As usually happens when the latest USMNT roster is released, people go a little crazy. Jurgen Klinsmann's job is called for, players that are not on the roster are pined over, players on the roster are questioned, in general black clouds roll in over the American soccer landscape.
Thanks to the tizzy fans seem to work themselves in to over a friendly, they tend to lose track of the point of these games. Instead of being pleased to see some fresh faces getting a chance to gain important experience, it all comes back to wins and losses. Let me throw out an idea: It doesn't matter one bit whether the US wins tonight in Mexico.
Would it be great to break the Azteca jinx? Sure, but that's not the purpose of this friendly. Klinsmann knew that his selection options were limited by the stupid mid-August timing of this international break. Many European based players are rightly focused on preparing for the season which has either already started for them or will kick off in the next week or two. The likes of Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey weren't coming all the way back to North America for this, nor should they.
Instead, Klinsmann has a chance to give some new faces the opportunity to walk in to hell and experience just what that is like. After all, if you can survive a trip to Azteca, there should be nowhere in CONCACAF that can faze you. That's the opportunity this friendly has presented and if US Soccer or ESPN has tried to sell it as anything else, shame on them. If the fans have convinced themselves that this is some kind of must-win game that will somehow tilt the balance of power in the region, shame on them.
This is a friendly, nothing more. The US will play to win, they'll do their best, they might even pull off a massive upset, but it doesn't matter. What matters is the experience, thought I doubt that perception of the match will be popular.