Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some post-match analysis from Mexico-Honduras

Since it is now past midnight and I can feel the caffeine-induced coma creeping around my eyes, I'll fire off some quick thoughts here on what I could gather from Mexico's 2-0 defeat over Honduras.

- First and foremost, Wednesday's nightcap was the showcase of the doubleheader. Make no mistake. I wondered aloud where this reported sell-out was during the U.S. match, but when I returned to the press box from post-game interviews, I was greeted with a seething sea of 70,000+, the vast, vast majority of which was clad in Mexico green and black.

I'd never seen Mexico in person before with a homefield advantage like that, but the experience was a trip. Very loud, very boisterous and very attentive. I'd have my head buried in my computer and suddenly a thunderous roar would erupt, I'd look up and there's Gio Dos Santos roaring down the touchline, leading a break.

- Just heard Honduras manager Luis Fernando Suarez make a few comments about the difficulty of the travel, having to go from L.A. to Miami to New York to Houston. But, he noted, "That's not an excuse. Everybody has to do it."

- It became apparent late that Honduras simply wore down. Mexico's depth finished it off, as Honduras' counter-attack was nullified by its fatigue. But their ability to close down on the dangerous Chicharito & Co. for 90 minutes was impressive and will be a tactic Bob Bradley no doubt takes into consideration. That was as good a defensive performance (through 90 minutes anyway) we've yet seen from a Mexico opponent in the Gold Cup thus far.

Lots of ink will inevitably be spilled over Chicharito, but Aldo De Nigris opened my eyes. Mexico's No. 9 is an extremely dangerous poacher around the area and hit on Mexico's first goal. A name to keep an eye on on Saturday if it comes to that.

- The extra 30 minutes can only play to the U.S.'s favor. What might not is how crisp Mexico looked at times in the two extra periods. Chalk some of that up to Honduras' fatigue, because they were gassed, and in matches like these, talent always comes to bear in the later stages.

I'll let Tim Howard finish this beast off.

"Finals are always special. It'll be emotional. There's so much respect between the teams. We've punched our ticket."

- Will Parchman

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