Breaking the Mold: El Tri Doesn't Only Want to Win, They Want to Dominate • Latino Sports

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Breaking the Mold: El Tri Doesn’t Only Want to Win, They Want to Dominate

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Future looking bright for El Tri. (Image Source: Bill Menzel)

As a writer whose passionate about writing, I’m often asked which nationality am I most comfortable representing. Over the years, my answer evolved to the point where I made it clear that my ancestors where a nomadic bunch and as a result, I have relatives everywhere. If I had to pick a nationality, I would rather acknowledge none for I love them all.

In a weird way, that statement got me thinking about Mexico. Following Mexico’s 2-0 dominating performance over the highly powered heavily favored Brazil, El Tri had delivered a clear and powerful message for the world to understand. By winning the U-23 Olympic Gold Medal, Mexico’s soccer future shone even brighter.

Regardless of your national hertiage, the country you live at and language that you speak, Mexico made it clear that they’re no longer Latin America’s version of the English National Team. Gone are the days where mediocrity was considered the norm. Also gone are the days where a current Mexican team is content with keeping any match close.

In layman terms, this young but talented squad does not only want to win, they wish to annihilate their opponents in convincing fashion. From the youth level to the senior level, this may indeed be the greatest Mexican Soccer program ever assembled. No matter the team level, each team has done a marvelous job representing Mexico as well as CONCACAF.

El Tri is not only a soccer team, it’s a National identity within the Mexican community. Growing up in the West Coast, I am well familiar with el orgullo que mi gente lleva en apoyando El Tri. Watcing them win as of late has literally brought me on the verge of tears. One of the reasons why I love this young Mexican National squad is that I had the privilege of meeting them a few years ago.

Two years ago, Cinco de Mayo 2010 to be exact, I met Chicharito and some of his teammates in New York when they team were in town to compete against Ecuador in an international friendly at the New Meadowlands. One thing that stood out about Chicharito that I’ve personally witnessed is his humbleness.

As part of the tour, some members of El Tri were at the Adidas Store in Soho for an autograph signing session. Prior to the event beginning, I spoke with Chicharito. To be honest, I didn’t ask him about the World Cup or at the time, his signing with Manchester United.  We simply talked about his trip to New York and if he had some time to visit any of the city’s sites. I also asked him what he was having for dinner later on after the autograph signing session. All in all, it was a normal conversation.

Once the autograph signing session took place, he was polite as he smiled and shook hands with his fans that arrived in abundance.  There was still a massive crowd waiting outside when time was called on the autograph session. Nothing new for the most popular player in Mexico.

During this time, I also spoke with some of the players as they signed autographs and from our conversations, I sensed they wanted to break the mold from their predecessors and eventually become a team to be reckon with. Following their humiliating loss to Argentina in the 2010 World Cup, the Mexican National team at all levels have been a force to be reckon with.

It was also at this time when I met Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean. As much as I would love to write about what transpired from my meeting with him, I will save it for another day. The only thing I will say is that it’s not often you earn the respect of a Soccer Federation President.

Since my meeting with them, it’s been a joy following this young and exciting team. It’s been fantastic for the US Men’s National Team because if it wasn’t for their emergence in an attempt to level the playing field, we probably wouldn’t have seen the recent change and success of El Tri.

Another player who has impressed me over the years has been Giovani Dos Santos. Even though he didn’t play against Brazil, his earlier performances was incredible.  For Mexico, Giovani Dos Santos has continued to represent his country and shine. It’s a shame that Dos Santos yet been able to sparkle of club level.

Currently playing for Tottenham, Dos Santos, a graduate of Barcelona FC famed youth academy of La Masia is a gem to watch when playing for the Mexican National Team. One cannot help but wonder if he’ll ever live up to his Tottenham’s expectations so he can play and live up to his potential

Up next for El Tri is their most bitter rivals, the United States. With the action taking place on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at Estadio Azteca, this is the first friendly between both eams on Mexican soil since 1984. As stated in USSoccer.com press release:

“A little more than a year into his tenure, Jurgen Klinsmann seeks to lead the U.S. team to its first-ever victory against Mexico in its country. Several U.S. regulars will get their first experience at Azteca, as only three players on the roster have ever played against Mexico on Mexican soil. The match is the first for the U.S. since the 1-1 draw on June 12 in Guatemala, and represents another opportunity to prepare for the critical set of impending World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica next month.”

Can Mexico carry the momentum of their U-23 Gold Medal victory or will the United States finally win their first match at Azteca stadium? Hard to tell in a meaningless friendly but with both squads playing with a chip on their shoulders as well as CONCACAF supremacy, it’ll be more than a give and go match.

Overall, Mexico’s Olympic Gold Medal win demonstrated that there’s a force to be reckon at all levels and that CONCACAF as a federation shouldn’t be overlooked. Complimenting Mexico in the Olympics was Honduras National Team, Los Catrachos. Despite not winning a medal, Honduras had a brilliant run where they defeated Spain and almost upset Brazil.

With so much football left to be played, expect to hear chants of Si Se Puede serenading in stadiums throughout the CONCACAF region.

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