USA vs Mexico: Evaluating What Historic Victory Means for USMNT Moving Forward

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIAugust 16, 2012

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 15:  Michael Orozco of the United States celebrates after scoring during a FIFA friendly match between Mexico and US at Azteca Stadium on August 15, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

The United States Men's National Team was able to pull off a shocking upset against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Wednesday night, marking the first time that the American men had beaten Mexico south of the border.

There has been a mixed reaction to the victory in terms of what this means for American soccer.

Some believe that this is one of the turning points in American soccer, and that the victory will catapult the USMNT onto the international soccer scene. Others believe that this was nothing more than a farce, and that the United States won this game because of luck.

Both sides have solid evidence to support their claims, but there are numerous things that must be addressed to determine exactly what this means for the USMNT.

The first of which is that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is well on his way to changing the culture of men's soccer in the United States.

Some have said that the quality of this win is diminished because both sides didn't run out their best starting XI, but the fact of the matter is that Mexico had more regular players on the field than the US.

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Klinsmann's team just beat an opponent that was fresh off winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Games. That has to count for something.

Mexico City hasn't been kind to the US in recent times, but Klinsmann has ensured that his players believe that they can win anywhere they play. Not only that, but the team's recent play has brought in a new contingent of American fans.

This win over Mexico also means that the talent gap between the two teams is closing.

It would be ridiculous to say that the US is better than the neighbors to the south because of one 80th-minute goal caused by a mad scramble in front of the net, but it means something that the game was tied at zero for that long.

The United States had been winless in its last four games against Mexico, and was outscored 12-4 in those contests. For the US to hang with Mexico for 80 minutes then notch a late goal speaks volumes for how far the team has come.

By no means does this indicate that the USMNT is anywhere near ready to make some noise in the 2014 World Cup against the best teams on the planet. If you believe that, you are getting way ahead of yourself.

However, it means the program is on the right track.

There is much work to be done, but if the program continues on this trajectory, it will be able to play deep into the World Cup one day.

Don't expect greatness yet, America. Be patient.

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