USMNT: Hold My Beer

Jimy Hendrix

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It says a lot that the subs were Roldan, Zardes and, when we really needed offensive punch, Lovitz.

The bench for this tournament was weak, weak, weak. Partially due to injuries, partially just due to the roster turnover that still needs to happen. To Bradly, sure, but more importantly to the mid 20s MLS Nobody brigade. I feel like that age/league range gets us solid CBs, but is a disaster for anything further up the field.
 

67YAZ

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The key adjustment for Mexico was moving Pizarro to the left. Getting him away from Cannon and next to Ream made their attack much more dynamic.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Losing sucks, especially to Mexico, but the US team exceeded my expectations for this tournament.

Play the kids and keep building something.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Why does Pulisic take all the set pieces? Is Bradley done in that regard? Pulisic doesn’t seem great at it and it would be nice to have him in the box maybe able to pick up some loose change.
 

Titans Bastard

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I was ready to be more zen about this game, but once it seemed achievable I really wanted to beat Mexico. The chances were there, it didn't happen.

Zooming out, I'm okay with the effort put forth in this tournament. We still have clear holes in the XI and the bench was weak to the point that our three subs were Roldan/Zardes/Lovitz. I don't know whether Boyd was carrying an injury or if he's just fallen out of favor. I like Lewis, but he's young and inconsistent. Mihailovic can't be trusted in a game of this magnitude yet, imo. There just weren't many attacking options.

Given how crap the player pool is, the fact that the US did as well as they did seems decent to me.


I'm glad that Cannon showed better than expected. With him, Lima, and Yedlin in the pool at RB, I hope that expedites Adams' replacement of Bradley at DM. Adams is just a nightmare for other midfields to play against and the spillover effects of his field coverage and ball-winning are numerous. I'm not sure he's as good a long passer as Bradley at this point, but the tradeoff is easily worth it - it's not like he's Maurice Edu out there.

LB will continue to be a problem. I'd try Lima there, as he's played a lot of LB this season for San Jose. Longer-term, there are younger prospects, but none are ready right now.

Paxton Pomykal looks ready. Throw him in CM, move Pulisic out wide, bring Weah and Sargent into the pool either as starters or first sub off the bench, and things suddenly look a bit more interesting:

Pulisic —Altidore — Weah
Pomykal — McKennie
Adams
Lima — Brooks — Long — Yedlin/Cannon
Steffen​

Bench: Yedlin/Cannon, Miazga, Bradley, Arriola, Boyd, Morris, Sargent, et al

By 2020/2021, there should be more prospects ready to go.
 

67YAZ

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Pulisic —Altidore — Weah
Pomykal — McKennie
Adams
Lima — Brooks — Long — Yedlin/Cannon
Steffen​

Bench: Yedlin/Cannon, Miazga, Bradley, Arriola, Boyd, Morris, Sargent, et al

By 2020/2021, there should be more prospects ready to go.
Agree that this is the optimal line up at present, but how disappointing is it that the only legitimate competition for the starting XI is at RB? And that’s only in the immediately post-competition glow of a breakout performance for Cannon. We’ll see what the next few camps and friendlies bring. But the lack of depth is damning.

We need Adams and Pomykal in the midfield right away. First Jamaica and then Mexico showed that the current Bradley/McKennie/Pulisic trio can be bottled up with some basic man marking and a little bit of pressing. We need more efficient, quick passing through the middle and having Pulisic back out wide provides a truly dangerous outlet.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I watched the second half and thought Bradley looked pretty terrible. He doesn't have the legs to compete at this level. This team needs someone with a much higher motor to compete.
 

DrewDawg

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Yeah--I think Bradley is the "beneficiary" of the US's lost generation. We have some positions where those missing 4-5 years means the replacements aren't *quite* ready yet.
 

Reverend

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I looked online briefly and couldn’t find anything:

Is there any discussion of how grabbing another player’s neck in a choke hold didn’t get a card?

You just don’t do that. Once I got over my hemming and hawwing about not liking big games decided by cards, that is just not something that can be allowed, yeah?
 

Titans Bastard

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I looked online briefly and couldn’t find anything:

Is there any discussion of how grabbing another player’s neck in a choke hold didn’t get a card?

You just don’t do that. Once I got over my hemming and hawwing about not liking big games decided by cards, that is just not something that can be allowed, yeah?
This picture, via r/MLS, conclusively proves that the chokehold was out of the ref's line of vision.

