Thoughts after USA vs. Mexico

April 20, 2015

I have given it a few days to really think about the last friendly match the USMNT had against Mexico. It was an odd version of the rivalry considering the names who were out on the pitch for both sides, but it could possibly be one of the more important battles the two teams have had in a while.

Now I know from a distance this looks like I am backtracking on my "friendlies aren't about winning" sentiments, but I assure you, I am not. It's just that in this case, both sides caught a glimpse of their not so distant futures and whether he meant to or not, Klinsmann actually created a side that gives us a lot of insight into what we will need going into both the Gold Cup and The 2016 Olympics.

I obviously am a fan of the USMNT, but I do have a lot of respect for the absolute love for the game that the country of Mexico has. If it wasn't for them putting their all into El Tri through thick and thin, this rivalry wouldn't be what it is. However, the "we had our B and C team out there!" stuff doesn't hold a lot of weight, since the US certainly didn't have their A team out there either and was an amateur player who ended up with the game winning goal against the Mexicans, so that pretty much nullifies that discussion right there. We didn't have Dempsey, we didn't have Jozy, instead we had guys like Morris and Agudelo out there and they were the ones that showed up.

Morris being involved in many of the attacks while he was on the pitch, to me was the biggest highlight of the match. He could very possibly be the go to guy when it comes to the Olympics in 2016 and he showed that he is capable of playing beyond expectations on the big stage in a hostile environment. I don't want to say I am completely sold too soon, but I mean in my whole life of watching soccer, I feel like he could be one of the more promising all around players we've seen in a while. At some point, somebody is going to have to take the place of greats like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and even Jozy and so far, we haven't really seen anyone who really fits that bill. Zardes has had his times, but when he really had a chance to show something in the last two USMNT matches, he - in my opinion - fell short. Now I realize I was singing his praises at one point, so hopefully Morris won't disappoint me in the same way, but given his soccer intelligence, I feel like he is less likely to disappoint.

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In the end, it was still a friendly and people will find one way or another to be negative about it. Friendlies are always damned if you do, damned if you don't, but besides beating our old rivals by the legendary "Dos A Cero" scoreline, this match was meaningless, just another training drill as we head into the Gold Cup. It's up to guys like Morris to carry the flag for this country and I hope that he can answer that call. We need guys like him who pair well with the movement that has happened over the last few years in the USA. Homegrown fans, homegrown players, homegrown traditions, homegrown soccer. 


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