World Cup Qualifying

How do you feel about USMNT saving Mexico?

US Men's National team vs. Panama

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com


It was not meant to be a demonstration of heroism for the troubled southern neighbors nor was it done as a favor, but that is essentially how many around the world will view the U.S. Men’s National Team’s late World Cup qualifying win over Panama on Tuesday night.

The U.S.’s 3-2 victory inside of a wet Estadio Rommel Fernandez was the one of the finer examples of sports serving as theater. Trailing by a goal with only seconds remaining and Panamanian players and fans preparing to burst into ecstasy, the Americans managed an unlikely comeback with two goals in stoppage time.

First, Graham Zusi powerfully placed a header into the back of the net. Then, Aron Johansson blasted a low shot past a helpless Jaime Penedo. Just like that, heartbreak for an entire nation and group of players, with tears of joy transforming into ones of great pain, frustration and sadness.

The Canaleros were literally mere moments away from keeping their dreams of playing in their first World Cup alive, but that vanished seemingly in the blink of an eye as a group of second-string Americans demonstrated the resilient attitude that the U.S. team is known so well for in an attempt to improve their own chances of playing in Brazil in 2014.

In the process of picking up the victory that punctuated a successful qualifying campaign, the U.S. helped its biggest rivals, Mexico, avoid qualification elimination. At least, for the time being.

El Tri had faced Costa Rica in San Jose in a qualifier played simultaneously to the U.S.-Panama match, but Mexico’s game ended with an all too familiar bitter feeling. The Mexicans were defeated, 2-1, and surely were thinking of the laundry list of questions they would be grilled with about their country’s failure to reach Brazil. But the U.S.’s late heroics one country over changed all that, giving Mexico a chance to once again redeem its pitiful qualifying campaign in a two-legged playoff with New Zealand in November.

Mexico may currently be as gracious as one rival can be with another (Rafa Marquez had nothing to say when asked in a postgame interview if he had any comment for the U.S.). But feelings were clearly mixed among U.S. fans about seeing their team help El Tri climb out of such a dire situation. Some wanted to see the U.S. succumb to the Panamanians’ late 2-1 lead and bizarre decision to continue to attack and leave acres of space in behind the defense. Others were rooting Jurgen Klinsmann’s side on all the way.

That unusual predicament leaves the question as to which side of the debate you were on during the dramatic and unforgettable night in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Were you rooting for Americans to pull out a victory? Or were you secretly/openly hoping to see Panama beat the U.S. so as to eliminate Mexico?

Cast your vote in the poll below and tell us why you feel that way, and if you think Mexico would have kept playing for a win if the roles had been reversed with the U.S., in the comments section.


How do you feel about the USMNT saving Mexico?
Great, we have bragging rights over them.
Hate it, I wanted to see them embarrassed and eliminated.
Very mixed, but definitely rooting for New Zealand next month.
pollcode.com free polls 
  • silent e

    Tonight soccer won. There could have been so much gamesmanship–here in CONCACAF and in CONMEBOL too. Ecuador and Chile could have passed the ball around for 90 minutes, finished 0-0, and clapped each other on the back after the game and said “Congratulations on making it to the Finals, see you next year in Brazil.” Instead they came out to play and put their qualification at risk. Costa Rica had nothing but pride to play for, but that was enough. The US had nothing but pride to play for, and that was enough. The US also showed class in not celebrating their last two goals excessively and in comforting the devastated Panamanian players after the final whistle blew.

    And as my soccer-loving maid said when she came in this morning, “No voy con Mexico no mas. Ahora con los Estados Unidos.”


  • bodeguero

    Absolutely stoked to see these guys pull a victory out of the hat, first and foremost.

    As far as the whole Concacaf family / what’s good for the confederation is good for the US, I actually think it would be better for Mexico and C’CAF that they do NOT qualify. That way, they will be forced to deal with the shambles that their entire federation is in.

    They need a thorough cleaning from top to bottom and purge their program of arrogance, all the divas, the sense of entitlement, the misguided notion that Mexico has improved over the last 30 years due to globalization but nobody else has, etc.

    I just don’t think that this team regardless of who coaches it has what it takes to get over the hurdles that are affecting performance, and I don’t see it happening before next summer.

    But man, it was definitely a confusing feeling watching the games last. On that I believe we can all agree!


  • Vic

    I was at Mulligans Bar in Hoboken, NJ. When Panama scored the second goal, the USA fans erupted in celebrations. Ecuadorean fans were staring in confusion. It was kinda weird.


