The US National Arena Soccer Team had the marquee names of American soccer legend Landon Donovan and three-time MASL MVP Franck Tayou, but the Mexican National Futbol Rapido Team had the top-to-bottom depth, and it showed as Mexico routed the US 7-3 Saturday night at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM.
It was the second loss this month to Mexico, following a 7-2 decision August 10 in Boise, ID. In both games, the US team was able to hang around for three quarters, only to see Mexico pull away late. Also, in both games, the US generated very little in the way of offense.
On Saturday, Mexico scored right off the bat on Carlos “Poper” Hernandez’s goal 29 seconds into the first quarter. The US answered late when Donovan nicely settled a hot pass at midfield, pushed the ball down the field and blasted a high shot past Mexico goalkeeper Diego Reynoso to tie it at 1-1.
In the second quarter Hernandez got Donovan to bite hard on a feint, giving him the space he needed to give Mexico the lead for good at 3:55 of the second quarter.
The 2-1 score held up until halfway through the third quarter when Mexico’s Moises Gonzalez scored that frame’s only goal.
Mexico blew the game open in the fourth quarter with three goals in a span of 2:20, suddenly making it-a 6-1 game. Franck Tayou scored a late power play goal and Taylor Bond and Mitchell Cardenas exchanged goals in the game’s final minute for the final 7-3 margin.
Donovan, for his part, had one of his best games as an indoor player. In addition to his goal, he was robbed by a Reynoso kick save on a breakaway, and later couldn’t get his body around on a rebound attempt, but he was active throughout the game and emotionally engaged in what could be one of the final games of his outstanding career.
Donovan and these two teams will hook up again on September 14 at Stockton Arena in California.