 

Zososoxfan

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Allow me to join the chorus. Overall this was a good tournament and I loved how the US played in the first half. If they take any of the handful of chances, they have a real chance to win this. Bradley is beyond cooked. He provides next to nothing. He should be replaced immediately. I haven't loved Arriola most of the time I've seen him, but I thought he was fine yesterday (didn't watch second half) and saved a goal tracking back (take note Bradley). Once the US didn't capitalize in the first 20-25 minutes, Mexico grew into the game and the US had no MF. That being said, they have some weapons up top (CP is a legit player) and there are enough pieces here to get a good team ready for '22.
 

DrewDawg

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Mexico flipped their wingers and took advantage of Ream. That's what good teams do. McKennie didn't track back on the Mexican goal. That's what happens to young players.

Honestly though, with red, white, and blue colored glasses, the US could have scored 2+ goals. But it's soccer, and you gotta convert.

We saw good things from Pulisic, McKennie, Cannon, a little from Boyd early in tourney...that's what we need to see.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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I watched the second half and thought Bradley looked pretty terrible. He doesn't have the legs to compete at this level. This team needs someone with a much higher motor to compete.
I posted early that he looked OK. To be fair, for the first ~15 minutes, he made some nice interventions and looked generally competent. I guess I was clutching at straws. He's ready for the glue factory. No shame in that ; happens to everyone. Deserves a rousing sendoff and deep thanks for his service. Does not deserve to be in the XI.
 

Kliq

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To be fair to Bradley, late in the game he made a great run into the box when he recognized that (Morris?) was in trouble after fielding a long corner kick and fired a good low ball into the box that was unfortunate not to find a US player. If that chance is converted people are likely talking about what a smart player Bradley is and how important he is for such a young team.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Yes, he smartish and is very experienced. And he can still drill long/diagonal passes when he has time on the ball. but that should be an extra something he gives the team. He was hammered in his main job.

Usually under pressure, he’d either cough the ball up or make a poor pass. Mexico’s press was not special. Even up a goal, there were times their team was all the way up the field pressuring the US backline and midfield to great effect. As a senior player on the field, he has to be a main cog in passing through it.

I’m not a Bradley hater. Thought he was their best player in South Africa.
 
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BaseballJones

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The US had chances for sure. On one play, the hard driven ball luckily deflected straight off a Mexican defender's face. The defender didn't *do* anything...he just happened to be there Scott Sterling-like while the US player (forget who it was) just drilled a sure goal...right off his face. And the face was the only thing within several yards of where the shot was going. On another play, the header had ALL KINDS of open space and he just happened to direct it....right at the Mexican defender, who did a good job heading it away.

Two inches on either side and those probably deflect into the goal, both of them. Of course you have to convert, and they didn't. But the US easily, easily, easily could have scored at least two goals last night.

I do think Mexico dominated the run of play for most of the second half and were the better team overall and deserved to win when all is said and done. They're just better than we are right now.
 

InstaFace

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Yeah I found more encouraging than discouraging about that match, other than my immediate frustration at us doinking all our chances. The fact that we had ~50% possession and did create a number of good chances should leave us all optimistic, especially given how young the roster is and that several of our better veterans (Brooks, Yedlin) are out with injuries.

What I'm looking ahead to for the USMNT is Olympic Qualifying for Tokyo 2020. It'll be an 8-team U23 tournament for CONCACAF's 2 bids* to the Olympics. The Caribbean and Central American teams will have their own qualifier-for-the-qualifier in a few weeks. The dates aren't even set yet for the final tournament - the last few times around, it was in October 2015, February 2012, March 2008, etc. But it'd be really great to Go For It and play our best youth 11 or something close to it, including Pulisic and McKennie. The Olympics are a great opportunity to showcase the team to the US audience, help our young talent gel, and get some high-end reps that even the top clubs would have to release them for.

* Down from 2.5 in 2016 when CONMEBOL had 1.5; both confederations now have 2, with no playoff. We lost the semis last time around to Honduras, 2-0 (read all about it), forcing us to play Colombia for that playoff bid, which we then lost. That made it 3 straight olympics (and 4 out of 5) that the youth team of Honduras had qualified for - they must be doing something right.
 

