Extreme conditions for U.S. soccer matches
U.S. World Cup prospects took a big turn for the better this week, with a pair of games played in circumstances so striking that anyone who saw either game will not likely ever forget them. First came the snow bowl Friday night in Denver, a 1-0 win over Costa Rica, played in a driving blizzard that dumped some six inches of snow on the field during the two-hour game and made the groundskeeping crew the most effective players on the field – running snow shovels across the field at every stoppage in play, just so players and refs could get some inkling of where the lines were.
On Tuesday, the U.S. traded the Mile High City for the mile-and-a-half-high Estadio Azteca – the 105,000-seat Mexico City fortress where they have never won a competitive game – and weathered a furious Mexican attack, being outshot 19-1 and giving up an eye-popping 15 corner kicks, but no goals, bringing home a 0-0 draw that lifted them into a second-place tie in the logjammed CONCACAF standings and left Mexico, shockingly, winless and out of qualifying position for the time being. It's a long campaign – seven more games, continuing through October – but for now ... thanks for the memories. See you June 7, in Jamaica.