ANDREW VORCE - Thursday, August 13, 2009
With a 25-0-1 record at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, it would have been wishful thinking for any fan or player from the United States to come away with a solid victory in the heat and smog south of the Rio Grande.

After a stand out performance in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden was selected by Bob Bradley to enter the match in the second half. It was an effort by the head coach to change the flow of the game as the US were struggling to keep up with a dominant home side.

"The guys had been working really hard," Holden told YA. "Our job was to provide some fresh legs and to try to give the team the spark, and I think we created a chance or two that gave us a little bit of energy, a little bit of a lift."

Azteca is the largest stadium any team is forced to play in within the CONCACAF region, the 105,000 seat stadium is situated at over 7,200 feet above sea level which slowly squeezes the breath out of players unfamiliar with playing in such thing air.

"The crowd was loud but once you're sitting there and you take it in after the first five to ten minutes, it becomes normal," Holden said. "You're just focused on what's going on [down] on the field.

"The bigger shock's just getting used to running around at that pace and getting into the pace of the game. Whether a substitute or from the start, you're expected to be ready to contribute, and that's what I was trying to do today."

One of those chances to contribute came from one of the rare spells of possession in the second half when Holden seemed to pick out Charlie Davies with pinpoint accuracy. As the cross soared into the Mexican 18-yard box, Davies narrowly missed his chance at a diving header.

"I think the ball moves a little bit weird here," Holden explained. "We were talking earlier about how it doesn't really spin too much. It might have knuckled at the last second, or thrown him off somehow.

"I'd have to see it on replay, it was all in the moment. We had a number of other chances as well, that happened to be another good one. We're disappointed to come away with a 2-1 loss."

The United States is currently tied for second place with Honduras on 10 points in the qualification format, with Mexico in fourth with nine points. Up next for the American's will be a home game against El Salvador on September 5th in Sandy, Utah.
Friday August 14, 2009 9:19 am
Why was Holden in the Match. I think Paco Torres would have been a great help. Lets remember that he plays in the Mexican league and has played there.
Wiger Toods
Thursday August 13, 2009 5:48 pm
I threw out a similar question on another thread prior to the game about the hypoxic tents, but never got any responses.

A similar question, does anyone know if our team prepares for the crowd noise by blaring noise over the loud speakers (in this case back in Miami)? This also seems like it would help the team communicate better, since they were together only a couple days.
Thursday August 13, 2009 2:38 pm
Another dismal performance. A lot of giving the ball away and no shots and impotent in the second half. No inspiration. Hell Trinidad and Tobago gave more of a fight in Azteca than the USA gave. It is time for warriors on this team and not failures. I am offended, Dont Tread On Me? be serious.
Thursday August 13, 2009 1:57 pm
Two questions about this altitude issue at Azteca:

First, with so many American players affected by the altitude, wouldn't at least some of the Mexican side have been affected as well? Some of their players were coming from abroad as well (Dos Santos, etc), and surely they didn't have the 10 or so days required to adjust.

Second, couldn't the Americans have prepared for the altitude by sleeping in hypoxic tents, which simulate high altitude conditions? I'm pretty sure they are commonly used by professional cyclists, runners, and other endurance athletes.
Thursday August 13, 2009 12:43 pm
I dont believe the entire team really got into the flow of the game, there was no possession or build up from us. Im sorry, but clint dempsey was terrible this game. And i agree that the midfielders didnt close down well, the central midfielders seemed to be on their heels; sometimes falling even with the back line, it was pretty uninspiring, but atleast we have more qualifying to come.
Thursday August 13, 2009 10:25 am
It appeared the US was backing up the entire game allowing Mexico to dictate the game. We did not close down on their midfielders and it was not a question of if Mexico would score but when and how many. The coaching staff needs to help the players adjust to the game and I am not convinced they can.

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