The U.S. Men’s National Team utilized a brilliant sixth-minute chip from Michael Bradley and a strong defensive performancebto earn a spiritedn1-1 draw againt Mexico at the monstrous Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Matchday 6 of CONCACAF’s Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. The tie is the USA’s third all-time at the stadium in World Cup Qualifying and pushes the MNT’s record to 1-8-3 all-time at the iconic venue.
U.S. MNT coach Brucen Arena made seven changes from the lineup that started days earlier in a win over Trinidad & Tobago. He also changed the formation by starting three center backs, Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, and Omar Gonzales. At times it looked more like five in the back. Whatever it was, it worked.
“We call the formation a 3-4-3 or a 5-2-1-2, or whatever you want to call it,” said Arena after the game. “As long as it adds up to 10, we’re good.”
Heavily pressing Mexico in midfield, the U.S. got out to the best possible start when Michael Bradley cut out a back pass at midfield from Javier Hernandez and quickly drove towards goal. Looking up to find Guillermo Ochoa well off his line, the MNT captain alertly chipped the Mexico goalkeeper from 40 yards, stunning the boisterous crowd into silence as he celebrated in front of the USA’s traveling supporters.
Not content to sit back, the U.S. came close again in the 23rd minute when Bobby Wood’s shot at the six-yard box was partially deflected. Immediately thereafter, Ochoa hurriedly distributed out to Hernandez at midfield before he fed Carlos Vela on the right. The Mexico forward cut inside and hit a blistering low effort from outside the area that caught Brad Guzan leaning the wrong way before it snuck inside the right post.
While the U.S. continued to pick its moments to go forward in the second half, Mexico kept the visitors honest when Hector Herrera rocketed his free kick from 30 yards off the underside of the crossbar in the 71st minute.
Just moments later, Bradley received a bouncing pass from Kellyn Acosta and hit a half volley from 30 yards that beat Ochoa, but rang off the outside of the right post in the 74th minute.
Relying heavily on an assured performance from the back line in midfield, the U.S. continued to pick out passes and frustrate the home side in the dying moments before center referee Joel Aguilar Chicas blew the final whistle on the well-contested match.
With the result, the USA improves to 2-2-2 and moves level with second-place Costa Rica on eight points in the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Hexagonal Matchday 6 concludes on Tuesday, June 13 when Panama hosts Honduras and Costa Rica welcomes Trinidad & Tobago.
|2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – CONCACAF Final Round Standings|
|Trinidad & Tobago||5||1||4||0||3||2||8||-6|
Next on the Schedule: The MNT reconvenes later this month for a friendly against Ghana on Saturday, July 1 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut before beginng 2017 Gold Cup play against Panama on Saturday, July 8 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (4:30 p.m. ET; FOX and Univision Networks).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Michael Bradley, 6th minute: Utilizing a heavy press in midfield,the U.S. shook off the early jeers of the partisan crowd and took advantage when Michael Bradley anticipated Javier Hernandez’s back pass at midfield. The U.S. captain quickly pushed forward and catching Guillermo Ochoa cheating off his line, alertly chipped the Mexico goalkeeper from 40 yards out for his fifth career international goal vs. El Trí.
USA 1, MEX 0
MEX – Carlos Vela (Javier Hernandez), 23rd minute: The U.S. nearly went up 2-0 when Bobby Wood’s effort inside the box was partially deflected before Ochoa quickly collected. The Mexico goalkeeper alertly distributed to Javier Hernandez at midfield, where he glided towards goal before laying off for Carlos Vela on the right flank. The Mexico forward cut inside on the dribble and fired a low effort from outside the box that squeezed inside the right post.
USA 1, MEX 1 FINAL
- The 1-1 draw is the USA’s third tie at Estadio Azteca in World Cup Qualifying and fourth positive result in 12 trips to the iconic venue.
- The USA is unbeaten in it last three trips to the Azteca, going 1-0-2 since 2012.
