I’m very excited about US-Mexico match today, so I decided to live-blog it.
This is the first meeting since Oswaldo Sanchez attempted to maim Eddie Johnson during a goal celebration. If this had happened to any other country, it would have provoked a full scale invasion. But, since 95% of the US fans watching didn’t even notice it, it’s unlikely it will even be a factor. Not to mention that I don’t think the US has anyone that would retaliate. But, don’t think I forgot Sanchez.
Mexican Anthem: Am I the only person that’s never noticed Mexico quasi-facist looking salute during the national anthem? If you haven’t seen it, they put their right arm perpendicular to their body at chest level with their hand flat and hold it there. I would call the position a one arm do-si-do, but describing probably makes it easier for you to imagine. Let’s just say if they straightened their arm out, it would look like a full fledged “Heil Hitler.”
US Anthem: Someone tell Landon Donovan to never try and look intense again. I think he just tried to throw Blue Steel at us. Seriously Landy Cakes, prove it on the pitch. Luckily, Mexico is the only team he consistently plays well against.
Kick-off: Anonymous announcer reminds us that Mexico hasn’t scored a goal on US soil in a long time. The game is at Solider Field.
3:40: Some high pressure defending by the US and a few decent opportunities for Mexico. The US look very confident that they own Mexico but have still given up 3 chances to score on breaks.
4:25: Momentum is to Mexico.
4:40: Strong tackle by US Captain Carlos “Bad Clearance” Bocanegra on Borghetti. Now would be a good time to mention that I went to high school with him.
7:43- Dempsey just took one of the most half-hearted dives I’ve ever seen. He looked like Lupus in The Bad News Bears.
8:32- Just when I thought the refs were going to turn this into a bloodbath by not calling a couple of fouls, Bocanegra draws a yellow card.
9:23- Borghetti stays down as the ball is in play. The US begrudgingly does the gentlemanly thing by playing it out of bounds to allow him time to get up. I don’t see this catching on in basketball anytime soon.
14:30- Mexico continues to be the aggressor. A few weak attacking attempts for the US.
15:54- Announcers call this the best Gold Cup ever. Sure. Sounds good.
16:18- Fantastic run by Landy Cakes leads to an excellent scoring chance by Beasley that Sanchez stonewalls.
17:09- Beasley swiped from behind by Alberto Medina. Yellow card. It looks like someone finally woke Run DMB up. Too bad it’s the wrong tournament about 1 year too late.
20:01- Borghetti and Onyewu get tangled up. No call and Borghetti protests. Suddenly I want to read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
22:10- I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a good American soccer announcer.
22:45- Great header springs Medina. Bocanegra defends him well but gives up a corner.
23: 27- Corner in play. Marquez, who looks like he’s wearing a girl’s headband, gets a head on it and Tim Howard is forced to punch it over the goal.
24:48- Inspired midfield play leads to an open look for Jonathan Bornstein who hits a rocket from just outside the box that looked like a goal. But, it actually hit the outside of the net.
28:00 Announcers mention that the US still hasn’t gotten anything from Donovan or Dempsey and “we’re almost a half an hour in.” They must have been out getting tortas while Donovan was creating a golden chance for Beasley.
30:20- Dangerous free kick for Mexico, deflected for a corner.
31:04- Awkward ball that Tim Howard comes to get and gets fouled.
31:43- “Tim Howard is no Brad Freidel in terms of size.”
32:21- Pablo Mastroeni is a yellow card magnet.
34:02- They show Onyewu and Borghetti rasslin’ with no commentary by the announcers. When was this? Is it archive footage?
35:53- When Onyewu is on the ball, I’m nervous.
35:57- Bocanegra puts a sick juke on Borghetti, so it appears. Turns out Borghetti just hurt himself running. Doesn’t look good.
38:37- Omar Bravo coming on for Borghetti. More speed, less height. Also, he looks like a little boy.
39:15- A great sequence that leads to another great save by Oswaldo Sanchez.
