A summer of discontent for the United States. First a disjointed showing at the Gold Cup, capped by defeat at the hands of Mexico, and now more proof, that the next decade of North American football with be swathed in a sea of green.
As one era of Mexican football ends, another is set to begin; while Rafa Marquez is still the anchor for El Tri, up front a new wave of youngsters are ready to make life miserable for American defenses in the years to come.
Javier Hernandez, Pablo Barrerra and Gio Dos Santos were all key elements of the Mexican’s Gold Cup success, three players gifted with speed, skill and an eye for goal. While Hernandez is already on the path to greatness at Old Trafford, both Barrera and Dos Santos are set to resurrect their fledgling careers over the next twelve months, the wing duo are yet to replicate their national success at the club level.
Earlier today too brought more bad news in the direction of Bob Bradley and the boys, as an even younger generation of Mexican footballers cut their teeth at the international level. A team headlined by hat trick hero Julio Gomez claimed the World U17 World Cup, defeating Uruguay after semi final success over Germany; a team which earlier in the competition had thrashed the USA 4-0.
While youth competitions are not always clear indicators of where the future really does lie, it is safe to say that the performances of the Mexican youngsters, in comparison with their American counterparts, makes ominous viewing for fans of the United States. Mexico clearly have a talented set of players ready to emerge at senior level, something that the US sorely needs.
Players like Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury are hardly of the quality of Javier Hernandez, and even if they were to reach their full potential, it is unlikely that they would achieve the same feats of brilliance as Chicharito. Even more worryingly, the back line being groomed to protect against the threat of players like the Little Pea, is hardly good enough to insure solidity; the very one footed Tim Ream failed to shine at the Gold Cup, while the equally one footed Omar Gonzalez wasn’t even called into the squad.
As Mexico watch their youth blossom at both the senior and U17 level, the United States continue to stick with the group they have, persisting with players like Carlos Bocanegra at the back.
Mexico’s U17 World champions are by no means guaranteed to ever even play in a senior match against the United States, but the fact remains that they vastly outperformed Americans of a similar age. Regardless of whether or not the bicycle king with a bandage wrapped around his head ever makes it, it is clear that Mexico’s up and coming talent is totally superior to that of the United States. Something must change, or Americans will just have to get used to losing to their Southern neighbors on a much, much more frequent basis.