Featured Matches
Previous
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
4:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Lokomotiv Moscow
Apollon Limassol
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Metalist Kharkiv
Ruch Chorzow
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Krasnodar
Real Sociedad
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
Dinamo Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Neftchi Baku PFC
FK Partizan Belgrade
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
PAOK Salonika
Zimbru Chisinau
4:15 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FK Astra Giurgiu
Lyon
4:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Rostov
Trabzonspor
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
PSV Eindhoven
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Sheriff Tiraspol
Rijeka
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Twente Enschede
FK Qarabag
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Asteras Tripolis
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
Panathinaikos
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
FC Zorya Luhansk
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Zürich
FC Spartak Trnava
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Torino
RNK Split
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Sparta Prague
PEC Zwolle
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
St Etienne
Karabükspor
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
HJK Helsinki
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Debrecen
BSC Young Boys
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Internazionale
Stjarnan
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hull City
KSC Lokeren
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Borussia Monchengladbach
FK Sarajevo
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Villarreal
Astana 1964
ESPNDeportes 6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Dinamo Minsk
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
AEL
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Dinamo Zagreb
Petrolul Ploiesti
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Club Brugge
Grasshoppers Zürich
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Legia Warsaw
Aktobe Lento
7:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Rio Ave
Elfsborg
8:15 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Waterhouse
Tauro FC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Olimpia
Alpha United
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Alajuelense
Chorrillo FC
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Danubio F.C.
Deportivo Capiatá
8:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Fluminense FC
Goiás EC
9:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Caracas F.C.
Inti Gas Deportes
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
César Vallejo
Millonarios
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Criciúma
São Paulo
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sport
EC Vitória
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Cali
UTC
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Wilstermann
Peñarol
1:00 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Banfield
Tigre
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Lanús
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Quilmes
San Lorenzo
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gremio
Santos FC
11:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Chile
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pumas Generalena
Limon
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Jun 23, 2007

Mexican players feeling the heat against U.S.

Pressure is something that comes with the green jersey of the Mexican national soccer team. Every player that wears it, feels it. They see the packed stadiums and hear the roars from the crowd and know that a nation's emotions truly hinge on how well they perform.

Given that, you would think Mexican players would be accustomed to the pressure of a matchup against the U.S. national team. The numbers would seem to suggest otherwise. In the past 11 meetings between these bitter rivals, Mexico has managed just two victories. Things have been even worse on American soil, where Mexico has not won or even scored a goal since a 2-1 victory in San Diego on March 13, 1999 (they're 0-8-1 during that span).

As staggering as these figures are, some Mexican players will claim to have been oblivious to them. Call it denial or call it a weak attempt to ignore the reality of the U.S. team's dominance of the series, but a surprising number of Mexican players dropped an "I did not know that" when approached with the series' statistics.

"We don't think about those things," Mexican midfielder Pavel Pardo said when asked about the lopsided results in the series. "Pressure for us isn't there any more than normal. Mexico is always obligated to win so we live with pressure all the time. It is not unique to games against the United States."

Believe that one and there may be a purchase of the Brooklyn Bridge in your future. Mexicans are fully aware of their lack of success against 'Los Gringos' and it wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that the American domination of the series has begun to affect Mexico's play.

"We have their number and they're getting frustrated because they haven't beaten us," said U.S. midfielder DaMarcus Beasley. "They want to beat us so bad that it may work against them.

"They have a lot more pressure on them because their nation is soccer," Beasley said. "They can't beat us in any other sport but soccer, so for them to lose to us is like a national tragedy and every time we beat them it is very bad for their country."

Not every Mexican player lives in denial over the magnitude of the U.S.-Mexico rivalry and the Americans' recent domination of it.

"It might be an obsession for us and that's something we're at fault for," German-based Mexican defender Ricardo Osorio said. "We have to calm down and realize it's something we want but not something we can be desperate for.

"We can't rush ourselves and become obsessed with beating them," Osorio said. "We must relax and play our soccer."

Mexican frustrations over not being able to solve the U.S. national team were never more obvious than in the last meeting between the teams, a 2-0 U.S. victory on Feb. 7 in Glendale, Arizona. Mexico dominated play and created numerous scoring opportunities but missed chance after chance as they failed to score on American soil for a ninth straight time.

As has been the routine after such defeats, Mexican players refused to give their American counterparts much credit and clung on to any excuse they could find to explain away yet another loss to the United States.

"We were the better team and created more but could not find the goal," said Mexican forward Jared Borgetti on that day. "When we outplay an opponent this way we must be able to find the goals."

"It was a game where we didn't have much rest," Osorio said about the loss in February. "I flew almost 16 hours, Pavel [Pardo] the same and Rafael [Marquez] the same. We were dead to be honest and we lost."

There won't be room for excuses for the Mexican team on Sunday. They haven't spent the previous days traveling, the field is not in terrible shape and the soldout crowd expected to fill Soldier Field will surely be dominated by Mexican fans. The stage is set for the Mexicans to finally vanquish a rival that has frustrated them for years and, if they don't, their players will have to stop living in denial about the United States' dominance of the series and its claim to the title of best team in CONCACAF.

"A final is important enough, but we know playing it against our rival makes it more special," Osorio said. "We've learned a lot from our matches with them and we just have to be calm and realize we have an opportunity to beat them."

Ives Galarcep covers MLS for ESPNsoccernet. He is a writer and columnist for the Herald News (N.J.) and writes a blog, Soccer By Ives. He can be reached at Ivespn79@aol.com.