of Edu, at a time that he had a “lot on the line” and so much to lose. Making a tactical switch that resulted in a goal against Panama and created more chances against Jamaica is more than enough to refresh my belief that with proper planning and execution…..Mexico CAN be beaten. If Honduras can come out on the pitch like their hair was on fire then so can we…..with better options up top.

  12. Usa says:

    3-0 mex

  13. Adam R. says:

    “the game won’t be decided between the players”

    Really? It’s not foosball or football manager. I think the players on the field might have a little bit to do with it.

  14. Kevin says:

    You asked your wife to take you to a strip club and you are questioning Bob Bradley’s tactics?

  15. rondo says:

    Adu 2 – Mexico 0

  16. Jonny says:

    You should ask for your money back.

  17. predicto says:

    USA has not been pretty, nor convincing. But USA has won when it had to. I expect more of the same against Mexico – tough match, boring and ugly with a few key USA attacking moments. Finish those, and USA wins.

  18. Lorenzo says:

    I think Adu will be better in a game vs Mexico than big strong fast opposition like Panama, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, etc

    In fact we haven’t played a El Salv/Guat/Mex type of opponent yet this Gold Cup.

    I think that was a struggle for us, playing guys more athletic than us. It became a problem for Mexico when they faced Honduras.

  19. Paul says:

    Mexico won’t be as wasteful in front of the net as Guadeloupe, and Panama. Jamaica is the only complete defensive game I felt solid about. We may get one but if they get two we still lose.

  20. KenP says:

    You need therapy.

  21. wanker says:

    Or prozac!

  22. BmoreAVFC says:

    Mexico was plenty wasteful against Honduras. Chicharito missed an open header from 6 yards and Gio missed about three himself. Although I would call Mexico a slight favourite, they are beatable with a well organized defense.

  23. Kejsare says:

    I’m there with you.

  24. phil solano says:

    usually, when it’s USA v Mexico on our turf, I have a good feeling that we have a reasonable chance for a victory. I just don’t know this time…Mexico seems VERY strong. All that being said GO USA!!!

  25. Gary says:

    We must crush them.

  26. other matt says:

    I’m pretty sure they were the first MLS team to make the CCL finals under the new format, a qualification that SBI did make at some point. Let’s give these guys some credit.

  27. MensreaJim says:

    The other options were pretty bad, but this is still nice to see.

    link to sports.espn.go.com

    Extra time win for us is my guess.

  28. Ed says:

    USA wins on penalties, Cherundolo nails the clinching PK.

  29. STX81 says:

    Salt Lake is the first MLS team to make it to the CONCACAF Champions League finals. However MLS teams have made it to CONCACAF Champions Cup finals. I know the format change is a technicality but it does make you technically wrong.

  30. JJ's shin says:

    This is a game that we could really use Holden. Bringing the confidence he showed this season in England to this match could keep Mexico on its heels. I also hope we see Adu in the second half again.

  31. marden08 says:

    I agree. but that’s why we play. In the past they have always felt that they were better. They weren’t. Right now they are better. We need to contol or at least get a tie in the midfield. We have to finish on one or two of the very few chances that we will get.

  32. wilyboy says:

    I can’t believe I’m working during this game. Sigh. Go US, pound them!

  33. ARTES says:

    Don’t do it its a trap

  34. marco says:

    I would like both Kljestan and Agudelo to sit. It could be close, but this is the best side Mexico has had in many years, while the USA is in decline. Mexico improves on their 1-1-7 record, El Tri 4 USA 1.

  35. jb says:

    This is a tough one to call. Can Lichaj hold down the left? Can Howard come up big when called upon? And can we find a couple “moments of brilliance” from Dempsey and Donovan? I think Donovan’s play is critical, this is normally the kind of team he can run rampant thru if he can find himself. It will be tight and come down to who can finish, hence gotta give the edge to Mexico. Would love to be wrong.

  36. Danny says:

    Mexico have not yet played Fullbacks of the caliber of Dolo and Lichaj (or however you spell it). I think the pair will keep up with Mexico’s boyish attempts at running down the flanks.

    As for Cheech… We have to rough him up. I would love to see Brad or Jones roll up their sleeves and take a couple of shots at him. Sorry Mex but your golden boy’s luck runs out today.

