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Mexico ruing frail mentality, setting sights toward future after latest qualifying setback


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COLUMBUS, Ohio — If Mexico was in serious danger and on high alert before Tuesday, it might now be reaching its equivalent of DEFCON 1.

El Tri suffered yet its latest setback in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night, losing once again to the U.S. Men’s National Team at Crew Stadium by the all-too-familiar score of 2-0. The result means that Mexico is now likely to finish the Hexagonal, at best, in fourth place, which would pit them against New Zealand in a home-and-home series to determine which nation qualifies for the 2014 World Cup.

“We are all responsible for this,” said Mexico interim head coach Luis Fernando Tena, who was hired for one game on Saturday after Jose Manuel ‘Chepo’ De La Torre was fired. “We’re a team. We win together, we lose together. We all need to assume responsibility and do a strong self-critique and start thinking about the game (in October) against Panama.”

Andres Guardado was even more candid in his postgame conversations with the media. The 26-year-old midfielder, who struggled to make an impact vs. the U.S., spoke about El Tri’s frail mentality and needing to fix that if they are to avert the once-unimaginable tragedy of failing to reach a World Cup.

“I don’t think we have the ability to react,” said Guardado, referencing Eddie Johnson’s game-winning goal in the 49th minute. “Unfortunately, us players are completely to blame. We cannot put our heads down, even after we get scored on and especially when there is so much time left in the second half.

“That was the key to today’s game. In the first half, we didn’t play bad at all, but with everything that is going on, your mind sometimes plays tricks on you. We don’t have confidence, we don’t have the ability to react and lift the spirit. It’s the reality of things.”

Guardado added that the Mexican players are unified as a team, but that still does not change the fact that El Tri are currently in a dire position. Mexico sit in fifth place in the Hexagonal standings behind Panama, who will visit Estadio Azteca in the two teams’ next match on October 11.

That should favor Mexico considering how strong it usually is at home, but this round of qualifying has been anything but typical for an El Tri side that is feeling the pressure after going 1-5-2 and winless at home.

“This is the reality of things,” said Guardado. “Each of us need to do a complete self-critique, head back to our club teams, clear ours heads a little bit and return in October if we are called back in, and know that we are playing for our lives in these next two games.”

Whether Mexico does that with Tena still at the helm remains to be seen. Tena said he has not yet made a decision on if he would like to stick around beyond Tuesday night’s game against the United States, who he had plenty of praise for and whose size, particularly on set pieces, was the reason why he inserted some taller players into his lineup.

What Tena is certain of is that Mexico has players with the necessary quality and character to turn this catastrophic campaign around before it is too late.

“The players have shown many times their quality, personality, character in several competitions,” said Tena. “The players have given their all, fought, run. We have no complaints about that. Yes, we showed some desperation at the end when we were losing, which leads to disorganization that the opponents took advantage of.

“But I think the players always have shown the effort and fight, and it’s obvious that the quality has been demonstrated quite often as well as the character and personality.”

Another coaching change could come before now and October, but that is not guaranteed to solve Mexico’s laundry list of problems, problems that have Mexican fans and media sharpening their knives and pitchforks.

“This is very embarrassing for us, very embarrassing,” said Guardado when asked what he would like to tell El Tri’s angered fanbase. “We haven’t been able to represent the Mexican jersey in the manner in which it should be represented and that’s it. There’s not much else to say to them. They have their way to judge us and it’s very respectable, because, truthfully, we don’t deserve it.”

El Tri may sound like a team whose psyche is beyond repair, but a win at home over Panama next month is all that could be needed for Mexico to salvage their World Cup dreams.

Accomplishing that probably won’t be easy for El Tri, nothing in this round has been. But it’s not impossible, not as long as they make a serious attempt at avoiding to dwell on a past that is unchangeable and thinking more about a future that isn’t.

“When things don’t go well, when you enter such a negative dynamic like the one we’re in, sometimes you need a a magic wand in order to change things,” said Guardado. “We know that magic wand is not going arrive. It has to be us that react to change this and qualify for the World Cup.

“We are the ones stuck in this problem and no one is going to come save us, so we need to clears our heads and be conscious of what we’re playing for, because at times it looks like we don’t know what we’re playing for, which is a World Cup. Panama is our last chance to try and get to the World Cup and we need to focus on that.”


  1. i don’t know about y’all but i’m thrilled that mexico is not playing well and i really hope that they fail to reach the WC. the mexicans have never done anything in the soccer world that made me like them. the region is getting stronger and it is great to see.

  2. I like how they are FINALLY changing things. It’s way to late in the year that they are doing this. One major problem is Corona. They need to bring back Ochoa. He has the pride and is WAY better than Corona.