    • John

      Of all the teams we should be worried about seeing in the knock out round, Mexico is so far down that list.


  • Jim

    I don’t feel the least bit bad for Panama. It is not the job of the USMNT to lose to anybody at anytime. You play the game to win. Period. And if Panama can’t beat a team of reserves on their home field when they absolutely needed to win, then they need to stay home.

    If Panama wants to ever go to a World Cup, then they need to play better. They need to learn that time wasting, especially in the first half, is a bad idea. Screwing around with a one goal lead is a sure fire way to lose. Flopping around acting injured like someone cut their legs off and then miraculously getting better adds to injury time that can and will be used to beat you.

    It is good for the US team to have a worthy competitor in CONCACAF and that team is generally Mexico. I’ll never pull for them because I’m not Mexican. And if the USA can’t do something like advance without Mexico’s help, then we don’t deserve it. But we need a good team to help us improve. Beating the blind sisters of the poor is not a way to make your team better at the international level.

    And the entire country of Costa Rica can sink into a volcano and I won’t shed a tear. The gamesmanship for our last game was ridiculous and uncalled for. And no one should ever have had to play in that hole known as Saprissa. Screw Costa Rica. That’s who I hate.


  • Jim

    The best part was when the Mexican announcer, with both matches on screen and Mexico beaten by the Ticos, sees the U.S. winning goal, and gushes “We love you! We love you forever!!” Well, at least until our next corner kick at Azteca, with the inevitable showers of urine…


    • David JS

      I saw that video as well. The announcer followed it up by a diatribe in spanish saying something like “When it mattered, they (the USA) did it and you guys (Mexico) did nothing! You did nothing! You will have to live with that forever!” or at least that’s my best spanglish paraphrasing of it. Too bad the video was removed due to copyright stuff. It was definitely a classic rant that would be gold replaying the next time we play El Tri.


      • David JS

        Googled it and found a transcript of Christian Martinoli’s rant, and it’s just as great as I thought. Here it goes:

        “It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff …BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU..NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!!.NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!!NOT YOU! remember this forever….. KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOT placed us in the playoffs , you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP ..YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU! NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT…..NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY….NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS….
        “IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED -to go through to the playoff- WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS , WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about ….how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport..MExico is a horror, just terrible….A FAILURE….
        THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US LIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns..He has failed as coach….”


  • James

    The only thing more satisfying than seeing your rival fail, is to see them succeed in the most miserable way possible, and have to thank you for that small bit of success they have.


  • Other Jim

    Two different Jims. Now I’m “Other Jim”. And I think Costa Rica deserves credit for beating Mexico, something that very few have mentioned. Also, please note Estadio Ricardo Saprissa is no longer the venue; now it’s the brand new Estadio Nacional.


  • dantheblue

    Mexico’s federation should call FIFA and submit their withdrawal from the competition. Entering in through the back door is only good when Led Zeppelin is blasting it…


  • USAmr

    I was ambivalent before the game about which result I wanted. When the USA went down 0-1 I realized that more than anything else, I wanted to see us play well, score some goals and win. I was content to leave other teams to handle their own fates. The Irish bartender in the pub where I was watching laughed at US fans cheering for their team to lose. I was happy to see Zusi and AJ make a strong case for their inclusion in Brazil.
    I will be strongly supporting New Zealand against Mexico as I lived there for a time and would love to see the All Whites in another WC. They were a bright spot in 2010 and brought additional excitement for me.


  • Jaime damian

    I feel indifferent. What I love about this U.S. team is that they have been resilient all through out the hex. They weren’t trying to save anyone, but rather prove that they’re always going to compete till the very last minute. Let’s focus more on this U.S. team rather than discussing a dysfunctional and sub-par Mexican team. What I hope comes from this, is a rivalry where fans can be respectful and leave out racism and be able to laugh about last nights craziness. Truth is its better to have Mexico in a playoff because it gives the CONCACAF a better chance of having 4 teams represented in the world cup.


  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Every player has something to prove and show the coaching that deserve a ticket to Brazil. There is only a handful of games until the plane to Brazil takes off. Im GLAD our players played to win. That tells me 2 things:
    1) They want a ticket to Brazil
    2) We have Depth and Competition for spots is fierce


    • RP

      Everyone has been saying this.. and its true.

      But if you watched that game, you can not tell me the US players were going full throttle.

      Watch mins 70-85. The US has no urgency. Either on the ball or defending. It just turned out that Panama completely left Davis alone out wide..