DrewDawg

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The US had chances for sure. On one play, the hard driven ball luckily deflected straight off a Mexican defender's face. The defender didn't *do* anything...he just happened to be there Scott Sterling-like while the US player (forget who it was) just drilled a sure goal...right off his face. And the face was the only thing within several yards of where the shot was going. On another play, the header had ALL KINDS of open space and he just happened to direct it....right at the Mexican defender, who did a good job heading it away.

Two inches on either side and those probably deflect into the goal, both of them. Of course you have to convert, and they didn't. But the US easily, easily, easily could have scored at least two goals last night.

I do think Mexico dominated the run of play for most of the second half and were the better team overall and deserved to win when all is said and done. They're just better than we are right now.
And that's not including Jozy's miss or the play where Arriola snuck in and had a chance off the misplay.
 

Titans Bastard

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Wow. That’s really shitty. Making such big divisions based on crappy FIFA rankings is awful.
 

InstaFace

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yeah they just fucked over the smaller nations good and hard. I thought the previous format was awesome. Yeah, it required 16 always-CONCACAFy games from us to qualify, but that was good practice for us, and good TV money for the USSF besides. Most of the eventual WCF qualifiers came from those getting byes to the group stage, and you didn't have to bring the full A team to that group stage always, either - not until the hex, sometimes.

There's not much to divide federations 4 through 10 in CONCACAF, as those rankings show. Giving them each a 6-game group stage to settle it (3 groups of 4) seemed by far the fairest.

Maybe they just needed to clear schedule slots for this new Nations League stuff. If that gets a lot of action, then maybe the rankings end up being at least somewhat fair as a way to divide.

And it's just one cycle anyway. Come 2026, I hear everybody in the world gets a bid to the WCF. There will be no cats in America, and the streets will be paved with cheese.
 

DrewDawg

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It means that up and coming soccer nations like Haiti have little to no shot to qualify.
 

DrewDawg

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It's in the tweet just above that big pic, but essentially:

1--Top 6 teams in CONCACAF play a hex--home and away. As of now that's Mexico, US, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras, and El Salvador. Top 3 of the 6 go to Qatar.
2--The other 29 nations play a group stage style tourney--8 groups, 5 with 4 teams, 3 with 3 teams.
3--The 8 first place teams advance to knockout round (home/away).
4--Whoever wins that plays the team that came in 4th in the hex.
5--The winner of that game claims a half spot--a playoff against another nation from another region (either Africa, South America, Oceana). If they win that home/away they go to Qatar.

So a squad like Haiti has to win their group, win out the QF, SF, and Finals against all the other first place group teams, then play a playoff against a team from another region.
 

coremiller

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Is this actually worse for a team like Haiti? The advantage Haiti has here is that they only have to beat all the weaker teams to get a one-game playoff against the 4th-place Hex team. Are they more likely to qualify that way or by finishing 4th or better in the Hex, where all their games will be against stronger teams? It's not obvious to me.
 

dirtynine

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The way I read it explained is that the smallest nations and the largest nations will benefit the most, while the middle tier (in the fringe of the Hex in the past) would be more disadvantaged. Canada, in particular, takes a hit here - instead of having a good pre-Hex and getting to the final round (which they have the talent to do), they will automatically have to battle through “the hunger games” just to have one chance to win one chance to win a WC spot.

Meanwhile the US and Mexico benefit (they will never realistically fall beneath the top 6 in Concacaf) and the multitude of smaller nations benefit (because they have something to play for through qualification instead of all being out 3 years before the next WC).

And then, as has been said, 2026 comes and a) everybody qualifies and b) the US and Mex and Canada (I think?) qualify automatically anyway as hosts. (I’m actually not sure if this is set in stone but in all practicality that’s what will happen). So 2022 is really just a one-off.
 

Zososoxfan

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I have no interest in getting into the nitty-gritty, but the fact that some rankings are used to determine WCQ and not, you know, actual matches, is ridiculous.
 

DrewDawg

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Is this actually worse for a team like Haiti? The advantage Haiti has here is that they only have to beat all the weaker teams to get a one-game playoff against the 4th-place Hex team. Are they more likely to qualify that way or by finishing 4th or better in the Hex, where all their games will be against stronger teams? It's not obvious to me.
I mean, maybe?

A hex gives you a chance to possibly stumble once or twice in 10 games--Panama went through playing .500 soccer and being outscored. Honduras advanced to playoff with -6 GD. You can stumble and get through.

