I am ashamed to say it but I only watched parts of the latest installment Duke vs. UNC. It was not because I was doing work, but because I was watching the international friendly between Mexico and the United States.
The CONCACAF rivalry has been heavily weighted in the favor of the USA lately with the boys from south of the border going winless in their last nine matches in the states.
This game was mostly of an opportunity for the managers to test out new formations and give some of their young players the chance to get on the field and experience the excitement and pressure of this ever-growing rivalry.
For the USA, we got a look at the future in 18-year-old Jozy Altidore, who made his first start for the team and if coach Bob Bradley knows whats good for him, Altidore will be in the starting 11 from now on.
Not only did Altidore score the second goal for the USA but he reeked havoc all day and made the Mexican defense look old and slow.
Another 18-year-old who impressed was second half sub Freddy Adu. Not only did he bring a spark but his moves in stopage time that made two Mexican defenders look stupid and set up a final scoring chance for the USA, but he was a creative force all around.
On the Mexican side, the future looks so very bright.
During last year’s Copa America Nery Castillo ripped some of the best national teams in the world and is one of the best strikers in the world.
And while he and Andres Guardado were not in this game they are the core of a group of young attacking Mexican players that are honing their skills overseas.
Two young players for El Tri that were on the field in Houston were Carlos Vela who gashed the flanks of the USA defense all night long and Gio Dos Santos.
The team experienced no decline when manager Hugo Snachez took out Vela in favor of Barcelon’s Dos Santos, who many say will someday supplant Ronaldinho as Braça’s attacking midfielder.
The USA has had the best of the Mexicans of late but that could soon change. As soon as El Tri have their four young stars aligned the world has to watch out.
With Dos Santos and Guardado on the wings and Vela and Castillo up top, the Mexicans will be a force to contend with not only in CONCACAF but in the World Cup and beyond.
Mexico has the higher profile players performing well overseas but with the signs that Altidore and Adu showed as well as the skills 20-year-old Michael Bradley has shown in Europe mean the US will keep the rivalry alive and thriving for years to come.