  3. I haven’t seen it mentioned specifically on this site, but does anyone else get tired of the “USA needs Mexico to have a strong team” rhetoric from the likes of Lalas, Wahl, etc.? I just don’t get that assertation at all. Think about the time from 1950-1990, when the USMNT mattered very little in the region, let alone the world. Mexico hosted the World Cup twice, and advanced to two WC quarterfinals, both at home, but during that window of 1950-1990. By the logic applied above, Mexico should have done worse since the USMNT was a ghost, but they arguably had their most success when they were the king of the region. Both the USMNT and Mexico have won a combined one knockout round game from 1990-2010, which leads me to believe that neither team has really pushed each other to take that next step, and if anything, really illustrates just how woefully pathetic the USMNT program was in the grand scheme of things. I’m of the opinion that a weak Mexico makes for a better USMNT, because of the regional dynamics involved. Weaker Mexico means more people focusing on the USMNT, which means more youth choosing our side, which means (potentially) more and better professionals in this country. I compare it to the state of Kansas, which I live in. Kansas Univesity has basketball, and when they succeed by winning national titles, does Kansas State University benefit from it? No. When Kansas State wins the Big XII in football and Kansas has a 20+ conference game losing streak, does Kansas feel the benefits in their football program? No. CONCACAF is only big enough to support one major program, and when Mexico succeeds, it does not benefit the USMNT. Mexico can miss this WC and every other one ever for all I care, because we’ll reap the benefits.

    • I disagree vehemently. As a matter of fact as an evil Longhorn alum, I think your Big 12 analogy is wrongly used. Is Jayhawk Basketball bad ass? Sure. But how many Championships did Roy Williams win at Kansas? Zero. It wasn’t till he moved to North Carolina that he won one….where the ACC is a much stronger conference in Basketball. IN football, if Texas or OU leave, the conference would take a massive blow in prestige.

      Point blank the people who want Mexico to falter so much usually just hate brown people in General. Lets be honest about that.

      • Fair argument, I guess, although Kansas did win titles with the coach before AND after Williams. Now you have to wonder if both countries have essentially maxed out then, because now that both are considered top dogs in the region and still the best either could muster was a quarterfinal berth in the WC, which was 100% because of being paired against each other, how do we know if either country can have a further breakthrough?

        Your last line is ridiculous, by the way. Not as ridiculous as how Kansas State owns you guys, but ridiculous nonetheless.

  4. I never understood what Chepo was doing wrong ’till a Mexican friend turned me to a Sbnation article. It is a pretty devastating critique. I think a new coach can do a lot between now and October.

    1. He has the chance to get Vela and Ochoa in. Are they a magical answer? No. But both are pretty hot right now and it makes sense to me to start Vela over Little Pea if the former is getting hot minutes in la Liga and the latter doesn’t have the killer instinct at a fine edge from time on the bench.

    2. He can bring in Aldo de Nigris. I’ve noticed Chicarito has a MUCH easier time when de Nigris is around. He absorbs a lot of punishment and always gets the tallest defender assigned to him on set pieces, thus freeing somebody else up.

    Anyways, the first 15 minutes of the game last night showed what Mexico can do, and why US fans should want a solid Mexico going into the World Cup, and a solid Mexico in Concacaf in general. A strong Mexico helps protect the 3.5 spots in the World Cup from FIFA meddling, and gives the US the tough sounding board to keep wanting to get better.

    • Haven’t watched many of the El Tri games this year but Corona’s been pretty good in goal, no?? I thought Ochoa was acting childish and not accepting a call up without being guaranteed the starting spot.

      • I don’t get the Ochoa calls neither – to me Corona has been very good. The issues from what I can see for Mexico are these:
        1) like the USMNT, their fullbacks aren’t that great at the moment.
        2) I know he’s supposed to be the future, but Diego Reyes has been mediocre at the international level. I appreciate he plays for a big club like FC Porto, but that doesn’t always translate to the international game.
        3) When Mexico hit those peaks in 2011, Gerardo Torrado was at the top of his game, he was a leader of men, and was a great ball winner and distributer. With age now, his form and fitness has dipped and they’ve struggled to replace him.
        4) The dip in form of players like Chicharito and Pablo Barrera. Wingers can have mercurial dips and rises in form, which can easily explain Barrera (that ill-conceived move to West Ham didn’t help). Also, when you have a forward like Chicharito who converts every half chance that comes his way and attracts so much attention, he opened up space for guys like dos Santos and Guardado – now that his form has dropped with injury and lack of playing time with Man Utd, he doesn’t attract the attention nor create the space he once did.

        Some of the issues above can be contributed to Chepo (player selection), but players’ drop in form and injury has nothing to do with any national team manager.

    • Isn’t the fact that Mexico is in 5th place mean that the region is improving? Teams like Costa Rica and Honduras are stepping up and becoming quality teams. Just because Mexico is struggling does not mean the region is weak.

  5. We should kick Mexico while they are down. For years of being condescending to US soccer. For decades of being disrespectful to the US. For their lack of sportsmanship over the years. They don’t deserve to go to the World Cup. They finally went to their knees in front of the USA their soccer masters. They don’t deserve to go they QUIT after the first goal they had NO fight. They did not WANT it and the plain suck.
    They are Don Flamingo to our Rocky. We rightfully should stomp on them….

