Mexico has the pressing need for victory against US

Posted by Rafael Ramos Villagrana

The bleak damage assessment from the debacle in San Pedro Sula last Friday seems to accumulate all the bad that the Mexican National Team has suffered lately. The outlook is not flattering for El Tri ahead of Tuesday's clash against the United States at Estadio Azteca in World Cup qualifying.

Here's a glimpse of the damage assessment:

1. Mexico arrives with the bitter hangover of having let the sweet taste of victory get away against Honduras.

2. Bedridden and undergoing intensive therapy with only two out of six possible points in their worst start to a World Cup qualifying campaign.

3. Without Francisco Javier "Maza" Rodriguez through suspension (yellow cards) and with Giovani dos Santos' status in doubt due to injury.

4. With a coach who lost his compass and the helm of coherence in the second half against Honduras, and who increasingly loses his sanity in press conferences.

5. With the painful expiration certificate that Azteca and its altitude are no longer the imposing trench that would become Player Number 12, after defeat in an international friendly against the U.S. and the agonizing draw with Jamaica.

6. The pressing need for victory because of how much games against the United States mean to Mexico, a classic rival and a classic rivalry that goes beyond sports scars to include wars as well as historic, social and civic conflicts.

The positive, encouraging, inspiring feeling that El Tri developed after gaining a 2-0 lead over Honduras faded when they were overwhelmed by the Catrachos' reaction at the end of the game. There was even a danger that the 2-2 result could have been glorified to 3-2 in favor of the Central American team.

Additionally, the coaching staff for Mexico that had given solid evidence of ability, professionalism, efficiency -- particularly, for example, when they blanked Brazil in the friendly in Dallas -- has seen its credibility deteriorate after underestimating the United States in the friendly, not acknowledging the value of Jamaica's European-based players and making erroneous substitutions against Honduras.

The mistakes don't make Mexico's coaches inept but rather ill-equipped to take on the challenges posed by the aforementioned games, with their respective complexities albeit very different from one another.

Mexico will certainly face the worst version of the U.S. men's national team seen in the past few years. The team is flailing blindly under the leadership of Jurgen Klinsmann, who has taken on as his most powerful rallying cry the simple and primitive call of "go out and have fun," setting aside in-depth work. He has also generated conflict with iconic players such as Landon Donovan, who went on vacation to Cambodia, ignoring his commitment to be Captain America at the height of World Cup qualifying.

There will be no Donovan nor Carlos Bocanegra on the U.S. side, besides the poisonous fabrication that the team had sudden injured players or some who prolongued their convalescense as a conspiratorial act of protest against Klinsmann.

Thus, Mexico faces the United States on Tuesday at Estadio Azteca with the most hostile of commitments: He who must win out of necessity generally loses out of obligation.

El Tri also faces a serious threat. Its fan base is ruthless. When the team's performance is not up to par, Estadio Azteca can become a trap instead of a volcano of solidarity. There is a precedent for local fans to begin to chant in favor of the rival and mock their own national team.

At the moment, Mexican fans have accumulated heartache in the form of the aforestated accounts in the red: losing against the United States and ending up with draws against Jamaica and Honduras.

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