It started with a fairly innocent poll, aimed at discussing something other than a bitter election.
When 68 percent of my Twitter followers voted tht they expected the United States to defeat Mexico in Friday’s World Cup qualifier — with another 12 percent expecting a draw — I raised the issue to ProSoccerTalk editor Joe Prince-Wright.
[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ]
Do people really think the USMNT are the favorites at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus on Friday?
Agreeing the numbers seemed skewed, we posted the same Twitter poll on the NBC Sports Soccer feed. A few thousand votes later, the percentages remained almost identical despite the much wider audience.
As flawed as they are, FIFA Rankings say the match should be close. The Yanks are 24th in the world, seven spots below Mexico, but only one-fifth of our audience thinks El Tri will claim all three points.
El Tri has lost exactly one match — granted an embarrassing 7-0 Copa America loss to Chile — since the start of 2016. They’ve defeated Uruguay and Chile in that time.
More importantly, the last time Mexico faced the U.S. in a match that mattered, the Southern neighbors absolutely thumped Jurgen Klinsmann’s men in the CONCACAF Cup.
So is our poll bravado from the United States’ outstanding record against Mexico in Columbus, four-straight Dos a Cero victories?
Is it a short memory, as the Yanks have lost to Mexico just once in seven outings dating back to August 2011?
Or perhaps it’s simply pre-match bravado, with the U.S. having allowed just one goal in four games and making a run to the Copa America Centenario semifinal this summer?
Finally could it be a bizarrely high expectation of the USMNT, and the thought that US Soccer is much further along than many others would say?
Regardless of the answer, the polls show that our audience expects the United States to win. That flies in the face of the four writers on our roundtable, with one win, two draws, and a loss predicted amongst the group.
If the United States gets a win on Friday night in Ohio, I will be over the moon. The home side will be buoyed by the crowd and I do expect a point, but Mexico boasts an incredible batch of talent in places that could trouble the United States (especially with seasoned rivalry vets Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey missing from the bunch).
Although I have to say, your votes have me feeling a lot better than I did just 24 hours ago.