Recap/analysis: USA 2-0 Mexico

It’s every American soccer fan’s favorite scoreline.

Be it World Cup Qualifying, or an undermanned friendly played on borderline dangerous pitch in San Antonio, 2-0 has become the rallying cry when the United States meets Mexico north of the border. And thanks to collegiate sensation Jordan Morris, and another young striker, Juan Agudelo, the US was again able to come away two goals to the good against their biggest foes on Wednesday night.

First Half

Lead ups to past US games have been marred by discussion of poor pitch conditions, with natural turf being hastily rolled out over its artificial counterpart, yet the Alamodome surface will go down as the worst in recent memory. So choppy and uneven was the surface that simple dribbling proved a chore in a match that was played at a nervy and frenetic pace.

The Americans looked to take the game to Mexico in the early going, with a high pressing defense organized around Michael Bradley, who again was pushed forward into a less comfortable attacking role. With Bradley orchestrating from the middle of the pitch and Morris and fellow striker Gyasi Zardes running hard up top, the US kept the game away from their defense. Quality scoring chances proved hard to come by however, as a combination of the playing surface and a lack of familiarity between the US front three kept the Americans from finding fluidity in the final third.

Mexico’s best chances came late in the half, but Omar Gonzalez held his ground in the center of the US defense.

With five minutes until the halftime break, Eduardo Herrera nearly beat Nick Rimando, but the powerful striker could not redirect Gerardo Flores cutback inside the near post.

Second Half

Pressed forward by the halftime remake of their left flank, including the introductions of Brek Shea and Miguel Ibarra, the US were quickly on the front foot.

Four minutes into the half, it was Morris, whose energetic first half effort had shown little end product, who pounced on a loose ball, firing between the legs of Cirilo Saucedo to open the scoring, as well as his US account. Bradley created the chance when he spun out of trouble in midfield, driving forward before attempting to exchange passes with Zardes. With the Mexican defense collapsing on them, Zardes deflected return pass fell perfectly for the onrushing Morris to take in stride and coolly slot home.

Mexico nearly hit back through Erick Torres, but after Luis Montes skipped past Gonzalez’s challenge and fed the Chivas/Houston striker, he could only scuff his shot weakly into the grateful arms of William Yarbrough.

It was not to be for Mexico however, as Montes was next to miss out on a clean connection with his shot after Zardes was dispossessed along touchline.

Less than ten minutes after Morris was cheered off the field by the US faithful, his replacement, Agudelo, had the ball in the back of the net. Spotting his run from deep in the midfield, Bradley put his long pass to Agudelo’s outside shoulder, where the striker took it down beautifully with a single touch. Cutting inside onto his right foot, Agudelo skipped past a slipping defender before powering his shot past Saucedo to the near post, setting up the scoreline that US fans love so well.

US Verdict

Shame on US Soccer. We are fortunate to live in a country that is blessed with an abundant supply of world class stadia, many of which have natural grass surfaces. So here’s an idea: Pick one of those stadia and play the games there. Why do we even need to discuss poor playing surfaces when elite facilities are so readily available? Especially in a match against our most heated rivals, the playing surface should never, ever, ever be a cause for discussion, let alone concern. Save for extreme weather events, of course.

Young strikers playing well makes everybody happy. Whether it was Jordan Morris opening his US account, Juan Agudelo scoring for the first time in a long time, or Gyasi Zardes continuing to chase and compete through a full 90 minutes, it was great to see the US getting contributions out of strikers not named Jozy Altidore. Because there will be times when Altidore gets hurt (or mouths off a match official and gets suspended). And while each of these three players have plenty of work to do to prove their consistency and become more complete players, they each proved a good deal on Wednesday night.

It all goes through Bradley, wherever he is. At this point, this much is very clear: Jurgen Klinsmann wants Michael Bradley to play a more advanced role for the United States. The reasons for this preference however, remain as murky as ever. While it is true that deploying Bradley higher up the pitch helps him orchestrate and focus the Americans’ defensive pressure from a more dangerous position, he still appears uncomfortable leading the attack from that same position. Take both US goals on the night. The first came from Bradley breaking pressure just inside the attacking half and driving forward to cause the chaos that led to Morris’ opener. On Agudelo’s tally, Bradley alertly picked him out with a long ball from deep in the midfield. Allowing a full time creative player —  Lee Nguyen perhaps, —  to sit in front of him does not hamper his playmaking abilities, which now (and always have) come from a deeper location within the midfield.

Ventura Alvarado is a keeper. Matt Besler has a legitimate challenge on his hands in Ventura Alvarado. At only 22 years of age, Alvarado did well to read the play in front of him, and the timing of his interventions was spot on. Lined up alongside a big-bodied partner like Gonzalez or John Brooks, Alvarado looks to have the skill set to distribute out of the back and could become a fixture in the US defense for some time.

