The Us Men's National Team travels to hostile Mexico City today for a very important World Cup qualifying match. Azteca Stadium is known to be one of the hardest environments in our regions, CONCACAF. On top of its high altitude (Mexico City is about 7,349 feet above sea level), Azteca has a capacity of 105,000. You had better believe the place will be full today, which makes it very difficult for players to communicate on the field. The fact that today's game will be played between 3:00 and 5:00 pm local time (also Iowa time) adds in the highest temperatures of the day.
After losing 5-0 to Mexico in the Gold Cup (with our C team and their B team), we desperately need to save face today. We are in second place overall in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying; Mexico is in fourth. The top three teams qualify straight through to the cup while the fourth place team has a playoff match against the fifth place team from the South American region, CONMEBOL. With only a few games remaining, we need to get points in every game to ensure a bid. The USMNT team has never won at Azteca. He have tied several times and a tie would give us enough points to remain in second place. A win, however, would make history and rocket us closer to first place Costa Rica.
The broadcast kicks off today at 2:30 pm on Telemundo (channel 60 on Mediacom). Unfortunately the game is in Spanish. However, NBC Universal (owners of Telemundo) are presenting the English broadcast on Mun2 (normally a Spanish channel). I am not sure why they did not decide to use one of their many English channels like USA, NBC, Syfy, Bravo, etc.* to broadcast the game as the high popularity of the USMNT and the importance of this game would ensure high ratings. Based on something I read earlier this morning, Mediacom is broadcasting the Mun2 coverage free today for digital cable subscribers. Mun2 is on channel 601, but I saw no listing for the game.
As long as Mexico does not secure a win at home, I will be happy. Should we earn our first every victory at Azteca, I will be ecstatic. USA! USA! USA!
*In my humble opinion, NBC Universal should purchase Versus from Comcast. The fledgling sports network has quickly turned itself into a high quality venue with its NHL, Indy Car, NCAA football, and basketball coverage. It presents a nice alternative to ESPN and is a wellknown commodity. Plus, Versus and NBC have worked together to create successful NHL broadcasts and have packaged pro hockey better than ESPN ever did. Purchasing an established sports network rather than starting a new one would give NBC Universal more clout in the full time sports market. With the company's resources it would not be long before Versus was a serious threat to ESPN's dominance.