Earlier this week, Argentina released their roster for an upcoming friendly against Guatemala. On Feb. 6, Argentina will play Guatemala at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
Argentina spared no expense in calling in a star-studded roster, which includes Juan Roman Riquelme, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Aguero, not to mention up-and-comers in Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Gago, among others. The match falls on an international fixture date, which allowed Argentina to call in a mostly European-based squad.
I'm hoping to be at the game as it's not often you get to take in Argentina in person, at least not here in the United States.
Still, I can't help but thinking... the U.S. is playing Mexico that same night, in Houston. Wouldn't the U.S. be better off playing Argentina than Mexico? Sure, a rivalry match is always an enjoyable one but why not test your mettle against one of the best nations in the world?
U.S.-Mexico will undoubtedly be a good game. There will be moments of drama and (probably) pulsating goals. The action will likely go back and forth and few will complain about the entertainment value of the match once its over (though the result will likely irritate one group of fans).
But Argentina is Argentina, and wouldn't a friendly against them be better for the U.S. than another match against Mexico?
Now, I've often been supportive of U.S.-Mexico games, and still am. I think it's one of those things that you can't get enough of, for all the things I've said prior. But Mexico is close by. A two- or three-hour flight from Mexico City to American soil is usually all it takes for El Tri to arrive. Argentina is quite a bit further, especially when you consider most of their players are based in the Old World. That Argentina is willing to come to the United States to play against Guatemala seems a bit strange. I mean, if they are willing to come play Guatemala - all the way in Los Angeles - surely they'd be willing to play the United States here, no? Why didn't the U.S. make a greater push to play against Argentina?
Anyway, here's what the U.S. missed out on:
Goalkeepers: Oscar Ustari (Getafe, Spain), Sergio Romero (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands).
Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Espanyol, Spain) , Ezequiel Garay (Racing Santander, Spain), Federico Fazio (Sevilla, Spain), Martin Demichelis (Bayern Munich, Germany), Cristian Ansaldi (Rubin Kazan, Russia).
Midfielders: Fernando Gago (Real Madrid, Spain), Ever Banega (Valencia, Spain), Jose Sosa (Bayern Munich, Germany), Javier Mascherano (Liverpool, England), Damian Escudero (Velez Sarsfield), Juan Roman Riquelme (Boca Juniors).
Strikers: Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid, Spain), Sergio Aguero (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Angel Di Maria (Benfica, Portugal), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli, Italy), Marco Ruben (River Plate).