    But that would require us losing and tanking the Panam game which the US should….but won’t .
    Ugh we don’t have it in us to lay down and not win. Ugh!!! Unlike Mexico we have no quit in our DNA.
    So inspite of Mexico deserving to watch Rio on TV we will save them.
    Not because we want to..we just won’t let ourselves lose.
    So we will save Mexico like we saved Honduras last time.

    • Oh common, They had plenty of fight in the 2011 Gold Cup. They are just suffering from the reverberations of an epic coaching meltdown…its not something endemic of the team.

    • Dude relax with all that shit u talking because the US ain’t shit and wow there in first place so what. Mexico has gone to more world cups that the US. Another thing u know damn well the US ain’t no us team they pay and give citizenship for other players from different country’s. They got 2 Mexican American in there team puto.

      • Seems pretty funny, since all “foreign” players on the USMNT were born American citizens, yet El Tri fielded at least 1 naturalized player last night (Gimenez).

      • No one on the USA squad was naturalized. Everyone had either a father or a mother or both who was an American citizen, No need for naturalization in that case. You even break your own (albeit very thin already) argument (if you can call is that) when you complain about Mexican Americans being on the squad. Hmm, yeah, they have Mexican heritage but were born in the USA. That pretty much makes then just as American as Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan. Everyone in the USA came from another country (at least some where in their heritage). Their just are not enough good Native Americans to fill out a roster (by Native Americans, I mean those whose ancestors where here before Europeans landed on the shores 600+ years ago).

      • First time in years usa is in first place doesnt mean anything especially when u get knocked out in the first round of the world cup, mexico gots better quality players position by position they just need a capable head coach cause all weve had before have apparantly no knowledge in coaching, dont get to cocky US fans cause you guys always do, expect to see mexico in the world cup and if we face the US we will win i can promise u that, ohh and another thing dont be calling mexico fans “classless” just because i fan is stupid

      • Ohh and unlike us mexico dont need foreign players if they have any its because its a luxury it aint a need like the US does, therea a reason why US has those mexican american players its cause their left over mexico didnt want or need even if they were on the mexican national team they would never play cause we got 2 or 3 players that are superior to them by a bunch, i wanna see US play with 100% american players no foreign blood and lets see how they do

      • Then why don’t you demand Mex. play with 100% Mexican players, with no foreign blood … including Spanish? Get over yourself, ALL Americans came from somewhere else, just a matter of whether it’s 1 generation or 5.

        Finally, to your “we got 2 or 3 players that are superior to them by a bunch” comment: Know this, your “superior” players did NOT just lose Tuesday. Worse, they QUIT … and with 30 mins. still to play. Do you at least have the decency to be embarrassed by that?

      • Diego the Mexicans currently do not have better players at every position. Part of why Mexico has not done well is because of coaching. But part of it is the Mexican players are not as good or as strong as the American players. Vela would help because he is good. Chicarito
        , dos Santos and Guardado are vastly overrated.

      • la verdad que eres un estupido. por que no te informas antes de hablar huevadas concha tu madre!! oh and did you forget sinha, guillermo franco, gimenez, etc??? none of them were born in mexico and none of them have mexican parents. IDIOT!

      • Dude how about Gimenez? Leondro? Franco ?

        Hypocrite !!


        Which country last got kicked out of a World Cup for Cheating! Yes mexico hijo de puta!!!!

      • metro Chris. I got an idea. All of here on this site are all going to get together and yell “Puto!” all together just as you are about to write your next line.

      • Hey Mexican why you need to use the word puto unless you are hurt in your ass….. HAHAHA….. Pendejo… Ahora si que YA SE DESARMO como en la propaganda de Budlight…. Y VAS A IR AL MUNDIAL ASI TE DUELA

    • Why do people, including ESPN, keep referring to the world cup as Rio? It’s not the olympics. The WC takes place all over the country not just one specific city.

    • So with Mexico on a run of poor form and the USMNT riding high, all of a sudden US fans are on on their high horse talking down to the rest of CONCACAF. Talking about we will save this team, kick this team while they’re down, blah, blah..

      Enjoy your good fortunes USMNT fan, remember, this is just qualifying for WC2014 and not the finals themselves. You better hope that your good form doesn’t get left in the qualifiers.

    • Am I alone in this? It seems everyone assumes that if Mexico takes 4th and gets a playoff, they are as good as inked for Brazil. I wouldn’t put my money on that bet. Under normal circumstances, Mexico would have no trouble with New Zealand, but…. these are not “normal” circumstances. This Mexican team is in absolute shambles and the pressure in country and for those players will be over the top. Unless things turn and an entirely new mentality is found, the possibility of a motivated Kiwi team determined to bunker in on defense and score on set pieces taking down El Tri is not at all out of the question.

