Mexico vs. USA: What Americans Must Work on in International Friendly
The United States men face a formidable foe in international friendly play on Wednesday when the side squares off with defending Olympic gold medalist Mexico.
Mexico is coming off a 2-1 victory over Brazil in the gold-medal game of the 2012 London Olympics, while the U.S. failed to qualify for the Summer Games.
Obviously, there is a quite a bit of distance between the U.S. and Mexico right now, but the U.S. must keep its foot on the gas.
Here's a look at what the United States must work on against Mexico.
Jurgen Klinsmann has preached ball possession this year, noting that in order to be a world-class side the U.S. must be able to imitate Spain's style.
Obviously, this doesn't happen overnight, but sitting back on defense isn't going to get it done against sides such as Spain. The defense must push up higher on the pitch and help in terms of possession.
The United States particularly failed to do that against Brazil in their international friendly on May 30. Brazil possessed the ball for 52 percent of the match in the 4-1 drubbing.
Mexico is incredibly moving the ball forward, as was evident in the Olympics this year when the side scored 12 goals en route to the gold medal.
The Mexicans move the ball tremendously on offense, led by Manchester United star Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez. Hernandez has scored 25 goals in 38 appearances for Mexico, including two in five appearances this year.
The United States must be near-perfect as a defensive unit to prevent Mexico from scoring another four goals like in the Gold Cup final last year. Ball control will helpful in that area.
Will the U.S. give a good showing against Mexico?
Obviously the U.S. had some talented players in the 1990s and 2000s, but the side also had an advantage in mentality, which was clearly evident in the 2002 World Cup.
Since then, however, Mexico has captured that mental advantage, going 3-0-1 against the Americans, including a dominant 4-2 display in last year's Gold Cup final.
Mexico no longer believes it can lose against the American side, and the first step to disrupting that confidence is to start showing progress. Even if the U.S. doesn't win on Wednesday, it can show Mexico that it is not to be taken lightly.
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