In the other half you have to win your group, which means 1 stumble and you might be done, especially in 3 team group. Then you have to negotiate a 2 game QF. Then a 2 game SF. Then a 2 game Final. Without fucking up. Then the intercontinental playoff.

And for teams close to Hunger Games cut-off, it's based on FIFA rankings? Ugh.
 

finnVT

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It's in the tweet just above that big pic, but essentially:

1--Top 6 teams in CONCACAF play a hex--home and away. As of now that's Mexico, US, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras, and El Salvador. Top 3 of the 6 go to Qatar.
2--The other 29 nations play a group stage style tourney--8 groups, 5 with 4 teams, 3 with 3 teams.
3--The 8 first place teams advance to knockout round (home/away).
4--Whoever wins that plays the team that came in 4th in the hex.
5--The winner of that game claims a half spot--a playoff against another nation from another region (either Africa, South America, Oceana). If they win that home/away they go to Qatar.

So a squad like Haiti has to win their group, win out the QF, SF, and Finals against all the other first place group teams, then play a playoff against a team from another region.
Wait... so... if you finish 5th or 6th in the hex, you're out entirely? There are 35 concacaf nations, right? So 29 in the group tourney are the non-hex nations, battling for a chance to play the #4 team. That seems so crazy to me that it seems like it must be wrong... why not allow the 5/6 teams to also enter the tourney? If the goal is to get the 4 best teams to qualify, it doesn't seem like you should be eliminating them just because they can't be top 3 in the hex.
 

coremiller

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I mean, maybe?

A hex gives you a chance to possibly stumble once or twice in 10 games--Panama went through playing .500 soccer and being outscored. Honduras advanced to playoff with -6 GD. You can stumble and get through.

In the other half you have to win your group, which means 1 stumble and you might be done, especially in 3 team group. Then you have to negotiate a 2 game QF. Then a 2 game SF. Then a 2 game Final. Without fucking up. Then the intercontinental playoff.

And for teams close to Hunger Games cut-off, it's based on FIFA rankings? Ugh.
You can stumble in the hex and go through, but you're also much more likely to stumble a lot because the competition is so much stronger. Would you rather have to beat a bunch of weak teams with no margin for error or a bunch of strong teams with a little margin for error? I might choose the former.

I actually think this is worse at the margin for the U.S. and Mexico. Auto-qualifying to the Hex is not worth much because the big nations always make the Hex anyway. But this removes the chance that a relative minnow might slip into the Hex, which would then make advancing out of the Hex easier. Auto-qualifying the top 6 ensures the Hex field is always decently strong.
 

Titans Bastard

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Is this actually worse for a team like Haiti? The advantage Haiti has here is that they only have to beat all the weaker teams to get a one-game playoff against the 4th-place Hex team. Are they more likely to qualify that way or by finishing 4th or better in the Hex, where all their games will be against stronger teams? It's not obvious to me.
If CONCACAF #4 is drawn against CONMEBOL#5 again, being in the "Hunger Games" is an absolute death sentence for WCQ.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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I actually think this is worse at the margin for the U.S. and Mexico. Auto-qualifying to the Hex is not worth much because the big nations always make the Hex anyway. But this removes the chance that a relative minnow might slip into the Hex, which would then make advancing out of the Hex easier. Auto-qualifying the top 6 ensures the Hex field is always decently strong.
I always used to think the U.S. was almost in more danger of failing to make the hex than of failing to qualify out of it (which shows what I know); I think at one point, probably in '02 qualifying, the U.S. was in a semifinal group with Costa Rica and Guatemala, which was a little nervy.

I'm also not convinced that having a total minnow in the hex is always the best thing for the U.S. I think it works to our benefit when the team at the bottom has a reasonable chance of stealing points from the middle teams.
 

Titans Bastard

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Upcoming schedule:

9/6 vs. Mexico at MetLife Stadium, NJ
9/10 vs. Uruguay at Busch Stadium, MO [RUMORED — press conference in STL tomorrow]

10/11 vs. Cuba [CONCACAF Nations League — rumored Audi Field, DC]
10/15 @ Canada [CONCACAF Nations League]

11/15 vs. Canada [CONCACAF Nations League — TBD]
11/19 @ Cuba [CONCACAF Nations League]
 

Titans Bastard

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September is just friendlies?
Yes. Nations League has three-team groups, so over the three fall FIFA weekends, there will be two friendly dates. For some reason Cuba and Canada are playing each other home and away in September, so we have two friendlies.

