032613_usmex_gametime_olson_i-2nwbx8g Jeremy Olson for American Soccer Now
ASN Weekly Debate

Does the U.S. Draw in Mexico Mean Anything?

The American team went to Azteca and earned a point. But Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon wonder if the result, combined with the win against Costa Rica, have tilted the tables too far the other way.
BY Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon Posted
March 29, 2013
10:30 AM
Noah Davis: So, Ryan, did we all panic too much or was it justified given the situation? And your answer cannot be "This is American soccer, and everyone always panics too much," because while that is the correct answer, it is boring.

Ryan O'Hanlon: That is my answer for everything, but since it can't be, I guess my answer is just: "We panicked too much." At the same time, I don't think all of the un-panicking now makes much sense either.

Davis: The pendulum has swung back mighty hard, right? I know that's what pendulums do, but man, oh man, this is nuts. Scrape together a tie in Mexico and suddenly everything is chocolates and flowers and Michael Bradley smiles. As far as I can tell, the team still can't score. And I'm so ready for the Tim Howard-Brad Guzan debate to start I am giddy.

O'Hanlon: I just taped my hands to my calves in preparation for that one. But yeah, those were great results, considering the conditions—but I'm, uh, not totally confident that they'll score against Panama in a home qualifier, but that also might be because we've yet to see a real home qualifier this year.

Davis:  Why are we always the voices of rationality?

O'Hanlon: Because we're secretly Canadian.

Davis: And yes, I think a few mea culpas are in order for various journalists regarding Jurgen Klinsmann (myself included), but we are far from out of the woods yet. And yes part two, the game-plan in Mexico looked remarkably like the game-plan for every other previous U.S. team.

O'Hanlon: That game was sort of weird, wasn't it? The U.S. had, like, three sort-of-nice attacks? And despite those attacking subs at the end, nothing really changed in that regard. It's a great result, sure, but I don't know. Jamaica had better chances in Azteca, didn't they?

Davis: Totally. Jamaica should have scored twice. The U.S. should have scored zero times. Of course, should have and did are two completely different things. I was surprised by a) how much of the ball the U.S. had and b) how little they managed to do with it. Part b, I think, was smart. Kill the game, kill the game, kill the game.

O'Hanlon: Yeah. I forget who it was: either Mourinho or some English dude from the early 20th century, but someone said that the less you have the ball and the less you try to do with it. In essence, just boot it toward the other team's net whenever you can and the less of a chance you'll give up a goal.

Davis: But the U.S. didn't. They actually looked like they tried to pass for periods. A little possession in midfield. Knock it back to the defenders. Swing it around a bit. It wasn't Spain, but it wasn't kick and chase and hope either.

O'Hanlon: Which, I guess, is why I thought it seemed "weird." Like, don't just bomb it up the field, but also don't really even try to score. It was a strange—but successful, definitely successful—performance from the U.S. More promising, maybe, for some of the individual performances.

Davis: It seems like everyone has forgotten about Geoff Cameron at center back. What's your impression of this?

O'Hanlon: Yeah, it's kind of weird how he's gone from automatic starter to back up at multiple positions. Geoff Cameron is really good! He's the best American centerback, but Gonzalez-Besler looked pretty good, too. This is basically the last conversation I would've expected to have after these games.

Davis: I love how we're all surprised that the two guys who trained together for three weeks at the January camp communicated well on the field. I know I was. Seriously. International soccer is so stupid sometimes.

O'Hanlon: It really is so dumb. Everyone who played in this game was an MLS product, which is pretty cool and also a reason to ban all German-Americans from the team forever.

Davis: I did like that MLS stat. That was fun. And yes totally meaningless, too. I don't know... I think the less stock we all put in that Mexico result the better. It happened, which is great, but let's move on quickly.

O'Hanlon: Agreed, let history be history—or something like that.

Davis: Something like that, yes.

Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon do this every week. Still.

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