Los Angeles Soccer: Copa America
The Mexican federation posted on its website a schedule for the team, which will compete as a guest in the July 1-24 Copa America, South America's nations championship, and it includes a June 15 date against Chivas USA in Tijuana.
Chivas officials merely said the game had not been confirmed. It almost surely would be played at Estadio Caliente, Club Tijuana's home ground.
Mexico announced a 26-man preliminary roster for the Copa America team, a different group than will represent El Tri in the June 5-25 CONCACAF Gold Cup, our region's nations championship. It's officially an under-22 team, but included are several national team veterans, including Pachuca midfielder Paul Aguilar, Arsenal forward Carlos Vela, Guadalajara goalkeeper Luis Michel and defender Jonny Magallon, and Barcelona reserves midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos. Vela is 22, Dos Santos 21.
The roster must be trimmed to 22 players by June 27.
The U.S. national team was hit and miss during the friendlies against Argentina on Saturday and Paraguay on Tuesday, and it has nothing to do with the scorelines.
The Americans rallied to tie Lionel Messi-led Argentina, 1-1, in East Rutherford, N.J., a flattering result that provides no suggestion of how dominant were the Albiceleste. The U.S. was much better against Paraguay in Nashville, dictating large swaths of action, but couldn't overcome an early deficit in a 1-0 defeat.
Bob Bradley's team, 1-2-4 since the World Cup, is preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where there are weighty expectations (the U.S. must make it to the June 25 final at the Rose Bowl, likely against Mexico) and a big prize (the winner heads to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil).
The bigger picture, of course, is 2014, the next World Cup, and Bradley has blooded more than two dozen players, with a handful demonstrating that they might have a real future at the international level. The U.S. coach already has had 58 players in camp since August and used 51 in the games against Brazil (2-0 loss, Aug. 10 in East Rutherford), Poland (2-2 draw, Oct. 9 in Chicago), Colombia (0-0 draw, Oct. 12 in Chester, Pa.), South Africa (1-0 win, Nov. 17 in Cape Town), Chile (1-1 draw, Jan. 22 at Home Depot Center), Argentina and Paraguay.
Here are five things we learned, or saw confirmed, in the games the past week:
1. IT'S WISE TO KEEP THE BORDERS OPEN
U.S. Soccer once scrambled for every U.S.-eligible player that could be found in Europe -- every serviceman's son (Thomas Dooley, Earnie Stewart, David Wagner, etc.), every player married to a Yank (Roy Wegerle, David Regis -- too bad we missed out on Juergen Klinsmann!), every U.S.-born, foreign-raised talent (can't think of any off hand, sorry).
Mexico avoided Argentina and Brazil, but that doesn't mean El Tri received a favorable draw for next summer's Copa America.
The Mexicans, who join Japan as a guest team in South America's nations championship, were placed Thursday into Group C with Uruguay, Chile and Peru. Uruguay was the top Latin American team at the World Cup in South Africa, reaching the semifinals and finishing fourth behind Golden Ball winner Diego Forlan. Chile reached the round of 16.
Host Argentina is in Group A with Colombia, Japan and Bolivia. Brazil heads Group B, with Paraguay, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The tournament begins July 3.