Match Report: USMNT 2-2 Mexico

After a first half in which Michael Bradley and the United States Men’s National Team threatened to run away from Mexico, the visitors responded with a dominant half of their own to earn a 2-2 draw Wednesday night in Arizona.

Bradley opened the scoring when he scraped free of his mark to touch home from Graham Zusi’s 15th minute corner kick. Chris Wondolowski doubled the American lead just before the half hour mark as Bradley turned provider, flicking Tony Beltran’s header into his path at the back post.

But Miguel Herrera’s side regrouped admirably at halftime, and captain Rafa Marquez pulled a goal back within five minutes of the restart. For the first time in the match, the US found themselves pinned in their own, end and it was Alan Pulido who grabbed a deserved equalizer, tapping home after Paul Aguilar’s shot rebounded back off the post.

Eddie Johnson appeared to have rescued the victory for the hosts, but his match-winner was incorrectly ruled out for an offside call.

First Half

Coming out from the opening whistle, it was clear that the words Jurgen Klinsmann left ringing in his players’ ears were about control, possession and patience. With Bradley and Kyle Beckerman running the show with an array of short smart passes in the center of midfield, Mexico quickly found themselves chasing the match.

When Brad Davis stepped up to curl in a 14th minute free kick, the US was truly in the ascendancy. His bending delivery froze Moises Munoz on his line, but when Omar Gonzalez attacked the ball at the far post, he couldn’t get much weight behind his header, allowing the Mexican goalkeeper to push the effort behind.

On the ensuing corner kick, Zusi launched a deep, curling cross that fell perfectly to Bradley, who managed to scrape clear of his defender before touching home the cross on the half-volley.

The US continued their assault in the 20th minute when Bradley caught Jesus Zavala in possession. Bradley’s quick pass released Zusi up the right, and he quickly laid off for a cutting Dempsey, whose powerful drive rebounded back off a defender.

Minutes later, the US combined for a top quality team goal. After Zusi fought hard to keep the play alive, Dempsey launched himself into traffic to get the touch that sent Beltran up the right flank. His service found Bradley’s near post run, and the industrious midfielder smartly flicked his header toward the back post where Wondolowski had ghosted in behind his defender for the finish.

Second Half

The halftime introduction of Raul Jimenez gave Mexico an aggressive, physical presence it lacked in the first half. In the 48th minute, while Beltran was caught up field, Jimenez raced up his own left flank before winning a corner with his first contribution to the match.

Much as Bradley had done on his goal, Marquez scraped past his own teammate on the corner, picking off Gonzalez before nodding home a free header.

Shocked by the goal, the US struggled to recover, and Rimando had to be sharp twice to keep his team in the lead. First, he rose well to touch a second header from Marquez over the bar in the 53rd minute, before going into a full stretch to push Jimenez’s shot wide of the back post.

The introductions of debutante Julian Green and Landon Donovan saw the US swap out both of their wide players as they looked to add pace and guile up the wings.

Unfortunately for the US however, Mexico found their equalizer in the 67th minute. When Green and Michael Parkhurst were both slow to close down their marks, the ball was cut back for Aguilar who was streaking in from the right. With Rimando beaten, Aguilar looked on as his shot caromed back of the post for Pulido, who eluded the attention of Gonzalez and tapped home the rebound.

Finally shocked back into action after seeing their lead vanish, Dempsey nearly got himself clean in on goal, but his clever touch took him too close to substitute goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera.

As the match wore towards its conclusion, the US appeared to pull the victory out of the fire when composed build-up play from Bradley and substitute Maurice Edu sent substitute Eddie Johnson in on goal. Slicing into the box on a shallow run, Johnson ripped a powerful shot past Talavera and into the side netting. Unfortunately for Johnson, his joy was short-lived as the play was called back for an offside call that, after review, appeared to be incorrectly made.

With this friendly now complete, Klinsmann will turn his attention to the final three pre-World Cup friendlies against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria before he leads his team to Brazil.

