Wednesday, March 27, 2013

So, how bout them gnats?

Well, I never thought I'd live to see that... okay, that's not true. I thought someday I'd see the US get another result from Azteca. I was around in 1997, but I wasn't really following soccer much, despite playing in high school. Well, riding the bench in higschool. Shut up.

Anyway, I'm not shocked that the US got a point from Mexico, but I am really, really glad it happened.

I won't go into a lot of detail here, but Dan Loney, love him or hate him, nailed it, I think.

In the mean time, I decided this would be a good time to actually dig a little bit into stats. Awesomely, provided the Opta stats and chalkboard for this match, so I crunched the numbers to come up with ratings, much the same way I've been doing for SKC. Here's what the performances for each team looked like.

Maybe a little surprising to see Cameron ranked higher than Besler, but other than that, I think the ratings play out well. Great game from Gonzalez and maybe, just maybe, new CB pairing for the US has been found. Mexico with the slight edge ratings wise, which should be expected. In all honesty, they really took it to the US and were unlucky not to get the Edu penalty call (I think the Bradley "push" in the first 10 minutes was the correct non-call, hand checking a runner off the ball who goes down easy shouldn't be a PK that early in the match).

And still, a point from Azteca, while rare, shoudln't be cause for full blown celebration. This isn't the prize. The US is still only sitting on 4 points from 3 games, with 7 to go. I've seen 16 as the magic number, which would mean the US needs 4 wins from 7 games. With 5 at home, that's gotta be seen as doable, but at this pace the US is looking at aboiut 13-14 projected points. The next home match is going to be big. Bigger than this all told.

However, the best part about beating (edit - well, drawing... okay, now I've fallen into the "US beats Mexico 0-0" trap...) Mexico, in Mexico, is it takes away another home game of theirs and now might force them to get some road results, something very hard to do in CONCACAF.

I've been very skeptical/critical of Klinsman, but every time I'm ready to write me off, he pulls me back in. I really hope he proves me wrong this cycle.

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