- Michael Bradley’s sixth minute goal was the 17th of his international career and fifth all-time against Mexico.
- The sixth minute strike was also the USA’s fastest at Estadio Azteca, beating Charlie Davies’ ninth minute effort in the 2-1 loss on Aug. 12, 2009.
- With the start, DaMarcus Beasley earned his 34th World Cup Qualifying appearance and became the first U.S. player to appear in Qualifiers for five different FIFA World Cups. The Fort Wayne, Ind., product earned his first WCQ appearance in the final game of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup (Nov. 11, 2001 at Trinidad & Tobago).
- Seven players in the MNT starting XI had previous international or club experience at Estadio Azteca: Paul Arriola, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Guzan and Christian Pulisic.
- Making his fifth appearance for the U.S. MNT, Paul Arriola earned his first start in World Cup Qualifying.
- DeAndre Yedlin (44th minute) and Paul Arriola (56th minute) received yellow cards. They join Jozy Altidore, Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya, Matt Besler, John Brooks and Cameron on the list of U.S. players that will be suspended for a match with their next yellow card in World Cup Qualifying.
- The MNT moves to a 1-8-3 record in 12 all-time visits to Estadio Azteca and is 0-5-3 in eight World Cup Qualifiers at the historic stadium.
- U.S. MNT head coach Bruce Arena took his all-time record against Mexico to 7-4-2, earning his first away result against El Trí.
- Arena played a big role in the USA turning the tide against Mexico. He of course led the USA to the biggest win in the series with the 2-0 Round of 16 victory at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and has a 7-4-1 all-time record against El Trí, going 2-2-0 in World Cup Qualifying.
- Pulisic leads all of CONCACAF with five assists during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification and has tallied four goals and three assists in his last four international matches.
- Kellyn Acosta, Arriola and Tim Ream all earn their first caps against Mexico.
- The U.S. Men’s National Team is 18-34-14 all-time against Mexico and 6-17-6 vs. El Trí in World Cup Qualifying.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: June 11, 2017
Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Final Round
Venue: Estadio Azteca; Mexico City
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Weather: 76 degrees; cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
MEX 1 0 1
USA – Michael Bradley 6th minute
MEX – Carlos Vela (Javier Hernandez) 23
USA: 12-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 20-Geoff Cameron, 14-Tim Ream, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 11-Paul Arriola (15-Darlington Nagbe, 63), 16-Kellyn Acosta, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 10-Christian Pulisic (19-Graham Zusi, 90+2); 9-BobbyWood (17-Jozy Altidore, 79)
Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 22-Nick Rimando, 5-Matt Besler, 6-John Brooks, 8-Clint Dempsey, 13-Dax McCarty, 18-Jordan Morris, 21-Matt Hedges, 23-Fabian Johnson
Head coach: Bruce Arena
MEX : 13-Guillermo Ochoa; 3-Carlos Salcedo, 5-Diego Reyes, 15-Héctor Moreno (capt.), 4-Oswaldo Alanís (23-Jesùs Gallardo, 31); 6-Jonathan Dos Santos (18-Orbelín Pineda, 77), 16-Héctor Herrera, 8-Marco Fabián (7-Javier Aquino, 53); 11-Carlos Vela, 14-Javier Hernández, 22-Hirving Lozano
Subs not used: 1-Rodolfo Cota, 12-Alfredo Talavera, 2-Luis Reyes, 9-Raúl Jiménez, 10-Giovani dos Santos, 17-J ü rgen Damm, 19-Oribe Peralta, 20-Jesús Dueñas, 21-Jesús Molina,
Head coach: Juan Carlos Osorio
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 7 / 10
Shots on Goal: 2 / 1
Saves: 0 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 9
Fouls: 21 / 13
Offside: 2 / 2
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 44th minute
USA – Paul Arriola (caution) 56
Referee: Joel Aguilar Chicas (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Francisco Zumba Galan (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: William Torres Mejia (SLV)
Fourth Official: Jose Kellys Marquez (CRC)