      • On second thought, between “El Tie” and NZ, the amount of tie-ed-ness might cause some sort of tear in the fabric of the universe.

  6. As Howard Cossell once said “you have to wonder” Wonder is what I am doing. How can a country, which went unbeaten untied in the previous three groups of four, and won in 2012 the Olympic Gold Medal be performing so badly? Twice against Honduras they could not hold a two goal away, and a one goal at home lead. It makes me wonder if something more insidious is going on. What would have been the odds at the beginning of this competition that Mexico would have been finishing possibly in forth place, or even in third? After having lost two straight to Panama in at the Gold Cup, I think that the third game at home will be the charm and Mexico will win. What if the game is a tie though. I could see the possibility of a Mexico that does not even finish in forth.

    • I wonder also. It seems that Mexico believed all of the hype around the ‘golden generation’ and thought they would just win…always. USMNT wins several games (including last night) by fighting…knowing they would have to perform to their full ability to win. Mexico has lost that drive.

      • England suffered from the “golden generation” hype as well. Belgium, on the other hand, seems to be tearing it up with their “golden generation”!

    • Now that we’ve defeated our mortal enemies, its time to help them get back on their feet. They are our neighbors after all, and their success heightens the view of Concacaf football. We should do the same for Canada for Jamaica, however, lets not forget that Mexico really does have talent and their presence at the World cup could lead to some damage being done. Imagine U.S. vs Mex in the semis in Brazil.

      • That’s not a winning mentality.. We can’t coddle everyone.. No one does it for us. We get to the top by grit and hard work, not making our rivals cupcakes and wiping their nose.

      • I agree that a good Mexican side and/or strong CONCACAF helps the US raise its game and I openly pull for any team in the region playing teams outside the region. That said…. the ONLY way the US can or should “help” Mexico is through accountability… giving a proper beat down when they don’t measure up. I would expect the same courtesy from Mexico of course. Call it, healthy competition through mutual respect.

        Wouldn’t hurt US fans to remember the state of our psyche and program a short time ago. Things change quickly in the world of sports. Mexico will right the ship, there’s too much talent and love of the sport in thier country.

      • I don’t buy that argument that Mexico being there helps CONCACAF that I’ve read about hear and elsewhere today.

        Our region, without a doubt, has gotten much stronger. Teams that have been on the top for so long just don’t have the ironclad grip on their position anymore.

        If Asia gets 4 spots, we should definitely keep what we currently have, regardless of whether Mexico makes it to the World Cup or not.

    • To quote another comment:
      “Chicharito is an in-the-box striker…which means he relies on service to be successful. He’s getting nothing at Mexico right now. If Mexico can re-discover their great wing play, you’ll see him score again.”
      He has 35 goals for Mexico, which ties him for 3rd, 46 being the best for them. He has only played for the senior NT since 09, other players took 10+years to get 35 goals.

  7. I think they got what they deserved for dithering. Their struggles were readily apparent at this round started and progressed, at Confed Cup, at Gold Cup. They kept letting the coach stay until they got whooped at home by Honduras and then they faced a road USA game that can hardly be thrown together. Now they are in serious danger of missing out and have a best hope for a playoff spot. The coaching has been poor but at some point FMF is responsible for cumulative inactivity as well.

    Beyond that, I see a mismatch between tactics and personnel. There is no Borgetti but they cross the ball a bunch like they have one. The team seems to have a lot of smaller technical players who should be playing possession and combos — like they often have historically — but they attack down the wings and over the top like they’re running out Jozy for them. I’m sure there are also some personnel decisions that could be made to improve the side and reduce its age, but they should start by hiring a coach who plays a more suitable style.

    But let’s be real, the time for thorough-going overhauls was this past summer when teams are in camp for weeks. Right now you get the players for a week and two games. They’d need a magician to change the mentality that fast. About all they can do for now is mix up the selection and try and improve the talent called in.

  8. As a US fan, I consider Mexico to be our greatest rival. I want to beat them more than any other team.

    With that said, I root for Mexico when they play against anybody else. I have watched with pride in recent years as Mexico has represented our region with skill and integrity. I will be very sad if they don’t compete in the World Cup.

    • I agree. I support the US first and then other Concacaf teams in major competitions. To watch Mexico’s youth teams and Olympic team achieve so much success in the past decade or so has been, I think, a real eye-opener to the world as to the quality that this region can produce. Mexico failed to let go of a coach who simply wasn’t getting this indisputably talented group to play up to their potential. No offense to Panama, but I want the best representatives of Concacaf in Brazil.

      • this made me think…has there ever been an All Star Confed Cup? The best 23 players from each confederation? Would be kind of cool.

