First, Mexico fell immediately out of the Confederations Cup. Grouped with Italy and Brazil, it was always going to be tough on Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre’s team.
But combined with the team’s pedestrian performance in final stage World Cup qualifying, it starts to add up.
Across the world in Turkey, the United States under-20 team failed to get out of group play in the FIFA tournament for young pros. (The players in Turkey are mostly 19 and 20, but the majority are already signed by professional teams.)
(MORE: U.S. out after big loss to Ghana)
El Salvador also fell out of the group stage.
Mexico did, at least, sneak out of group play in Turkey – but just barely.
After losses to Greece and Paraguay, the Mexicans advanced into the elimination phase with a 4-1 win Friday over Mail. Mexico (backstopped, by the way, by FC Dallas goalkeeper Richard Sanchez) will play in the Round-of-16 on July 2 or 3.
Javan Torre isn’t having the best of times in Turkey, where Tab Ramos’ United States team remains alive after its gutsy 1-1 draw Monday with fanciful France.
The U.S. center back did improve over a sloppy performance in team’s tournament opener last week against Spain, but he conceded the foul that became a gift PK for France.
All the while, FC Dallas fans are saying, only partially sarcastically, “Thanks, Tab Ramos.”
(MORE: United States keeps hope alive with draw vs. France)
The U.S. center back spot was always an area of concern ahead of the Turkey tournament. So, leaving the FC Dallas rookie off his roster became something of a flashpoint. It became more of one when Zimmerman entered for FC Dallas at halftime Saturday as Sporting Kansas City played in Texas.
Coming in for the injured Matt Hedges, Zimmerman had a couple of initial wobbles, not appearing to gain the speed and intensity of the match (Sporting KC has a lot of both, speed and intensity) but settling in from there.
And when Zimmerman burst forward to score the late equalizer, Ramos’ choice to leave the promising 20-year-old behind gained momentum as an MLS and U.S. under-20 talker.
Here is Zimmerman’s late, game-tying goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at FC Dallas Stadium:
(By the way, Zimmerman was the 1000th man to score in MLS, according to the league office. Ain’t that a kick in the head? A rookie center back … one getting his first league goal, no less! What are the odds?)