As the September 10 USA vs. Mexico clash at Crew Stadium approaches, TheCrew.com will showcase past U.S.-Mexico matches in Columbus through the eyes of the players and coaches who took part in each of the three 2-0 United States victories.
We begin the series with former U.S. National Team mainstay and current Crew Brand Ambassador Frankie Hejduk, who played in World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico in 2005 and 2009 at Crew Stadium.
"It's a psyhcological factor just for the fact that every time we play [Mexico] in Columbus, we win 2-0. Already, it's in their minds at a time when everyone is so tight and so close in soccer in terms of technically and tactically, any advatage you can get is huge.
We have an advantage over them that started when they came here and they didn't even come out for a warm-up because they were too cold. Right then, it started. We had already changed their mentality and gameplan of thinking when they come to play us in America. They came to play us here in Columbus, which is a perfect spot. It was rainy, cold, wet, windy and they couldn't handle it. We know we have that edge over them. We know that we can break them in certain ways. We break them at Crew Stadium. How do we do that? We do that by having every fan possible in Columbus and the area surrounding Columbus wanting to come to this game.
Players are now saying that Crew Stadium should be the home of the National Team and it's because this is where we as players feel comfortable because this is where we win. We haven't lost here. Any stadium where you're always winning and getting a pro-American crowd against a Mexican team, it speaks volumes to not only the players, but to the gameplan in general because we already have that edge even before the game starts.
Put on top of that a fan base in that game that loves battles, loves fights and loves the gritty play. That's what that game stands for and to be honest, that's what Columbus stands for in a way. We're working hard, we're in your face, we're gutsy, we're gritty.
We don't care how flashy you are. You come to our town, everything is erased. You're going to get rocked. That's the mentality we have and that mentality carries over into the game. Those games are battles. They're scrappy, they're fights. The last three times, we've been the team that's out-battled, out-fought, out-played and out-scrapped Mexico. I think it's due in-part because they're already mentally deflated when they walk out onto the field."