      • Very interesting idea, I love it! Turn it into a “HEX” where each team plays ten games, 5 home/5 away. Don’t even both with practice. Just assemble the players and play!, since the tournament wouldn’t really mean anything, other than being great entertainment generating revenue which could be used for charitable purposes. On paper, teams CONMEBOL and UEFA would dominate the “HEX” and face each other in the final. No one from England would make the starting 11. That would be filled with guys from Portugal, Wales, France, Poland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Germany. Maybe one Englishman makes the bench (Rooney, Baines, Hart, Gerrard – pick one). Oceana should include all of the Far East and SE Asia Island Nations (eg – Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Phillippines) to give them a chance.

      • That would be a great idea, but who would feature for CONCACAF?

        Dos Santos—Bradley——Ruiz———Donovan

        Bench/Reserves: Chicharito, Altidore, K. Jones, Guardado, Oviedo, J. Jones, Guzan, Borges, Mariappa

      • What’s your lineup then? I have Figueroa who is Honduran on my back line, and El Salvador has Zelaya up for attacking, but he’s young and caught up in a match fixing scandal, while panama has a few older guys who are solid players, but honestly I don’t rate them above these other players.

  9. If Tena is suggesting that his lineup choices were determined to neutralize the USA size advantage, then he really blew it. Mexico isn’t going to be able to compete against the USA that way. Mexico has to play their up-tempo, possession game.

    • I agree with what you say. It should be noted that EJ is exceptionally gifted at heading the ball, particularly into the goal, and at the highest levels. Only Germany and perhaps Italy can defend well against our arial attack when Goodson, Gonzo, and especially EJ are in the lineup.

  10. Things can change around. Klinnsmann was talking about how Germany barely qualified for the 1999 wolrd cup, and then they won it all. The US still needs to get better if they want to accomplish anything in Brazil.

  11. As much as many would like Mexico to fail, we should want the strongest CONCACAF representatives as possible to get the most World Cup spots.

    And that includes Mexico.

    • Mexico lost to Panama twice in the Gold Cup. Panama made the final. One of the virtues of a double round robin is I think teams have few real complaints about who emerges. After 10 games (plus perhaps 2 more) I don’t care if it upsets tradition or “what’s best for CONCACAF,” it is what it is.

      Also, Panama held Mexico scoreless in Panama, and they’ll get their shot in Azteca May the best team win. I think we’d be nuts to send an A team to Panama with quali clinched, so if they can get a result in Mexico, they might also get a result from us. Mexico would then have to go to San Jose for a result as well, and I don’t care if CR fields their B side the rivalry will make it a tough game.

      Honduras is not necessarily a 100% lock for the 3rd spot after tying Panama at home, given that they travel to CR next. But they do have a good finale in Jamaica if they need 3.

      • I’m torn on the A v. B team in Panama. Part of me wants to send our A team down to further acclimate the younger “regular” guys to hostile environments they will continue to face in later qualifications.

        Another part of me wants them to bring in a team of younger players to see how they react to a hostile environment.

        It’s a nice problem to debate

      • There are plenty of depth questions to be answered. These next games will be perfect to test those out.

        They will be ‘fun’. A chance to further rate fence sitters and watch the madness that will be panama, mexico, honduras.

    • I disagree. It includes the best teams in CONCAFAF after two years of qualifying, and if CR and Honduras outperform Mexico, then they deserve to go to Brazil. If Panama knocks off Mexico next month, then they deserve to go. I applaud the fact that these countries have steadily improved and can now compete for a spot in the WC. It also wouldn’t surprise me if one of those countries performs well next summer.

    • I wouldn’t quite go that far… but I would cap tie the hell out of some guys!

      Also, how has chicharito looked for Man U this year? He doesn’t seem the same player for the Mexican team as he used to.

      • He’s barely stepped on the pitch.
        Chicharito is an in-the-box striker…which means he relies on service to be successful. He’s getting nothing at Mexico right now. If Mexico can re-discover their great wing play, you’ll see him score again.

  12. Mexico remind me of alot of US companies (Kodak and IBM come to mind) that have it well for a long period of time but do not innovate and eventually fall behind. CONCACAF has slowly been improving thanks in large part to the USA and the emergence of the MLS-just look at the rosters of Jamaica, Honduras and Panama which are sprinkled with MLS players. Mexico still has the mentality that they are great because they are Mexico and hence have lost ground to all of their competitors….10-15 years ago Mexican-Americans players would have scoffed at representing the US over Mexico….with the recent turn in form I wouldn’t be surprised to see our pool of players with the Mex-American connection increase in the next 10 years along with more fan support from that contingent.

    • I’m not sure how you can compare IBM and Kodak. Kodak clung to a dying technology, while IBM sold off their computer division and became a great services company.

    • I think Mexico has departed from the style that made them special — think Apple in their down period. Some snobs may frown on Panama but they play a style well suited to their athletic players. Mexico has departed from the possession game suited to their technical players.

      I also think Mexico, as the most mature soccer team of the bunch, with the best league, is ironically the most dependent on clubs for development. As you start signing more and more players, around the globe, at early ages, reflecting your quality, you turn over a lot of the development to the clubs.

