Chivas' Pineda Lauds American Soccer's Gains

Chivas midfielder Gonzalo Pineda said the United States has earned their rise in status regionally and internationally and said Mexico would do well to take a page out of the Americans' success.
When the United States national team pulled off their stunning upset of Spain on Wednesday, few if any Mexican footballers were pulling for the Americans.

"We all have a sporting dislike of the United States and I believe (Wednesday) we were all rooting for Spain," Chivas midfielder Gonzalo Pineda told Guadalajara daily Mural. "But we have to respect what the United States is doing."

Pineda said the United States has set a standard of progress and success that Mexico would do well to duplicate.

"In some way (we have to) emulate them because it is a team that 15 years ago was nothing in world football. They got to work, they don't shorten processes, you don't see strange things in their football and they have built up their league," said Pineda, a member of Mexico's 2006 World Cup squad. "It is an example of what order in a federation brings and we have to, in some way, think a little bit like them because 15 years ago they said they would be at this level at this time and they are there. They want something and they get it and that's what we have to respect and somehow copy it. They've worked very well and we need to recognize that."

Mexico and the United States measured wits in February 2007 in Glendale, Ariz., when Hugo Sanchez debuted as national team coach while U.S. coach Bob Bradley led the Americans for just the second time. The U.S. won 2-0 and went on to beat Mexico again in the Gold Cup final that summer, by 2-1, the first major strike against Sanchez. Nine months later, Sanchez was gone. Following short stints by Jesus "Chucho" Ramirez and Sven-Goran Eriksson, Mexico has now turned to Javier Aguirre to try and resuscitate Mexico's flickering World Cup hopes.

Meanwhile, the U.S. punched their ticket to the Confederations Cup with their Gold Cup final win in 2007, and now the Americans will play in their first-ever FIFA tournament final.

To Pineda, that the U.S. has achieved what they have with what he said was an inferior talent base made the Americans' accomplishments greater.

"I'd like for you to tell me one American player who is better than Rafa Marquez, than (Carlos) Vela, than Giovani (Dos Santos). We have a great number of players who are playing in Europe. There's (Carlos) Salcido, (Ricardo) Osorio, players who are at the highest level and playing, there's (Andres) Guardado. I don't see a single player with those types of characteristics on the United States national team," he said. "But what have they done? Working as a team, they have tried to improve as a team and they've achieved that. We have to think like that, to formulate an idea and fight to the death for it."

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