This time last week players had to answer questions about a team in turmoil under Jurgen Klinsmann. Although the coach had to answer some of those same questions today, it feels like the controversy is over. I suppose three points goes a long way. Michael Bradley took control last week with his firm answers that showed he can be the verbal leader. A win in the snow game and a goal by the new captain moved the U.S. into second place and now they head to a place where they have only won once. Yet, the rhetoric is positive.
Clarence Goodson feels the team is coming off a strong performance. He has memories of Gold Cuploses to Mexico in which the crowd wasn’t always on the side of the U.S. He remembers the scores well but knows that each game has its own identity. Still, this is the match in CONCACAF given the rivalry.
They’re all important, all the games in qualifying, but there are bragging rights on the line when we play Mexico. We’re here to give it a go and do everything we can.
Bradley was clear that the pressure is on Mexico after giving up a 2-0 lead to Honduras on Friday. They are playing at home and history suggests that they should win. The fans of El Tri will not be happy unless they win tonight.
If we can start well, if we can show them early on that now we’re going to close them down, that we’re going to make the game difficult for them, that we’re not just going to sit so deep and let them have the ball the whole time, I think then that it will start to put them under pressure. At a certain point there’s a chance the crowd could turn on them and so, look, we have to understand the situation and know that there will be big pressure on them to come out and play a good game from the start, so we have to know how to deal with that.
Talking to several U.S. national teamers today, I could detect no trepidation about going into the Azteca. Excitement, more like. Confidence
— LeanderLastNameNoFit (@LeanderOnFOX) March 25, 2013
This is a good mentality to have and it is good to see the team is coming in going for it. Of course the lineup could say something different if Jurgen Klinsmann employs a defensive lineup inserting either two or three deep lying midfielders. The team’s current stance is encouraging.