Friday, February 8, 2008

USA v. Mexico in Houston 2/6/08

It was a Friendly in name only on Wednesday night here in Houston, Texas when the United States and Mexico met each other at Reliant Stadium, in front of a sell out crowd of 70,103 fans who kept the stadium pulsating all match long.

Both sides fought hard for 90 minutes, and left the pitch in a 2-2 draw. Mexico's two goals were scored by Defender Jonny Magallon off of set pieces, and both can be attributable to Drew Moor's poor defending. And defense was a problem all night for the U.S. as could be seen in Tim Howard's futile efforts to get his defenders to listen to his commands. But for Howard's great goal tending, Mexico may have won the match.

Gooch was America's comeback player of the night. After some poor showings in recent club and international play, conventional wisdom had it that Gooch's time with the U.S. team should come to an end. Maybe his beautiful header into the net is the inspiration Gooch needed.

It was good to see the young Americans get some experience against a big rival and in front of a massively raucous crowd. While Freddy Adu has been making strides in Portugal, he did not have one of his best international nights on Wednesday, nor did Michael Bradley who has been scoring numerous goals in the Netherlands. Jozy Altidore, on the other hand, shined in his first match against Mexico. However, we must keep in mind that Bradley and Adu flew in from Europe this week and did not have as much training time with the national team that Altidore has had this year.

To wrap up, the U.S. did not have one of its best nights, nor did it have one of its worst nights. Putting this game in perspective with recent games of the Bradley Regime, there are signs that the U.S. men's team is on the right track and a glimmer of hope that 2010 will not be a repeat of 2006.

Unfortunately for Houston Dynamo fans, Brad Davis, who had been called up for Wednesday's game, suffered groin injury while training with the national team and there is no word on when he'll be able to practice with the Dynamo.

Now for the darker side of last Wednesday night’s events. Following the match, two Mexico supporters were shot as the left the west entrance of Reliant Stadium. Witnesses said they saw a beer bottle or can thrown at a maroon car and someone got out of the car and fired the shots. Another witness has said that the men who were shot had been in an argument with the shooter. What is important to keep in mind is that at this point there is no clear indication that the shooter attended the game or was a supporter of either team. It’s not even clear if the shooter’s vehicle was on a street or in a parking lot.

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