First of all, there is no such thing as a friendly anything when it comes to USA and Mexico on the soccer pitch.
El Tri is coming off a comprehensive humbling of the U.S. last month in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. The 4-2 loss ultimately sealed the fate of embattled Bob Bradley as USMNT coach, which followed an equally embarrassing 2-0 loss to Panama in the group stage, the first time USA had ever lost a group game in the Gold Cup.
Klinsmann chose several names that for whatever reason did not appeal to Bradley. It's nice to see Longview's Jose Franciso Torres (Pachuca) back in the fold with fullback Tim Chandler (Nuremberg) also on the roster after both were noticeably left off the recent Gold Cup roster.
I think there was a clear message Klinsmann made with these selections.
The recent status quo of Bradley and before him Bruce Arena choosing many of the same guys is over.
Tyler native Daniel Hernandez, current captain for FC Dallas — chosen for the national team in 2002 and 2005 — believes Klinsmann will bring a fresh energy to USA soccer.
Now before throwing Bradley under the proverbial bus, the former head man deserves credit.
In his five years, he compiled an impressive 43-15-12 record, including winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finishing second in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, winning their World Cup qualifying group and advancing to the Round of 16 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
There have been a few fortunate bounces and results.
Case in point: the 2009 Confederations Cup. The U.S. soccer public, myself included, were whipped into a frenzy after the USA stunned Spain 2-0 in the semifinals and led Brazil 2-0 in the final before being undone, 3-2.
But truthfully, those games should have never taken place. Team USA was placed in a group with Brazil, Italy and Iraq to start. In its first two group games, USA was beaten soundly by Italy (3-1) and Brazil (3-0) to be all but eliminated from advancing out of the group.
Last summer in the World Cup, the USA received a gift from England goalkeeper Robert Green when he fumbled a makeable save into his own net to allow America to get a 1-1 draw it did not deserve in the opener. Then came the crazy comeback down two goals to tie Slovenia, not exactly a powerhouse, and was capped by Landon Donovan's final-minutes goal for USA to beat Algeria 1-0.
These results masked an unwelcome truth — USA soccer was slipping.
Last month's Gold Cup showing finally prompted U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati that a change was needed.
Mexico ran circles around the U.S. and showed the kind of touch, passing and class that has been missing from the red, white and blue.
This first game against Mexico will not be a real indicator of where the USA is under Klinsmann, but regardless of the final score, as long as the USA shows some attacking flair and willingness to possess the ball it is a strong move in the right direction.
Updated Friday, August 5, 2011 at 10:51 a.m. CDT