Soccer: U.S. travels to Mexico for revenge

The 5-0 loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup final was hard to accept for Americans. It was embarrassing and it was hard to watch. The U.S. national team had enjoyed much success against Mexico in the last decade. But the Gold Cup final seemed to draw things even between the two rivals; at least temporarily. On August 12th, U.S. and Mexico will meet again.

Not only will the U.S. be able to avenge the 5-0 loss, but they can also essentially knock Mexico out of World Cup contention with a win (Mexico would only have 6 points with 4 games remaining). The U.S. has never won at Mexico’s Azteca stadium, and a victory would go down as one of the most historic wins in U.S. soccer history. All these variables mean one thing; this August 12th World Cup qualifier will be one of the most anticipated U.S. games in recent memory.

In front of 105,000 screaming Mexican fans, the U.S. national team will face its ultimate challenge. Mexico has only lost one time in its history at the Azteca, one of the worlds most intimidating stadiums. The last U.S.-Mexico showdown at the Azteca was in March of 2005, a 2-1 loss for the Americans. Bruce Arena came out with an experimental 4-3-3 lineup that day, and the experiment failed. The U.S. only showed signs of life late in the game when Eddie Lewis pulled a goal back.

This U.S. roster has two notable inclusions. Stuart Holden and Chad Marshall get rewarded for their impressive Gold Cup performances. Two notable exclusions are Damarcus Beasley and Sacha Klesjtan, who have turned in poor performances recently for the national team.

If the U.S. wants to win on August 12th, it will need its best players to play their best games. Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra will need to close down and take away space from the Mexican forwards. Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey need to control the midfield and provide service for the U.S. strikers. Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan need to be dangerous and score. Anything less than this will not be enough.

A U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier at the Azteca only comes once every four years. This years version will only add on to the great rivalry between these two teams. And yes, the cards are stacked against the U.S. U.S. fans would be happy to escape Mexico City with a draw. But this does not take away from the fact that history is on the line. Mexico could lose at the Azteca for only the second time ever. August 12th, 2009 could be one of the greatest days in U.S. soccer history.

For the U.S. roster, continue reading

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