You know, the thing about the USA Men’s National Team is that they don’t have to be obligated to any other country to help them out. They are capable of choosing their own destiny and doing something about it. Ever since Jurgen Klinsmann came to the fold and steered the ship, the USA has had a massive resolve, a massive commitment to its own concerns and what it wants to do, and that is being among the best footballing nations on the face of the earth.
In the final match day of the CONCACAF Fourth Round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, TV Azteca’s Christian Martinoli suffered an epic meltdown that will have forever immortalized him as one of the harshest critics of the Mexican national team, destined for a playoff home-and-home with New Zealand of the Oceania Football Confederation.
Goals from Graham Zusi in the 92nd minute and Aron Johansson in the 94th minute sealed Panama’s fate. This is from MLSSoccer.com.
Commentator #1 (Martinoli): …a long ball for Saborio. Costa Rica retreats, it’s now a U.S. ball, 3/4s of the pitch- ATTENTION WITH THE CENTER USA GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOOOOAAAL! GOAL FROM THE UNITED STATES! WE LOVE YOU! WE LOVE YOU FOREVER AND EVER! OH, GOD BLESS AMERICA DOCTOR, THE UNITED STATES BRINGS US BACK TO QUALIFICATION!
THE UNITED STATES, NOT YOU! NOT YOU WHO ARE WEARING GREEN! THEY HAVE, AND YOU DON’T! LET THAT BE CLEAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR THE KIT! YOU DON’T PUSH THE TEAM! YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN US IN THE CUP! YOU DID NOT KEEP US ALIVE! IT WAS THE UNITED STATES, NOT YOU! NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE! NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY! NOT YOU AND YOUR FIRECRACKERS!
Commentator #2 (Luis Garcia “El Doctor”): This- this is beyond a flop, and aside from that it’s undeserving because you didn’t have the arguments to lead the way for Mexico to qualify even through playoffs. The United States are playing with their reserves, and mind you, a lot of their reserve players. They went there with dignity and have manifested us once again. Who is the United States, how they understand this sport, and Mexico’s gameplay is absurd, horrendous, terrible, a bust-
Martinoli: GOAL! GOAL FROM THE UNITED STATES! *laughs from Garcia* We’re now in the play-offs! United States- so we can continue on criticizing them [Mexico], eh? So we can say the United States have already surpassed us Mr. Luz! The United States are greater than us in football! The United States, without their luxury of playing their starters, are letting us live! Hopefully Vucetich puts on the pants or submits his resignation today! He’s failing as a technical director as well. He’s not functioning as the national team’s trainer. You must wear pants and motivate the Europeans and make the call! There are no European players in this squad, not at this moment!
Garcia: No, a-and the match in Panama ends. Mexico meets with New Zealand, dragging their legs I insist-
To be fair to Vucetich, he’s only a few months into the job, so giving the former Monterrey man time is important. That’s that. As for the United States surpassing Mexico in football, we’re technically not there yet. Mexico still leads in Gold Cups won and they’ve hogged up all the CONCACAF Champions League trophies.
However, in terms of the current Hexagonal situation, the United States are at the top for the third straight cycle, equaling their 2005 effort of 22 points. That is a record of 7-1-2. The USA could have easily screwed Mexico out of the FIFA World Cup by letting Panama run all over them. However, Panama elected to press for a third, instead of playing conservative defending for the last 11 minutes, including stoppage.
The USA made them pay with two goals in stoppage time, and that was that. Panama has to realize that the USA plays every game to win. Like Herman Edwards once said, “You play to win the game. You don’t play to just play it; you play to win.” The Nats treat every competition with respect. They honor it by playing every match all the way to the whistle.
Panama did not play smart football in the closing stages and it resulted in the USA finishing off its qualifying run with three victories on the trot. I will spell this out for all of you: the United States is not obligated to help any one team in any competition. It choosed its own destiny. It chooses to help itself.
Self-importance breeds self-confidence. Self-confidence breeds positive results. And positive results breed long term success. Perhaps Christian Martinoli’s argument of the USA being better than Mexico in football may be the shot in the arm this country needs to improve its game.
Any American soccer fan who decries this performance must question his loyalty to the USA Men’s National Team. Celebrate it. Honor it. Salute your countrymen’s efforts. This is a victory that must be celebrated as the pinnacle of another solid qualifying campaign through CONCACAF. If the United States can continue its track record of success, it will truly earn the right to be the greatest footballing nation in the Confederation of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football.
As Martinoli said in praises on Oct. 15, 2013, “God Bless America!”