      I think at the Hex level the differences among teams are small but Mexico has handed away many tactical and technical advantages, is a tad old in some spots, and could call in some more talent in other areas. Have enough glitches and I think that’s the difference between a serious team and one that ends up in NZ or watching. After all, about every team in this Hex has beaten the others recently……Jamaica beat us in the last round, Panama Gold Cup before last.

  13. Mexico tries to play like Barcelona/Spain but they don’t have a dominant defensive midfielder (read: Busquets) cleaning things up. That’s why every time the opposition gets into Mexico’s final third, the Mexican defensive positioning looks precarious. (I am hereby using the anonymity of the internet to spout my fake tactical know-how.) Go USMNT.

  14. I agree entirely with those who say the absence of Vela is a significant factor. Imagine if the US were in this predicament and Michael Bradley was off the team merely starring for Roma. People would be going bonkers here. If anyone recalls, it was Vela who came on at halftime of the 2009 Gold Cup final and was the main reason a 0-0 game turned into a 5-0 drubbing. He was that good. I haven’t seen him play for Sociedad, but it sounds like he is in top form.

    But I wonder if the old issue that too many of their players are in the Mexican League and not in better leagues is coming to haunt them. I think that’s always been something of a concern, and maybe now it really is stifling player development. (I worry about that for the US too as more players are not in Europe, like Deuce.)

    • Vela is a top quality player…actually got to see him alot last year watching the Spanish league games and he is really good…mainly the reason Sociedad gained a Champions League berth along with griezmann…
      Also don’t forget that Guillermo Ochoa is also declining call-ups to the Mexican national team due to no guarantee of him being the starter–after seeing the USA’s first goal and the awful mistake made by the current keeper I wouldn’t be surprised to see him brought back in…saw him against PSG and he played out of his skin.

      • Agreed about Ochoa. What is it with guys wanting to be guaranteed starters? That is supposedly the issue with Vela too. Fight for a starting spot. Landon is the best US player ever and he didn’t whine for a guaranteed starting spot – he got out there with a mostly B team in the Gold Cup and earned his spot yesterday. Are there US players who have demanded starting positions with the USMNT?

      • I think the issue the USA had for a long time was that there was no depth…while no one demanded a starting position there were guaranteed starters as the second option was just too scary….thankfully that is not the case anymore and guys will certainly need to earn their stripes over the next 9 months for a plane ticket to Brazil.

    • I don’t like the Vela-Bradley comp because they have completely different roles in their team. If anything it should be a Vela-Donovan comp. The US was first in the hex without Donovan after 6 games. At the end of the day Vela is a great player, but the amount he is going to bring to the team over Christian Gimenez is overrated. Mexico has bigger problems tactically than just adding Vela.

  15. Carlos Vela.

    In top form at Real Sociedad. Champions League Form.

    With him and Dos Santos on wings attacking, and Chicharito lurking in box, they could be dynamic.

    But their backline is vulnerable, especially in air and against stronger players.

    • What about the midfield? It’s either creaking slow Torrado and Salcido or wet behind the ears Herrera and Zavala.

      Jones and Bradley > Herrera/Zavala > Torrado/Salcido

      They need to get that fixed as well as Vela/Dos Santos feeding the little pea.

    • Considering the top 2 “visiting” fans for a World Cup are usually: 1. Brazilians, and 2. Mexicans? Yeah, I’d say FIFA is going to feel the lack of funds.

      • I’ve read that the most WC tickets are sold to US buyers.

        Of course, who those people root for is how Brazil and Mexico contingents are so large.

      • FIFA will be just fine. And if Mexico is so terrible that they can’t make it, then there’s nothing FIFA can or will do about it.

        You know who is going to really feel the lack of funds? The FMF. If they don’t qualify here, this is going to stretch into multiple cycles. I’m as giddy as Kasey Keller.

  16. There’s a simple cure for the Mexicans frail mentality. His name is Carlos Vela.

    Right now he probably is nodding his head that he has stayed away from this trainwreck.

    • He refused to play under Chepo, so let’s see if he answers the call and becomes a Mexican hero. I haven’t watched him this season, is he doing well?

      The strikers aren’t really the problem. It’s more getting them the ball. There’s just no passing or movement or creativity. That number 7, stocky little guy was their only hope of creating through the middle. Not sure why he was taken off.

      • I agree with you josh d. I too was surprised when they took out “Chaco” Giminez, until that I point i thought he was one of their most involved players, I would still say that even so they need a Carlos Vela, not sure if his problem was with Chepo or with the federation, Ochoa their once untouchable keeper, who is paying great in France also refused a this latest call up to the because he was not a guaranteed starter…

    • Yes, brilliant idea.. bringing in a guy who doesn’t want to represent his country will do loads for team chemistry.Surely that will increase their frail mentality

  17. For once, the FMF is treading ground that US Soccer has already crossed. They are struggling with building a coherent program out of a player pool that is split between the domestic leagues and Europe. Even if they they manage to sqeeuze out qualification, they are going to need a serious strategic rethink of how they run their national team program.

