Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Reunited and it seems so weird

Steve Sampson and Alexi Lalas. In 1998, Sampson wouldn't let Lalas on the field for the World Cup. In 2006, Lalas fired Sampson, despite the coach leading the Galaxy to the Open Cup and the MLS Championship.
Now they come together again in this ESPN Deportes video on the U.S./Mex match.

Sampson: That rivalry is always something special. You never know what’s going to happen.
Lalas: It’s more than a game. It’s more than that for the players, for the fans, for the public of both fans. It’s incredible.
Voiceover: 1999 – the year that Mexico last won on American soil. The U.S. Mexico game is now the most important one in CONCACAF and one of the biggest rivalries in the entire continent. Steve Sampson and Alexi Lalas explain why the U.S. dominates locally.
Sampson: Well, first of all, if it’s an important game, the U.S. never plays in Southern California, because there are a lot of Hispanics there. In the second place, the level of the U.S. players has grown substantially. In the third place, it’s not a friendly. They are always games with a lot of importance. So they come with good concentration and they’ve risen to improve the rivalry between the two countries.
Lalas: When Americans want to do something, on the field or off, we do all we can. Now we have player playing in some of the best leagues in the world. We have teams here, in our league, MLS who can play with the top teams in the world. Every year we get better.
Voiceover: The former coach of the U.S. and the former central defender have a favorite game in the rivalry.
Sampson. When we played in World Cup qualifying in 1997,
Lalas: We arrived in Mexico City and we played in Azteca.
Sampson: We played in front of 120,000 people. That was a great day for the U.S., because we had to get at least a point to advance to the next round.
Lalas: We were playing with only ten men early in the game.
Sampson: We tied the match and we achieved our goal of moving on.
Lalas: It was an incredible point. It was an important point, every important.
Sampson: I had goosebumps.
Voiceover: US, mexico, Mexico versus U.S. A rivalry so fierce that it crossed oceans, when the teams met in Korea. It was the most painful loss and the sweetest victory.
Lalas: We won 2-0 at the World Cup. They couldn’t say it wasn’t an important game, they couldn’t say that it wasn’t the strongest team. They can’t say anything. 2-0. Thank-you. Goodbye. Ciao!

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