Good morning! Maybe you woke up today thinking, “Sure, the Union looked limp and lost to a ten man San Jose team, but those guys are good at home. And yes, Costa Rica pummeled the United States Men’s National Team, but it’s tough to deal with the late loss of Michael Bradley. There are plenty of reasons to be blue, but I’m going to make today a positive day!” If this is the case, I’m sorry to be the one to share this video of Joel Campbell’s pathetic off the ball dive that got Matt Besler suspended for tonight’s match against Mexico. Extra points for anyone who can figure out what the assistant referee said to the ref that convinced him to caution Besler.
Super Bonus Points to anyone who can snap a picture with @PSPFarnsworth in Columbus tonight. He will be the excited one: “About to board flight to Columbus for USA v Mexico with
@BrianDeLawter. I’m not stoked, I’m positively on fire.”
PSP has your go-to match preview for tonight’s USA-Mexico showdown (8:00PM EST, ESPN).
The Shin Guardian has your go-to match preview if you’re stuck in line at the DMV or just want a really, really long distraction from Union-related thoughts. At the very least, you can start using TSG’s excellent new nickname for Aron Johansson.
Are you a Mexico fan? Don’t worry: Tom Marshall at ESPNFC has five keys for Mexico to win tonight, only one of which is in any way implementable. Recover psychologically, show some character, and break the Klinsmann spell are all abstract enough to be useless and “convert shots into goals” is just… amazingly original thinking. I mean, it’s not like there is a game to be played here. With players in positions… playing against each other… that could be subject to tactical analysis… nah, just get out there and break that spell!
Frankie Hejduk has a more nuanced take on tonight’s game: “It’s going to be raging, bro.”
Steve Davis at NBCSports says there are opportunities abound in tonight’s match. Jurgen Klinsmann can close the door on the first epoch of his American coaching career with a win. Klinsmann’s first match in charge was a 2011 exhibition tie against Mexico, and a win would be a nice bookend to that. For players like Clarence Goodson and Jose Torres, this is a chance to show the American team has some depth. The stunning manner in which Costa Rica dissected a Michael Bradley-less United States on Friday reinforced the perspective that the Roma midfielder is the most indispensable of a first eleven that has been nearly flawless over the past few months. Torres and Goodson have looked a step below the top tier of US players recently, but now they have a chance to change that perception. And Mexico has the opportunity to not only deny the US early World Cup qualification, but do it on American soil and get their qualifying campaign back on track. Lots at stake tonight.
Keep an eye out for PSP’s player ratings later today. Did anybody stand out on Sunday night?
Dave Zeitlin has three questions ahead of the big Union-Dynamo match at PPL Park this weekend. The first is my favorite, and not just because Zeitlin answers it himself: Will John Hackworth shake up the first eleven? Take it away, Dave: “He’s been fairly consistent with his lineups so it’s doubtful he’ll do anything too drastic. But the cries for playing a more creative midfielder like Kleberson or Roger Torres will almost certainly grow louder this week.”
Toronto FC continues to be a complete wild card. General Manager Kevin Payne was recently fired, but to make double-triple-sure everyone noticed, TFC shipped Payne’s signature signing, young Argentinian Max Urruti, to Portland for the injured Bright Dike (minor injury? Noooope! Torn ACL) a 2015 draft pick, and allocation money.
Nick Sabetti tries to figure out why Canadian clubs are struggling to develop young talent.
Tim Pernetti, the former Rutgers athletic director who left the school after not firing the men’s basketball coach for physically and verbally abusing his players, is now the chief business officer at NYC FC. Yup.