USA v. Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, not bad for a Wednesday afternoon, huh?
Does the US have to win this? No, I don't think so. I don't think it will kill our qualification hopes or anything like that. However, if Mexico gets 2 wins in a row over the US, and especially if they win in convincing fashion tomorrow, the CONCACAF momentum will definitely swing their way. Also, there is the issue with the seeding for the World Cup draw. A win in Mexico would be helpful in improving the US chances of getting a seed and avoiding the 2006 group scenario.
Does Mexico have to win this? Pretty much. A loss would put El Tri in serious trouble when it comes to qualifying for the World Cup. Staying home next summer will have some serious ramifications on the FMF and the Mexican league, less money will be on hand for sure.
Will a loss be disappointing? Not necessarily, it depends on the performance. I don't think there are very many people who are realistically expecting a US win tomorrow. I'll personally be happy with a point, ecstatic even. I'm mainly looking to see a US team that plays Mexico straight up, doesn't get defensive and negative, and doesn't fold under pressure. I think those are traits that will be needed in South Africa next summer.
Who are the key figures? Tim Howard will be called on to make some big saves, no doubt. Landon Donovan will be the spark, and he is respected and feared by the Mexicans. Jozy Altidore provides serious match-up problems for the Mexican defense, something I'm hoping to see exploited.
Will my phone hold up to the text wars? Probably not. You see, I coach a team of high school boys, 90% from Mexico. I had so many camera phone pictures of Mexico jerseys sent to me during the Gold Cup final I finally had to turn it off. I'd like to be able to talk some trash after that awful game...
What are your questions going into tomorrow's BORDER WAR?