Juergen Klinsmann beat Italy on the road and now he’s managed a first ever victory over Mexico at Estadio Azteca. Where Team America has never won. In fact, the US was 0 wins, 1 tie, and 23 losses all-time in Mexico. Until last nights 1-0 win. Signature victory for Coach Klinsi.
Alexi Lalas, key contributor in the one tie from the late 90s said of the Azteca, “This is Thunderdome.” Usually we only play our noisy neighbors on the road in World Cup Qualifiers – all other ‘friendlies’ taking place on American soil, where the Mexicans pack the stands and outnumber us in our own stadiums. But for some reason El Tri agreed to play this one in their fortress, giving the US the chance to get a little more familiar with the altitude, smog, and hostility they will likely face in next year’s final round of qualifying.
Adding to the drama, Team America left stalwarts like Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra, Jozy Altiodore, and Steve Cherundolo with their club teams in Europe – either to allow them to prepare for the season or for impending transfers. Klinsmann called in a group of mostly MLS and Mexican-based players, a definite B-team, anchored by Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, and Herculez Gomez. Mexico, meanwhile, trotted out 9 of their 11 first-choice squad. They’re coming off the emotional high of having beat Brazil for the Gold Medal in London, and their youth squads have been impressive in the last round of U-20 and U17 championships. Advantage Green.
Not so fast. 1-0 good guys. So how did we do it? How did Team America snatch its first victory in 25 tries on Mexican soil? Five pentagram points…