By March 28, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

USA Earns Hard Fought Point Against Mexico at Azteca


USA BadgeThe Estadio Azteca is one of the most difficult places to play in world football and getting a point at the vaunted Mexican stadium is a very difficult task. The draw with Mexico actually moved the United States down the CONCACAF standings, but a draw at Mexico’s home field is an encouraging result. The United States still sit in the direct qualification spots whilst Mexico has dropped to fifth place, needing some good results in order to catapult themselves up the table.

Without Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, who are arguably the team’s two best players, the United States was expected to struggle as games against Mexico have always proved difficult for the US. The absence of some of the teams superstars left room for other players to step up and Jurgen Klinsmann’s men responded to the task. Resolute defending was the key to this result as goalkeeper Brad Guzan and the center back pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler were immense for the squad and largely responsible for the draw.

Mexico has to feel slightly hard-done by the referee not calling a penalty when Maurice Edu charged into a tackle, clearly taking the opposing player down illegally. El Tri won the possession battle, keeping the ball for 58% of the time. Mexico took 19 shots as compared to the one shot of the United States and while only three of Mexico’s shots were on target, the chances were clearly there. On paper, this Mexico side is perhaps the best team in the group and they thoroughly outplayed what could be the second best team in the CONCACAF region Tuesday night.

Giovani Dos Santos and Javier Hernandez combined for nine shots but couldn’t find that finishing touch. With the performance that Mexico turned in on Tuesday, they really should have won the match, showing the United States’ resilience in that the team was able to hold on and get a point after turning in a sub-par performance.

The aforementioned Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler were sensational and Jurgen Klinsmann should no longer have a question as to who his center backs will be. Brad Guzan didn’t face too many shots but he performed admirably in the stead of Tim Howard, who has emerged as one of the world’s best keepers. While Klinsmann was able to get some great performances from some of his squad, there were multiple players that were very disappointing.

Clint Dempsey, who should have been the “go to” guy for the United States didn’t look right. He didn’t offer much in attack and looked as though he was lumbering about the pitch, surprising for a player of Dempsey’s quality. Jozy Altidore didn’t manage a shot and though he didn’t have much support from his teammates, he never really got into scoring positions. DaMarcus Beasley was left exposed and his run at left back looks to have come to end after Javier Aquino was all over the place. Beasley is a solid player but left back is not, and does not look to be, his best position.

Aside from Guzan, Gonzalez, and Besler, Michael Bradley also had a good game for the US as he was calm under pressure and maintained possession well. The Roma man will be especially important during this qualification campaign. Eddie Johnson and Brek Shea both started the match on the bench but came on late and played well. Johnson won some free kicks that gave a slight respite to the flow of play, something that the US needed. Brek Shea could have earned the role of “super sub” as he injected some much needed energy into a US team that was clearly fading towards the end of the game.

A draw isn’t the best result that the US could have hoped for entering the game, but after playing like they did on Tuesday night, that draw looks much better. One shot throughout the course of a match simply won’t cut it and the United States will need to start generating some offense. The key to this may very well be Clint Dempsey as he will need to step up and give support to the forwards. Mexico did play well but they struggled in getting shots on goal and that controversial no call on the penalty will leave a bitter taste. Tuesday’s match was not indicative of how good the two sides are and both teams will need to be better if they are to qualify for World Cup 2014.

Post a Comment