    For example, do they move out of Azteca because the European based players face the same altitude problems that visiting players do? Are there more camps in Europe and more attempts to play there instead of milking their US-based cash cows? How do they handle travel arrangements? How are they building relationships with European clubs?

    And so on. It’s a top to bottom rethink that required.

    • That’s asking way too much. There are Mexicans who would say rethinking everything is a must but the majority will say that just need to get new players or some such easy band aid solution.

      Mexico wins youth cups well but that doesn’t translate to the senior level. It’s clear that MLS is on the rise while the Mexican league is a cash making machine who’s quality remains the same. MLS is catching up and will surpass Mexican clubs because us soccer has set its sights much higher.

      Many concocaf teams have benefited from MLS. Every other nt has this great diversity of players playing all over but Mexico has players from their top flight league and a smattering of euros. The us has players from MLS, Europe and many in Mexico. The diversity of the yanks has made them more multi faceted than ever.

    • This is hilarious. I’m not saying that I disagree with you, but less than a year ago everyone was saying that the sky was falling in the US because our national teams were struggling and the Mexican teams were winning youth World Cups left and right at every age level. People were saying that we need to look at Mexico and the way they’ve structured their system from top to bottom. The Mexican league is so much better than MLS and they players make so much more money there. Now less than a year later people are saying that Mexico needs to blow things up and start over.

      Grant Wahl, Avi Creditor and Ives (among many other knowledgeable soccer journalists so as not to single anyone out) were saying that Mexico should be expected to finish first in CONCACAF qualifying and I remember Wahl even saying that Mexico should be considered one of the favorites in the World Cup. Now El Tri can’t even win at Azteca.

      As a red-blooded American I have to say I am enjoying Mexico’s little crisis, and I would really enjoy it if they didn’t make it to Brazil. But there is a part of me that is afraid that if they don’t make it, they’ll come back much, much stronger. Maybe they can just make the playoff, beat New Zealand, and then leave Brazil with whimper, only to continue along in mediocrity for the next 10-12 years. Maybe more of those dual-national kids will start playing for the US and the tide will continue to turn in our favor.

      Mexico will probably figure it out sooner rather than later, but until then, I can dream.

      • One could say this all part of the ups and downs of sports but for Mexico NT this is a large dip. If they fail to qualify it will be felt for a long while. What other sport do Mexicans care about even a tenth as much as soccer? There is none. This sport is it for these guys.

        I see you took my name Pablo.

  18. Why assume Mexico is “likely” to secure that 4th play-in spot? Panama has talent and a lot more heart. I favor Panama’s chances over Mexico’s.

    • Panama play Mexico away and the US at home. A far harder final two games than Mexico. I hope Panama make it through though. Their coach is a fantastic young manager. He’s pulled that team up and really helped them challenge.

      It’s funny how Jamaica were written off before the last two games. IF they had won both, they’d be in fourth now.

    • I agree that I don’t really understand why everybody believes Mexico still has such an easy path. Their first game is against Panama at home, where they have collected 3 out of a possible 12 points and scored a solitary goal (in a loss). Not to mention Panama beat them twice at the Gold Cup.

      The final game is in Costa Rica. Does anybody remember what happened to us there ummm.. 5 days ago? Sure they have qualified, but does that mean they won’t play hard in front of their home fans, with a chance to win the hex potentially in the balance? Seems to me I remember we had already qualified four years ago, when a certain Costa Rica team came to visit in the final round with a lot more on the line than us.

      I think Mexico squeaks through via a detour to NZ, but it should be a very nervous final month of the hex

  19. mexico was been over-rated, cheats with PED and help from refs and CONCACAF officials. mexico’s arrogance with petty insults towards region (CONCACAF), lack respect national anthem, condensing attitudes towards some South Americans (like good people of Uruguay) hasn’t help mexico sympathy or friendship with the rest of Americas. I full support brothers from Panama and Honduras, and I won’t be like ESPN kissing-up to mexico.

    • “Cheats with PED” Are you referring to the 2011 Gold cup, want to know why FIFA threw that case out the window? They threw it out because in the 2011 U-17 WC hosted in Mexico, 100+ participating players also tested positive for Clenbuterol. We all know food regulations aren’t the same in every country, the meat in Mexico was contaminated as it continues to be to this day.

      • CONFED Cup in 2005, under 17’s 2011, Gold Cup 2011, and some players in MX were using clen. Salvador Carmona failed doping test, some year ago in league game.

      • Did you not read my comment? 100+ participating U-17 players tested positive (i.e. Mexican players were not the only ones testing positive).
        Also, just like in 2011, at the 2005 Confederations both Carmona and Galindo were sent home after testing positive. Carmona then failed a doping test again and the Mexican federation banned him FOR LIFE from playing professional soccer since 2007.

