In any language, “Two to zero” has a great ring to it if you are on the “Two” end.
For U.S. soccer fans, it sounds even more lyrical when translated to the Spanish “Dos a cero.” In a way, it has become a repeated chorus for supporters of the red, white and blue when they face the faithful of the red, white and green.
Since 2000, the United States has played Mexico 21 times. Seven of the Americans’ 12 wins during that time were by the scoreline of 2-0.
Four of those victories occurred in Columbus, Ohio, in World Cup qualifiers. And although “Dos a cero” is associated with that Buckeye State city, one of the 2-0 wins transpired in the Grand Canyon State. It came in Glendale in a 2007 friendly, long before those two numbers and a hyphen spawned T-shirts, including one that proclaims, “Keep calm and dos a cero,” and hatched a diary on the U.S. Soccer federation website.
Tonight at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the latest chapter in the rivalry will be renewed. Who knows if it will be another 2-0 win for the United States, but a crowd of more than 50,000 will be there to witness the events as they play out.
The friendly will pit a U.S. squad made up mostly of players competing in Major League Soccer against a Mexican team comprised exclusively of domestic-league players.
Both squads will be filled with footballers trying to make the kind of impression that will secure a berth on their respective teams for the World Cup in Brazil in June.
“Everyone knows the clock is ticking,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a news release. “This is a huge opportunity for our players to show where they are at and to make their case. We expect them to give a really strong performance against a Mexican team that is now basically coming back on track. They need to prove now that they badly want to go to Brazil.”
Both roster sheets have familiar names — Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan for the U.S., Rafael Marquez and Francisco Javier Rodriguez for El Tri — but each side also has a player that could represent the future, and maybe the not-so-distant future.
Julian Green, an 18-year-old winger with German giant Bayern Munich, is on the Americans’ 22-man roster. The dual citizen of the U.S. and Germany has been part of the German national team’s youth programs. But he applied for a one-time switch to play for the U.S. and could make his debut tonight.
“Julian is very ambitious. He knows about his qualities,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “I think he has the confidence to come in and say, ‘If the coach gives me the chance to play there, I want to show him that I want to go to Brazil.’ ”
While not being as green as Green on the international front, Mexico midfielder Marco Fabian is also hoping to turn the right heads.
The 24-year-old netted his first goal for the Mexican team in last year’s friendly against Denmark in Glendale. In 12 matches for his club team, league leader Cruz Azul, he has collected seven goals this season.
If he scores tonight, he’ll know at least the scoreline won’t favor the U.S. by “Dos a cero.”