As promised, we've got your international break updates from yesterday. First, let's take a look at the Chivas USA players who saw time with their respective countries, then we'll give you a quick update on the United States National Team and Mexican National Team.
First, Chivas defender Ante Jazic started and played a full 90 minutes for Canada in their 2014 World Cup Qualifier against Puerto Rico, which finished 0-0 in Toronto. The Canadians were upset they couldn't build on their commanding 7-0 victory a couple of days ago against St. Lucia, but they remain at the top of their group in preliminary CONCACAF qualifying. For more information on the match, check out the recap on the MLS website.Alejandro Moreno also saw time in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday, in this case for Venezuela against Argentina. He came on as a substitute late in the second half for la vinotinto in their historic 1-0 win over la albiceleste in Venezuela. Will Venezuela be able to qualify for their first ever World Cup? There's a lot of soccer left to be played, but it's a good start, certainly.
Meanwhile, the United States National Team hosted Ecuador in a friendly Tuesday at Red Bull Arena, where the visitors won 1-0 on a Jaime Ayovi (Pachuca) header in the 79th minute. The match was pretty open, and both defenses looked shaky, but only Ecuador was able to capitalize, with poor marking by Tim Ream that allowed Ayovi enough space in the box to get the winner. Obviously, the result was a disappointment for the United States, and Ream in particular came out of the match as the scapegoat. Certainly, his defending was poor, but the calls to never call him up again seem like complete overreactions to me. He's young, the defense has been a persistent weakness for the U.S. and he may or may not bounce back from a poor season to become an international-caliber defender. The other factor to keep in mind is that this was a friendly, and the U.S. was missing several key players, including Landon Donovan and Stuart Holden (assuming he can recover from his recent injuries to return to the player he was with Bolton last season). There are many question marks surrounding the entire squad, but my opinion is that the backline is the single most important concern and it should be what Jurgen Klinsmann focuses on in the short term.
Finally, Mexico faced Brazil in a friendly Tuesday in Torreon, and the South Americans emerged the winners by a 2-1 score. Mexico went up early when Pablo Barrera's (Real Zaragosa) cross from the right was knocked in for an own goal by David Luiz (Chelsea). Later, Mexico had a terrific opportunity to double their lead, but a penalty taken by Andres Guardado (Deportivo La Coruna) was stopped and the hosts held onto the lead for most of the match. But towards the end of the game, Ronaldinho (Flamengo) hit a free kick that beat Oswaldo Sanchez (Santos Laguna), followed by the winner by Marcelo (Real Madrid) in the 83rd minute. All in all, it was an entertaining friendly, and while Mexican fans will be a bit disappointed to let Brazil come from behind to beat El Tri, this is Brazil we're talking about, and the crowd in Torreon certainly got their money's worth. For more information about the match, check out the coverage at SB Nation's website devoted to Mexican soccer, FMF State of Mind.
With the international break over, it's time to turn our attention fully back to the conclusion of the MLS regular season. Tomorrow, we'll continue our series on the superclasico to get you ready for the battle of LA.
How did you think the United States and Mexico performed in their respective friendlies Tuesday? Which Chivas player deserves a call-up by his country the most? Leave a comment below!