Mexico has kryptonite

Posted on February 18, 2008

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 3 new discoveries about Mexico as a result of watching the US/Mexico friendly 2 weeks ago.

Mexico has discovered kryptonite: It’s the only explanation for what happened in this last Mexico friendly.  The only Landon Donovan Mexico ever encountered before was the silverbacked Alpha Landon, capable to assert his will over the game and lead a great US attack.  The Landon Donovan who laced up for this last Mexico game was, by contrast, a complete wallflower.  He was nowhere to be found out on the dance floor of the game, content to scurry around the edges of the field and demand service.  His play from games prior suggested that he’d finally learned to unleash his soccer Id, and there’s no explanation for its absence except that Mexico has kryptonite. 

Mexico has discovered the recumbent bike:  Without question Mexico was the demonstrably faster team on the field in this game.  The standard explanation for this is that the Mexican players are all in season right now, whereas it is currently the offseason for MLS.   I’ll allow that this can serve as a partial explanation for Mexico’s faster on-the-ball decision making, but it doesn’t suffice as a reason for why Mexico was faster in flat-out straight line speed.  For one, these are players who have been playing soccer their entire lives and are conditioned like thoroughbreds.  How do they get demonstrably slower in an off-season during which they are supposed to be maintaining their fitness levels?  And secondly, half the team on the field was not on an MLS roster- meaning they were in-season somewhere else, and still looked like they were go-karting in the Brickyard 400.  Here’s the point:  If the United States is going to have any hope of making noise in an international setting (e.g. the World Cup), they have to be faster than everyone else and for longer.  Fitness and grit are the only advantages we as an international side can possibly count on, and we seem to be developing neither.  This is cause for concern.

Mexico has discovered sportsmanship: this is actually a long-overdue development, although it does take a little bit of heat out of the rivalry when you don’t see the Mexican players “forgetting” to shake hands after the match and see them acting like good Catholics.  The best part of CONCACAF is that when a team is down multiple goals after the 70 minute mark, they just start going for the other team’s Achilles’ tendons.  If I recall from my past as a Carmen San Diego prodigy, the Costa Rican national flag is a white calf with a bleeding cleat mark on it. 

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