40:01- Guardado with an amazing touch that springs Castillo, who hits it wide. Best chance of the match.
42:36- Great run by Donovan who hits a fantastic cross to Beasley. Nothing comes of it.
43:23- GOAL! Too bad it’s for Mexico. Guardado fills the net after a great cross. Onyewu got worked, Howard fell down for no apparent reason. But, to use a great announcer cliche: they deserved it on the run of play.
Halftime- 1-0 Mexico. They briefly mention the Copa America Group: USA, Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia. If we lose this match, it makes the decision to send the B-team to Copa America look even worse.
45:00- Ricardo Clark on for Mastroeni. Apparently they wanted to “inject some energy.” Clark must be The Noid since nobody plays harder and more enthusiastically than Pablo the Destroyer.
46:56- Great cross starts another sequence in front of the Mexico goal for the US. Sanchez saves a Dempsey shot point blank with his chest. Oswaldo is otherworldly today.
50:12- Tim Howard save on Bravo.
50:53- Screamer by Castillo just over the top of the goal.
51:43- Mexico smells the blood in the water, promptly wins another corner.
53:10- 4 on 2 break for the US ends when Dempsey can’t get his weight behind his shot and dribbles one to the goalie. Another great ball by Donovan. As soon as someone starts as a striker for the US they immediately stop being able to finish goals as evidenced by Dempsey today.
57:25- Donovan unnecessarily gives up a corner for Mexico. First mistake of the day by Landy Cakes.
58:17- Mexico is looking dangerous.
59:50- Great turn by Ching draws a penalty!
60:48- Sanchez blows a kiss at Landy Cakes.
61:16- GOAL! Professional finish by Donovan. I’ll stop calling him Landy Cakes the rest of the day.
62:15- Landon’s 34th international goal, tying him for the most of all time with…. we’re not told. Wynalda?
65:50- Mexico has had outstanding delivery on set pieces today. They easily could’ve had 2 more goals.
67:23- Another corner for Mexico.
67:42- Taylor Twellman set to check in for Dempsey.
68:25- Mid-air collision wth Spector and Guardado. Guardado’s head snapped back when he hit the ground. Who ordered a pair of concussions?
71:03- Spector appears to have gotten the worst of it. He’s still off and a substitute is about to come on.
72:11- An absolutely masterful goal! Benny Feilhaber off the volley. WOW! First class goal for a first class name.
75:00- Beasley with a sick pass to Ching. Another great turn and fakes Sanchez out, but he hits the post. The Beezer and Landon are playing extremely well today.
77:30- While I don’t know who this announcer is, but he gets Harlan-esque when the ball is in the box for the US. I like it.
78:30- Donovan is indeed tied with Wynalda now. He also has 12 Gold Cup goals, tying him for the most in the competition’s history.
80:39- Mexico is clearing the bench. The guy they just put in, Adolfo Bautista, looks like Ducky from “Pretty in Pink” with bleached blonde hair.
85:23- Back and forth action. A great game.
86:28- Free kick from Mexico leads to nothing. They look frustrated.
88:16- Tim Howard with a HUGE save! He stops Ducky point blank.
88:42- Donovan with “his old buddy” Beasley with a 2-on-1 run out and Beasley misses a wide open goal and hits the crossbar.
92:41-Fast-paced attacking from Mexico, another breakout with a few great passes for the US ended by a great tackle by Marquez.
93:59- Full time. The USA are Gold Cup champions! Mexico immediately goes after the referee, led by Hugo Sanchez in his pink polo shirt from the Sonny Crockett collection. No hand-shakes, of course.
Summary: Very exciting second half after a decent first 45 minutes. The US team showed me a lot today, coming from behind to vanquish Mexico. Admitedly, we’re expected to beat Mexico now but it’s a solid victory.
MVP: Landon Donovan. He scored the penalty and really distributed the ball from midfield. A Mexican player even traded shirts with him, the ultimate sign of respect of a hated rival. Can we please see this Landon all the time?