Before Edgar Castillo, there was Martin Vasquez.
Like Castillo, Vasquez played for both Mexico and the United States. The Mexican-born midfielder, who was recently hired as head coach of Chivas USA, suited up in three friendlies for el Tri in the early '90s. After joining MLS side Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996, he received his U.S. citizenship and went on to earn seven caps for the Yanks in the run-up to the 1998 World Cup.
This dual-citizenship gives Vasquez a unique perspective on CONCACAF's giants. With ties to both sides of the Rio Grande, he understandably refuses to choose one over the other in the coming World Cup, but he does believe the U.S. will have the easier time of it in the group stages.
"Bob [Bradley] and his coaching staff should be feeling confident and positive about the draw," the former Bayern Munich assistant told Goal.com. "There are no easy games. But I feel confident that the U.S. will get out of the group."
Vasquez spent nearly ten years in the Mexican leagues, including with Puebla, Veracruz and Atlas, where he was a teammate of longtime Mexico goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. What does the 45-year-old coach think of el Tri’s chances?
"With Mexico, it’s a tougher group," Vasquez says. "But they will prepare with plenty of time and play some games over in Europe. This will help. If they are able to come into the World Cup with some big games and some rhythm and have their team already identified, they can do well."
Greg Lalas, Goal.com
How important is the draw to a team's World Cup success? Find out what the experts say in the DEC/JAN issue of Goal.com Magazine.