  • Al_OC

    The $600 million bailout. US players that play in Mexico should get a 100% raise by their clubs, except for Bornstein; he already has a paid vacation in Honduras.


  • ed from houston

    it’s all good, we can hate Mex all we want, i’m just proud of our boys and their Hex campaign capped off by an exciting finish….


  • Chris H

    Simply put. If Panama, while playing at home in front of a massive supportive crowd, cannot beat the USA’s B/C squad, then they do not deserve to play in the World Cup. I feel badly for their heartache, but they need to use this, keep their coach, and keep building. They can continue to improve and make a case for 2018 if they expand upon their talent. Mexico, likely will rebuild and at least do okay at representing the CONCACAF in the cup (if they make it). All in all, concacaf teams performing well in the world cup helps us keep our number of seeds and play off spot.


  • Quit whining about soccer in the US

    I don’t wish any ill will on Mexico…at all. ok sort of.

    But man I feel for Panama. Close that game out, you already won it, inspite of a non-PK call that should have been a PK…..Dang.


    • RP

      Not sure it was PK, just outside the box. But damn that was a foul.
      Plus a second no call just a min or so b4 the goal.
      Both of those should have been fouls, who knows what happens if the whistle blows.


  • Andy

    I had mixed feelings, but now, knowing that when I’m in Columbus 4 years from now, when I’m at the Gold Cup final in 2015 and 2017, facing a Mexico fan, I’ll know, and they’ll know, that they had to rely on their non-football playing noisy neighbors to bail them out of missing the world cup. They won’t admit it, except perhaps in their inner most thoughts, but they know that we have surpassed them to become the undisputed leaders of CONCACAF.


  • Josh P

    I grew up paying soccer in Texas and Mexico. I have a special hate for the Mexican National Team and its fans. I’ve been spit on at the Mexico v. US games and watched little kids have trash thrown on them while watching. I am tired of the self entitlement of the Mexican players and fans. With all of that said, I am happy we won. I don’t care that Mexico gets a helping hand out of it. The best part is that they get to lose all over again when they play New Zealand. Soooo…..not only do we get to stick it to them that we saved their chances, but we can now revel in the fact that they will lose to New Zealand as well. I will never root for the US to lose no matter what our outcome does for someone else. A true winner, doesn’t care about those details.


  • RP

    It’s time Mexico and their fans were brought down to earth. They’ve acted entitled for too long.

    Plus if you lived the 2002 Round of 16 Live. Then you’ll never forget the disrespect and garbage they pulled.

    Off with their heads. For the first time in my life (after the 80th minute), I was rooting for a USA loss.


    • JRP

      This!! Disagree with 100%.
      Petty. And Lame.
      How many of those players from 2002 are still on the team?
      Also, don’t forget Donovan brags about pissing on their national stadium. Maybe we deserved some of the treatment?
      Can’t we just see them as a formidable foe?
      I never ever will cheer against the USA.


      • RP

        JRP how old are you?

        If you did not go through the 90s and 2002 as a die hard USMNT fan, then I dare say your disposition is probably softer than us who felt it when there was true disrespect coming from that side.

        This rift runs much deeper than the 2009 and 2011 Gold Cups.


  • Roman Lewandowski

    I have to wonder whether the recent resurgence of the US and struggles of Mexico will prompt more Mexican-Americans (particularly young ones) to support the US as their first team. I bet a Mexico loss to New Zealand really would do wonders in that department.


    • RP

      In addition to what I said below, this would be a benefit of Mexico missing out. It greatly reduces the chance of (example: Sacramento born kid circa 2000+) from choosing Mexico over the US.


    • AristotleTimVickery

      We may hate each other, but you know Orozco will definately be the man when he returns to club play in Mexico.


  • AlexH

    It was one of those cases where logic tells me that the USMNT should always play to win but nevertheless I still wanted to see the Mexicans sent home on their nalgas….


  • Adam M.

    Its actually better that we saved them in the end after they have been flailing around for months and we taught them another 2-0 lesson. Its almost parental. We have their respect and gratitude now. Now they go off to college in New Zealand. We’ll see if they learned their lesson.


  • Jose

    How do I feel? I feel like shit now!! Imagine Mexico goes to the WC and we meet them over there in the Knock out rounds and they take us out!!!


  • Norniron

    New Zealand certainly won’t be any pushover for Mexico. They will be playing with a lot of pride, and generally are tough competitors, albeit with a lack of any really great players. Remember that they tied Italy in the last WC.


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