The Puebla winger says the conditions won't impact him much, but playing at altitude is more daunting than the crowd.DaMarcus Beasley knows what it's like to face Mexico in Estadio Azteca. He's been there before and he knows what to expect when the USA squares off with its arch-rival on Tuesday night.
The crowd will play its part, with the Mexican faithful expected to once again be over 100,000 strong, reigning down cheers for the home team and jeers for their northern neighbor. But Beasley contends that it's the altitude of the stadium and the team on the other side - not the atmosphere created by the supporters - that makes the famed Mexican home ground such a tough place to play.
"To be honest, it is the altitude," Beasley told reporters when asked what makes playing at Club America's home ground so hard. "Playing in front of a lot of fans, that’s what these guys know about, playing in Europe, playing with big crowds. So that part I don’t think fazes the team as much.
"But seriously, the altitude does play a big part in playing here. And obviously Mexico’s a good team. They’re one of the best teams, obviously, in CONCACAF and one of the best teams in the world. Obviously from the success they’re having from the youth teams all the way up to the big team they have a lot of confidence right now."
For Beasley, who plays his club ball at altitude in Puebla, which sits just southeast of Mexico City, the move to the slightly higher Azteca shouldn't be much of an issue, but he knows how difficult it is to adjust.
"The first 20 minutes are always the worst," he said. "You can’t breathe, you get that dry feeling in your throat. That’s always difficult. And obviously the guys that come off the bench, that come on to the game, that first two or three minutes you can’t breathe."
The chance to play in a World Cup qualifier in Azteca is generally daunting for U.S. players. In the history of the rivalry the USA has walked away with only one draw at Azteca in a meaningful game, but Mexico's struggles to find a win in the Hexagonal round of qualifying, and with the USA coming off a win, Beasley feels confident that his team can get a positive result.
"We want to get a result," he said. "I’ve always said that playing away is tough, but getting a point, even getting three points, is always good. And I think we can do that tomorrow. I mean, I know we can do that tomorrow. It’s very important that we keep our confidence high and go and show that tomorrow night."
Eric Gomez contributed reporting for this article from Mexico City