Monday, February 16, 2009

Skewed perspective

I was right there with this commentary from David Faitelson. He was waxing poetic about Mexico's ills, at first about Rafael Marquez, then about El Tri in general. He alluded to a problem with Mexico greater than its coach, that there is no magic wand, that there aren't 11 magicians out there Mexico could send on the field and restore order. I agreed with him on a lot of things.

Then, he went and ruined it at the end.

Towards the very end, he said that Mexico had two things going for them: 1) Azteca, he said they never lose there and 2) they play in CONCACAF. He said that if they were playing against Brazil, Argentina, Italy or Germany, forget about it.

Now, Azteca is a fortress. But Mexico has lost there twice in the last eight years. One was a qualifier. Still, I'd have Mexico as a favorite against any CONCACAF team there so I don't disagree on him there.

But taking CONCACAF lightly? First, this is a weak region. Let's call a spade a spade. This isn't UEFA or CONMEBOL. However, that doesn't mean Mexico (or the US) can send any players out and expect a win. Worse, the two teams he brings up are teams Mexico has lost to in qualifiers already. Costa Rica won the aforementioned qualifier in Azteca, a 2-1 result in 2001. And Honduras, Mexico lost at Honduras in 2001 (3-1) and 2008 (1-0).

It's this kind of thinking that has sunk Mexico. "It's only CONCACAF so we don't need to worry too much." When you play St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize or Dominica, yeah, you can say that. Those teams are pathetic. But when you are playing a team like Honduras that is itching to tear you apart, like Costa Rica who wants nothing more than another victory in Azteca, the "it's only CONCACAF" saying doesn't fly. These teams endured beatings for many years by Mexico, and now they want to return the favor.

But whatever I suppose. If the media wants to take the rest of the region lightly, then the fallout from further losses will only be louder and more harsh since those are teams Mexico is supposed to beat up on anyway, in their eyes anyway.


Anonymous said...

The problem with Faitelson's comment is that he assumes that the talent that is found in the Mexican players automatically translates to the Mexican National Team. If this were the case, then Mexico would never lose against any CONCACAF teams. The problem with Mexico's national team is that it lacks the structure and continuity. Take USA Soccer as a great example: Players are groomed from the youth teams and often play with one onother on many occassions. Also, the core of the team is relatively steady, providing any coach with ease of continuity. Finally, the players in USA Soccer know that the coach - not the players themselves - makes the decisions. You never see or hear players complaining about the coaches.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mexico needs the equivalent of a Bradenton in their program.