Mexico & Uruguay is a good lineup talent-wise, though playing Mexico feels a bit repetitive after the GC. The advent of the UEFA Nations League on top of all the WCQ and ECQ schedule means that we're not going to get many friendlies against European countries anymore, though.
 

Dummy Hoy

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If this is Gonzalez all over again my brain will explode. The seeming unwillingness of USSF to recruit is mind blowing.
 

cromulence

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If this is Gonzalez all over again my brain will explode. The seeming unwillingness of USSF to recruit is mind blowing.
I ask this out of total ignorance - is Gonzalez actually good? What's he been up to since he chose Mexico?
 

DrewDawg

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Julian Araujo is not the only promising Mexican-American player the FMF is courting. I'm told El Tri sporting director Gerardo Torrado has also been reaching out to 18-yr-old Richie Ledezma, the U.S. U20 international at PSV Eindhoven.
 

67YAZ

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Two thoughts - El Tri seeking trying to get US youth prospects to switch is a nice sign that we’re producing more good young talent than Mexico right now. That’s great.

But what we heard about how the Gonzalez switch went down, the rumor of radio silence towards Araujo, and the overall lack of investment in Latinx youth development betrays some serious racism at play in the USSF. They’ve got to do better.
 

InstaFace

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Two thoughts - El Tri seeking trying to get US youth prospects to switch is a nice sign that we’re producing more good young talent than Mexico right now. That’s great.

But what we heard about how the Gonzalez switch went down, the rumor of radio silence towards Araujo, and the overall lack of investment in Latinx youth development betrays some serious racism at play in the USSF. They’ve got to do better.
I'm sure Nick Lima, Joe Corona, Omar Gonzalez, Paul Arriola, Luca de la Torre, Jorge Villafaña and Christian Roldan would all speak highly of USSF President Carlos Cordeiro's attitude toward hispanics.

Likewise, it's not like we're making any great shakes at other dual nationals. At least in the Klinsmann days he had motivation and juice with the Germericans. But seriously I'm not sure very many people with dual eligibility to a respectable national team have been in contest, post Klinsmann, other than the Jonathan Gonzalez debacle. Acosta has Japanese citizenship, and I guess there's CCV, but it's not a long list.

Why ascribe to racism when simple incompetence and disorganization will do?
 

67YAZ

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I'm sure Nick Lima, Joe Corona, Omar Gonzalez, Paul Arriola, Luca de la Torre, Jorge Villafaña and Christian Roldan would all speak highly of USSF President Carlos Cordeiro's attitude toward hispanics.

Likewise, it's not like we're making any great shakes at other dual nationals. At least in the Klinsmann days he had motivation and juice with the Germericans. But seriously I'm not sure very many people with dual eligibility to a respectable national team have been in contest, post Klinsmann, other than the Jonathan Gonzalez debacle. Acosta has Japanese citizenship, and I guess there's CCV, but it's not a long list.

Why ascribe to racism when simple incompetence and disorganization will do?
Read this interview with Brad Rothenberg published just after the USMNT lost Gonzalez. Some excerpts:

Our Federation lost Jonathan either by its own arrogance, apathy or incompetence. You pick it. We screwed up and I’m angry about it. I’ve grown tired of watching our federation neglect this community. We didn’t do enough, not nearly enough, to keep him. And the worst part is that it will continue if wholesale changes aren’t made in the approach to finding talent in this community.
The paucity of coaches employed by U.S. Soccer with an interest in Latino style of play is a problem. Tab Ramos isn’t enough. Bring back Hugo Perez. Jonathan wasn’t the first and will not be the last player lost to the national team until major shifts take place at the federation.
SA: What did you think about Thomas Rongen, who said he visited the Gonzalez household as U.S. Soccer’s Chief Scout, saying that, "his dad is so Mexican, that he wanted him to represent Mexico and I knew it was a losing battle, probably."

BRAD ROTHENBERG:
I’ve known Thomas since I was 17 years old and he’s a great person, but that remark only speaks to how ill-suited the Federation is to connect with the millions of Latinos born and living here who could care much, much more about playing for the USA. I don’t think Thomas knows what “so Mexican” really means. I don’t. Does “so Mexican” mean caring about your son’s welfare, sacrificing for his success, respecting your wife, raising two boys to be happy, kind, thoughtful, hard-working, ethical, optimistic. Well, it sounds like the Gonzalez family is how we “American" families aspire to be.