Futbol

Mexico takes on Uruguay this Friday at NRG

NRG will be bumping on Friday. NRG Park/Facebook

Mexico (16th) is set to play Uruguay (5th) at NRG Stadium on Sept. 7, giving soccer fans an opportunity to watch two world-class teams square off. Uruguay is coming from their first match since their 2-0 loss in the World Cup quarterfinal against none other than the world champion, France. Uruguay’s most notable victories during the World Cup were 3-0 vs the host nation Russia, and 2-1 vs Crisitano Ronaldo’s (Juventus) Portugal in the round of 16. Elite players like Claudio Suarez (F.C. Barcelona), Diego Godin (Atletico de Madrid), and Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray) are on the active roster for their match vs. Mexico.

Mexico, on the other hand, is coming from what many fans consider a disappointing World Cup. El Tri seemed to regress as the tournament went on after their “golden generation” failed to pull through to the coveted fifth match that they’ve never reached. Their victories against Germany and South Korea were followed by two devastating defeats against Sweden, and the round of 16 elimination game vs Neymar’s (Paris Saint Germain) Brazil.

But regardless of the past, Mexico turns the page and they do so by facing a strong Uruguay. Mexico’s previous coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, denied a contract extension offered by the Mexican Soccer Federation and recently took the head coaching job for Paraguay. Mexico’s Interim coach, Ricardo “El Tuca” Ferreti , decided to devise a roster of fearless young players to face Uruguay in Houston, and the United States in Nashville just four days later. Even though Mexico’s roster may be full of youngsters, players like Hirving “El Chucky” Lozano (PSV Eindhoven), 18-year-old Diego Lainez (Club America), and Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul) are displaying quality in their clubs, giving Mexican fans hope for a possible World Cup appearance in Qatar 2022.

Houston is set to bid to be a host city for the North American World Cup in 2026, where each host city will host at least six matches. Mexico vs. Uruguay will offer Houstonians an early taste of what a World Cup atmosphere is like.

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TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

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