Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bookies Favor USA, Team Stays at Hyatt Cap Square, Hejduk to Start

If the men in the smoke-filled backrooms off shore at are right, the United States will defeat Mexico on Wednesday or at worst walk away with a tie.

After weeks of laying back, apparently now enough people are interested in wagering on Wednesday’s smack down at Crew Stadium that the bookies have set a line, and it goes like this:

USA to Win: -125
Mexico to Win: +280
Tie: +220

For the novices, what this means is $100 on U.S.A. pays out $125 for a $25 profit. $100 on Mexico pays $280 for a $180 profit. And $100 for a tie nets $120 in profit.

El Luchador does not endorse illegal activity (other than sedition). However, if you are reading this from one of the many places on the planet where sports betting is legal (not Columbus, Ohio), then here is my advice: Do not bet on this game. The way these odds have been set tells you that all the money is being placed on the United States, and this is probably being influenced by rabid fans blindly supporting USA rather than honest, rational assessments about what is going to actually happen on the field.

That being said, El Luchador has already made his prediction, and he is sticking with it: USA 2, Mexico 1, with goals by Robbie Rogers and Sacha Kljestan.

Anyways, here is a round up on Wednesday’s game:
  • The team has now landed in C-Bus and are staying Downtown at the Hyatt on Capitol Square.

  • Frankie Hejduk will start at right back.

  • I hate to always pick on the Dispatch, and they clearly have been trying on their soccer coverage lately. But, I couldn’t let this one go: Bob Hunter actually wrote the following phrase in Sunday’s paper, and it actually made it past his editors and into the paper: “Soccer fans here understand that the rivalry between the two nations is as hot as a jalapeno and as salty as a margarita.” Seriously?

  • If Sven Goren Eriksson faces a humiliating defeat in Columbus on Wednesday against the U.S., he will be fired. There already rumors in the Mexican media that Javier Aguirre of Atletico Madrid will be the next coach for Mexico if Eriksson fails against the Americans. "It will be difficult, we know it will be a tough game, as history suggests, but we are going to work with optimism," Erickson told Rueters.

  • The same Sweden squad that lost to the U.S. last week, just four days later dismantled the Mexicans in a 1-0 victory at the Oakland Coliseum before 46,000 mostly Mexican fans, who repeatedly booed their feeble fellow countrymen.

  • A few basic facts about Mexico: The Mexican national football team is currently ranked 26th in the FIFA World Rankings. The United States is 22nd. Mexico has not failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1990, and that was not because of elimination in competition, but for rule violations in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where they fielded players above the FIFA age limit (cheaters). The last time they failed to qualify in actual competition was 1974. Their best performances came in 1970 and 1986, when they reached the quarterfinals. Not coincidentally, both of these performances came when the tournament was played in Mexico.

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