The U.S. made history last August, defeating Mexico in Estadio Azteca for the first time ever. Will that victory provide comfort or confidence in Tuesday's Hex qualifier? We asked four players to tell us.
March 26, 2013
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MEXICO CITY—Is your mezcal glass half-empty or half-full?
Depending on your perspective, you could consider Mexico a huge favorite in tonight's World Cup qualifier at Estadio Azteca (10:30 p.m., ESPN) or you could argue that the United States has established some important momentum. We talked to four players about this very topic, and they had some interesting observations.
But first, some stats in favor of El Tri:
The USA is now 1-23-1 all-time in Mexico.
The U.S. has yet to post a win in Mexico during World Cup Qualifying, holding a 0-13-1 record heading into Tuesday’s game.
The U.S. is 1-8-1 in Estadio Azteca, including a 0-5-1 record in World Cup Qualifying.
Overall, the USA is 16-32-12 all-time in international competition against Mexico and 5-15-5 in World Cup Qualifying. The USA’s 60 previous meetings against Mexico are the most against any country in U.S. Soccer’s history.
Looks pretty grim from an American perspective, doesn't it? That said, the U.S. has some stats it can call on to bolster its confidence.
The Jurgen Klinsmann era began when the United States and Mexico played to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 10, 2011, in Philadelphia. Robbie Rogers scored a 73rd-minute equalizer for the U.S.
Since 2000, the USA has posted an 11-5-3 record against Mexico.
The U.S. won the last meeting between these two teams at Estadio Azteca, a 1-0 victory on August 15, 2012. Michael Orozco Fiscal scored the game's only goal in the 80th minute.
Given that last bullet point, ASN asked four American players if the American victory last August means anything heading into Tuesday's match. Here's what they told us.
OMAR GONZALEZ: "Yeah, sure. That was the first time we ever won. That’s something that we can build off of. I think it built momentum that we can do it. Now it’s just up to us to build the right team and bring the right effort. Hopefully we can do it."
HERCULEZ GOMEZ: "Can’t hurt. Obviously, it was a friendly. But it was our first time winning in the Azteca. We’re aware of that. But by no means do we feel that this gives us an edge or an advantage—physically, mentally, psychologically, whatever you want to call it. We’re still going into this game knowing it’s a different game. It isn’t like before. Whole different platform. And anything can happen."
GRAHAM ZUSI: "Knowing that we can come down here and get a win…that never happened before. Sometimes you can have that in the back of your mind, thinking, OK, we’re going to lose with one. But the game last August proved that we can come into a hostile environment and get a result."
MICHAEL BRADLEY: "Let’s be honest: The pressure is on them. To come out to Azteca and [to need to] not only play a big game but to win, is huge."
"I think there’s a real chance for us. If we can start well, if we can show them early on that now we’re going to close them down, we’re going to make the game difficult for them, we’re not just going to sit so deep and them have the ball the whole time, that will put them under pressure. I think at a certain point, if the chance is there, the crowd could turn on them. So we have to understand the situation. 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."
"Right now, when you look at the development of our team, I think we’re ready to play them on even terms. We did that in August. I think we did that in the Gold Cup final. You win one game, you lose the other. But I think the point is when you look at our team, you look at our players, you look at our growth, it’s important for us to come here and…know that there will be opportunities for us."
So, soccer fans? What do you think is going to happen tonight? Make your predictions below.