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: April 2, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, Ariz.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. PT
Attendance: 59,066
Weather: 90 degrees, humid

Scoring Summary
USA – Michael Bradley (Graham Zusi) 15th minute
USA – Chris Wondolowski (Michael Bradley) 28′
MEX – Rafael Marquez (Marco Fabian) 49′
MEX – Alan Pulido 67′

USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 6-Tony Beltran (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 72), 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler (21-Clarence Goodson, 59), 15-Michael Parkhurst; 14-Kyle Beckerman (7-Maurice Edu, 72), 19-Graham Zusi (10-Landon Donovan, 59), 11-Brad Davis (9-Julian Green, 59), 4-Michael Bradley; 17-Chris Wondolowski (18-Eddie Johnson, 64), 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Sean Johnson, 16-Luis Gil, 22-Bill Hamid
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 23-Moisés Muñoz (1-Alfredo Talavera, 46); 28-Rogelio Chávez (22-Paúl Aguilar, 63), 6-Juan Carlos Valenzuela, 4-Rafael Márquez (capt.), 2-Francisco Javier Rodríguez; 27-Carlos Peña (9-Raúl Jiménez, 46), 17-Jesús Zavala, 7-Miguel Layun (16-Miguel Ángel Ponce, 68);  11-Alán Pulido, 18-Isaac Brizuela (10-Luis Montes, 57), 8-Marco Fabián
Substitutions Not Used: 5-Enrique Pérez, 26-Juan Carlos Medina
Head coach: Miguel Herrera

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots:  9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 3 / 6
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 9
Fouls: 16 / 15
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Miguel Angel Ponce (caution) 76th minute
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 83′

Referee: Roberto Moreno (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Daniel Williamson (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ricardo Morgan (JAM)
Fourth Official: Jafeth Perea (PAN)


  1. Klinsmann should take a good look at Amobi Okugo for that back line.

    • I knew as soon as Omar resigned with LA and refused to challenge himself at a higher level, it wouldn’t work out well. We saw his flaws during CONCACAF qualifier. He is going to get torched in the WC.

  2. Seemed like the US spent so much energy with their movement in the first half that they ran out of gas and came out flat in the 2nd.

    I thought that Klinsmann waited too long to sub out Beckerman who was clearly struggling and committing too many fouls. Once Edu came on, the US midfield seemed to stabilize and it became more of an even match again.

    I like the idea of getting Bradley further up the pitch, but if he’s playing with Jones, that’s just not gonna happen. Edu and Beckerman are better fits with Bradley as they both have better positional discipline than Jones does.

  3. Great One says:

    I thought Mo looked good in his short stint, made a great run and dispossession late on.
    Bradley is a beast, he was everywhere. The run he made on the second goal was excellent. This is a great sign lead ive into June. Dempsey finally looked at least partially like his old self and make some nice plays. Zusi was solid. Eddie Johnson needs to make the team for his sub prowess, he’s a presence late in the game. Donovan looked better as the game went on, maybe a little pissed off?
    The other side of the coin is a few players. Gonzalez had a couple good plays but a couple majorly bad ones. It’s unfair, sure, but as a center back you almost need to be perfect. Beckermans passing was solid early but he looked overmatched quite often. He’s a solid player and a great guy to have but I just think he doesn’t physically have what it takes, and in the group we’re playing I don’t think he would be able to keep up at all. Beltran was okay, actually Parkhurst looked the worse of the two.
    Pretty much expected from Julian green, some nerves, some bad touches, some signs of greatness.
    All in all not a bad game going into World Cup. I think the areas of worry are the same as they were before the game. Overall though I like the 4-4-2 much better.

  4. Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

    I would argue that in addition to Beckerman, Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron could offer better partnerships with Bradley at the moment than Jones.

  5. The Black Hand says:

    Julien Green is gonna be good!!!

  6. Former Season Ticket Holder says:

    Judging by the last two defensive performances of the USMNT I can only assume they are going to get smoked at the W.C.

  7. Does Edu have any realistic shot at making the WC roster? I have never been a fan of Beckerman. This is not a knock on Berckerman, he is a solid player but I would think Edu’s past WC experience and his previous success with the Rangers gives him the edge. Can you really judge a player based off of one bad year? He is younger than Beckerman and seems to be off to a good start with the Union (could have scored a goal if Mac didn’t get his head on it last minute). Also I’m sure a professional athlete could get 90min fit in the next two months on top of his current level of match fitness.

    Anyway back to the original question. What are Edu’s realistic chances of making the 23 man roster?

    • Edu has a chance because he did all the right things (come back to MLS and have an impact), he has previous WC experience, and was higher up on the depth chart than Beckerman last time around (did Beckerman even go to South Africa in ’10?). In any case, good to see a Union player on the USMNT and wishing him luck, even if it means no Mo playing for us in June….

    • i think he definitely has a chance for all the reasons you stated. he is also versatile in that he can play in the midfield or as a centerback

    • I think he has a pretty good chance to make it for all the reasons you stated plus he is versatile. He has played at centerback and centermid for the us

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