  20. The Azteca is going to be on a knife edge on October 11. The fans will be maniacal, and if Mexico starts out well it could snowball. But if Mexico should struggle, or fall behind, the fans could turn on them. It’s gut-check time for El Tri.

    • I think if Panama scores first in Azteca, Mexico doesn’t make it to the end of the first half.

      The urine bombs will be coming for Gio as he prepares to take corners.

  21. Let’s also not forget that Bob Bradley’s Egypt just went 6-0-0 in their group. Bradley, working in circumstances few, if any, soccer coaches ever will, is doing as much for the US soccer as our national team.

    • How is BB doing as much for US soccer as our national team? I don’t agree.

      I think you are getting carried away emotionally. BB is a great guy, great coach, and has worked in incredibly difficult circumstances/conditions to bring an Egypt team to the front of their group. I really don’t see how he is doing as much for US soccer as our national team. I think he is doing wonders for US coaches and is increasing their worldwide exposure and credibility, but don’t know how you can honestly compare what he is doing to what the USMNT is doing/currently done. They are completely separate entities charting different paths.

      • doing wonders for US coaches opens doors for US players, who play for the US, and thus benefits US Soccer. It’s not really a hard string of logic to follow. The more players/coaches/front office people that go abroad, the better our image is. The better the image is, the more likely it is that players get signed to bigger, and better leagues.

      • I don’t follow you Patrick. My point is that these are non-competing and completely separate circumstances. Please don’t mince my words, the point that I refute is that BB is doing as much for US soccer as our national team is currently. You are misconstruing my message and making different points that I neither have issue with, nor choose to debate.

    • That’s great that Bob is doing so well.

      But the rest of that is a bit silly. Bradley is doing next to nothing for US Soccer. He’s just some head coach of an African team as far as the world is concerned.

      • Next to nothing? You think the world will not notice that an *American* coach is doing this? Do you know that it’s nearly impossible almost anywhere outside the US right now for an American coach to be hired? Don’t you think we have so many players in Europe now because some 15-20 years ago people like Harkes and Reyna showed that they were good enough to play in top European leagues?

        The rest of the world is not terribly impressed by the US team qualifying out of CONCACAF. It hardly causes a ripple. Bradley’s coaching job is being noticed.

      • Don’t know what he’s doing for US Soccer… but he is doing a hell of a lot for the USA by displaying character, determination and foucs in the midst of a nearly impossible situation.

    • Bob Bradley is a champ. How courageous is that whole Egyptian campaign for the world
      Cup while the whole country is in disarray.

      Does Michael Bradley have a son? If so I can’t wait to see the champ he will be playing the sport.

    • Good for Bob Bradley, let Bob Bradley cashing-in and show the rest of the World that USA could export managers for national teams and top clubs. Too bad Samson was cut rather soon from Costa Rica.

    • At a minimum, we have to recognize that even before he was coach of the MNT, he sired, raised, and trained up a pretty darn good midfielder.

      • I just had to take this moment and chuckle to myself in commemoration of all those hilarious nepotism complaints all of 3 or 4 years ago. Really does grant you some perspective on how absurd we fans can be A:)

    • I am not sure saying he is doing a lot for US soccer is correct, but he certainly is demonstrating that a US coach can be successful elsewhere and is doing so under very challenging circumstances. 6-0-0 is quite an achievement, I hope Egypt is rewarded with one of the easier opponents for their final qualifying games

      • FWIW, from the FIFA website, the determination for Africa’s final round of qualifying will be based on next Thursday’s FIFA rankings and Egypt will likely be 5th out of the 10 teams that qualified in Africa, that means Egypt will most likely play one of the lower ranked teams. But it is a drawing and it is not clear tome if they will consider the first 5 teams, or just the top 2 or 3.

    • I don’t think it is necessarily a detriment to a class coach like Bradley to have the domestic league suspended where he can run NT camps all the time. Think of the 94 USA squad or the US youth teams at Bradenton before early signings started shifting development to the clubs. Everyone else has to deal with club-country. You are focused on October/November.

      FWIW, they had a soft group draw and their likelihood of advancement through the 2-leg playoffs will depend on the draw at that stage as well.

    • Despite what anyone else on here says or will say, I completely agree. In the bigger picture, this definitely has a very significant impact on US Soccer, the scope of which goes far beyond the Men’s National Team. We’re talking about a coach who came through the college ranks to the domestic league and on to the national team. Bradley is the coach that he is because of US Soccer at large, and Egypt benefits from that as a result. A quantifiable standard may not exist to note the exact difference between how the USMNT helps US Soccer over Bradley’s Egypt squad, but I sense that these comments greatly dismiss just how close that gap is in reality…

    • Do we recall past cases where a country in turmoil rallied behind their country in the WC & Olympics. BB is performing a coaching miracle considering the working conditions and political climate he has to deal with. I wish him all the best.


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