  37. chris says:

    +1 on all your points. Dolo and Lichaj are tough, physical defenders. And Jones is going to be more than happy to “disrupt” Chicharito’s pussyfooting runs through the middle.

  38. KC says:

    Chicharito makes a living beating much better defenders than the USNT can ever dream of having.

  39. chris says:

    Yeah, but he’s still overrated.

  40. MJC says:

    As a DC Fan (Both DC and LA have won Concacaf Champions Cups). your right in a sense. But technically it was not the CL until 2008. It was the champions cup. I know a little nit picky. I read that article too and Ives may have made a minor mistake with the name but his point was still dead on the tournament post 2008 is much more demanding and much more challenging to win (field expanded from 8 to 24, quarters and semis with home and aways instead of a short knockout tournament).

    Also, random question but since RSL was the runner up at the CCL does it still get an invite to Copa Sudamerica?

  41. Oprah says:

    ‘…PAGING DR. PHIL…!!!’

  42. Mark says:

    Yeah, I’m sure De la Torre hasn’t picked up on those details!

  43. Fam3 says:

    Ok…whatever you say Sir Alex!

  44. KC says:

    hahaha You are right. He is no Jozy Altidore.

  45. John Harvey says:

    Both teams play better against better opposition. I think Mexico is going to play beautiful futbol today and the US are gonna spill their guts on the field.vIt will be a tight game but I do not think it will be boring in any way!

  46. Terence says:

    No Salcido! Exploit the left!

  47. JCC says:

    Stopping Chicharito is one thing, but Mexico has also shown that De Nigris can step up when Chicharito isn’t playing well. Focusing on just Chicharito and ignoring De Nigris would be a huge mistake.

  48. ak48 says:

    Here’s hoping Jones doesn’t see red.

  49. danny says:

    Well when your allowed to score goals with your forearms… i guess even Vidic would have trouble with that.

  50. danny says:

    Clints gonna have a field day with Torres-Nilo!

  51. KC says:

    This makes no sense.

  52. danny says:

    Pussyfooting… WELL PUT!

  53. danny says:

    or does it make perfect sense?

    Stop those two 16 year old girls on the flanks, and put some stud marks and grass stains on Cheech!

  54. Terence says:

    Could get interesting… or should get interesing!

  55. RB says:

    No Salcido according to…?

    Everywhere I’m finding says it’s still up in the air.

  56. Jayson says:

    That is true. Adu played phe.ominally versus brazil (u20 world cup), and spain and argentina in that summer tour the us did a few years ago. Until your post I had never actually thot aboyt those teams style of play, but ur rt he does seem to play better vs more technical teams. Anyone doubting those performances I mentioned shud look up “freddy adu vs _______________” (spain, argentina, brazil).
    Im not saying he shud start but I think he would be our best option off the bench if we r tied or losing.

  57. Jayson says:

    I mean look it up on youtube

  58. Joe Hamilton says:

    Mexico is overrated. In the Castrol rankings of the top 5 Euro leagues, Cheech is rated 27th. The US has 5 players rated higher than the second highest Mexican Salcido at 740. Guardado is only rated 1136 while M. Bradley is rated higher than the very overrated Gio 1219 vs 1273. The US has the better GK. Howard is rated 761. Barrera who sat on West Ham’s bench had a worse rating than Spector.

  59. rankings shmankings says:

    And what is your opinion automaton?

  60. Kevin B. says:

    No, our beloved American Chuck Blazer decided no Concacaf team will be playing the Copa Sudamericana since the Mexican teams where ignoring the CCL.

  61. CrispyST3 says:

    This isn’t FIFA11 dude

  62. Rgodinez22 says:

    I think the US back line hasn’t seen an offence like Mexico’s either. Guardado, Gio, Chicharito, Barrera, and De Nigris.

  63. Joe Hamilton says:

    The rankings are not perfect but there is some validity to them. My point ,which you seem to miss, is Mexico which has been portrayed as a top 10 team , is actually not only not exceptionally talented, but overall is less talented than the USA .Of course, Mexico’s most valuable “person” is Bob Bradley.

  64. dr_babylon says:

    Random comment, but in that photo, doesn’t Clint look a little like a Cardassian from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine?