What a night it was Wednesday for the City of Houston. Let's take soccer out of it and realize what a night Houston projected out to other parts of the world.
Certainly our best foot was put forward at Reliant Stadium.
Forty five thousand passionate soccer fans produced the largest attendance of the event so far and on a Wednesday night to boot. (No pun intended)
The color, the passion, the natural sound made this as close to a World Cup environment as possible.
Fans of Mexico were clearly in the majority but as promised by Jamaican consulate Beverly Ford the yellow jerseys of Jamaican fans were evident and provided color as well.
Alberto Medina's 19th-minute goal was the difference and gave Mexico the group Championship but many included U.S. National team assistant coach Glenn Myernick called this the best game of the tournament so far.
Who could not be impressed with Mexico and their ability on the ball. Players like Luis Perez of Monterrey and Zinha of Toluca were a joy to watch in midfield.
Jamaica after struggling defensively in the first two games of the tournament
against Guatemala and South Africa tightened things up defensively making it a
difficult night for Mexican star striker Jared Borgetti who became increasingly
frustrated by the marking of "Reggae Boyz " defender Claude Davis. Borgetti eventually got a second yellow card and will not be available for Sundays
quarterfinal clash at Reliant Stadium between Mexico and Colombia.
Jamaica's speed, power, and unpredictable skills gave Mexico problems at times through talented players like Damani Ralph, Jermaine Hue, and Ricardo Fuller of Portsmouth who was a late second half sub.
Hue especially was interesting with quick, tight, skills and a powerful shot , not to mention him being left footed.
So Mexico will have to go it without striker Borgetti who is currently tied for the all time goal scoring lead with Carlos Hermosillo and Luis Hernandez whom both played in MLS for LA.
Despite that Ricardo LaVolpe their head coach is not concerned.
"We are a squad of 23 and when we lose a player we have to overcome the difficulty, others must do the job."
All true, but let's face it Borgetti is not an ordinary player. In fact he is expected to move to the English Premiership with Bolton after this tournament after receiving offers from Spain, Germany, and England.
His impressive performances as of late in the Confederations Cup and Gold Cup make you realize the impact as a striker he can have. His uncanny ability to create space for himself to get shots off plus his obvious aerial power make him a potentially good fit for England one would think.
The question for Mexico against a young Colombian squad will be who will provide the spark up front in Borgetti's absence?
One might not look farther than Alberto Medina who had the lone goal against Jamaica after a wonderful ball from Luis Perez. Maybe Chivas's Omar Bravo or Morelia's Rafael Marquez will step up and have a great game.
The absence of one is an opportunity for another.
Colombia sneaks in after winning it's final game against Trinidad and Tobago and will rely on Tressor Moreno, Abel Aguilar and Hugo Hurtado. The invited guests have never won the Gold Cup and have a dubious task against the defending champs.
Reliant Stadium will be rocking with another amazing atmosphere this Sunday . The second game features upstart South Africa who were undefeated in Group play
against surprising Panama.
If you missed Wednesday night here is another chance this Sunday to experience a World Cup type soccer atmosphere as Houston soccer history will once again be made.
See you there!
Davis is a nationally recognized broadcaster for HDNET where he partners up with
former U.S. National Team defender Marcelo Balboa. He was one of the lead voices
for ESPN during the 2002 World Cup and has called major international soccer matches
for the Fox Network as well. He is a weekly columnist for the Houston Chronicle
and hosts the "Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis" radio show on ESPN 790 AM every Sunday
from 5-6 pm. Davis played soccer professionally for the Houston Dynamos where
he was a league all star selection and team captain.