Final Thoughts

It wasn’t pretty (looking at you, Alamodome), but it is awfully hard to argue against yet another 2-0 scoreline over Mexico. Especially on the heels of the Americans recent string of late games meltdowns, it was heartening to see the likes of Zardes, Ibarra, Evans, and Kitchen raising the intensity in the final quarter of an hour to make sure the scoreline held up. That belief and energy has been lamentably lacking of late, and the fact that both Klinsmann and Miguel Herrera fielded less than full strength sides in San Antonio should not matter to a US side that can now go into June’s high profile friendlies with the Netherlands and Germany with rediscovered confidence.

1-Nick Rimando (22-William Yarbrough, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 14-Greg Garza (11-Brek Shea, 46); 15-Kyle Beckerman (21-Perry Kitchen, 63), 10-Mix Diskerud (6-Brad Evans, 80), 7-Joe Corona (9-Miguel Ibarra, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 20-Gyasi Zardes, 8-Jordan Morris (17-Juan Agudelo, 65)
Subs Not Used: 5-Matt Besler, 13-Lee Nguyen, 16-Julian Green, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

12-Cirilo Saucedo; 21-Hiram Mier (3-Oswaldo Alanis, 46), 2-Francisco Rodriguez (8-Luis Rodriguez, 60), 13-Carlos Salcedo (4-Julio Cesar Dominguez, 46); 7-Efrain Velarde, 17-Mario Osuna, 18-Carlos Esquivel, 15-Gerardo Flores (6-George Corral, 67); 10-Luis Montes (capt.) (5-Antonio Rios, 79), 9-Erick Torres, 20-Eduardo Herrera (19-Marco Bueno, 83)
Subs Not Used: 1-Jonathan Orozco, 16-Adrian Aldrete
Head coach: Miguel Herrera

Stats Summary (USA / MEX)
Shots: 6 / 13
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 13 / 13
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary

Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Octavio Jara (CRC)
4th Official: Walter Quesada (CRC)

Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Alamodome; San Antonio, Texas
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Attendance: 64,369 (sellout)
Weather: 73 degrees; Indoor


  1. DOS A CERO!

    • I get to say that a lot over here. 🙂

      Honestly, though, I though the majority of play was crap–especially in the first half.

      Beckerman was awful. Gonzalez needs to quit heading the ball down in the box–defensively!!! Yedlin looks great when he’s trying to fix his own errors.

      Morris was far and away the best player in the match. Only Bradley came close.

      • Respectfully, the “Yedlin looks great when he’s trying to fix his own errors” is terrific.
        That said, I thought Mix Diskerud was the best player on the field for team USA. Bradley had moments, but he also had moments that were head scratching. I’m not a huge Diskerud fan, but he is pretty solid and seems to be gaining in confidence.

      • You know, you’re right. Mix did look solid. I still rate Morris and Bradley higher, but he was all over the pitch.

      • I think Bradley’s head scratching moments were due to being played out of position.

  2. Boy that field. My feelings were so reactive and negative it took 20 minutes to get to a place where I could just laugh at the spectacle. What an out and out disgrace.
    Someone please ‘splain it to me like I am a two year old, what again is the fascination with DeAndre Yedlin? He is a poster child for our – – and apparently England’s fascination with speed and strength over intellect and technique. Truly, he is not very good. At all. Not. Good. Very. At. All. Good. Not. Very.
    Otherwise, generally, yeah, we won.

    • I agree. One play in the first half was a perfect example… He just missed a pass his man played into the middle at the top of the box, then as he watched the middle his man ran around him to the outside and received the pass back to him, only to have Yedlin turn and sprint just in time to block the pass/shot. at first glance his great speed made up ground and put in a good tackle, when in reality he lost his man and was frantically trying to catch back up.

      • I will however say that he does have the tools, and he’s in a spot now where he should be learning to play the game a lot better. He could turn out to be a stud, he’s just not yet.

      • Not to mention, his touch is really quite poor.
        It is a rare day when I agree with Lalas about much, but he was spot on with his critique of Yedlin and US Soccer — – if a bit over the top with Jordan Morris.
        Maybe I am a curmudgeon. Probably a curmudgeon. Indeed. A curmudgeon….. shit – – I am my father.

    • +1 on the field. That was a pure and simple disgrace.

    • The field was atrocious and an embarrassment. US Soccer needs to stop catering to Mexico fans and play on good fields.

      • They need to play every US-Mexico match in the middle of the country or down south………you know, where its only good ole boys in red/white/and blue!

      • we used to do that all the time………..and it was actually a smart move. Who wants to watch us at home with 50,000 Mexico fans? I will say though, the AO are quite douchy. People with just married signs? They seem like a traveling hipster convention…… and they would get killed abroad. I would be quite interested to see some of our AO run into some tried and true, St. George’s Cross….British hoolies and see how they do…….it would be funny.

      • I honestly think that I would end up scrapping with an AO member before I scrapped with a Mexico supporter…….

      • After I left the 2-2 pre world cup friendly, I heard all sorts of reports of fights, etc. I was in a section that was entirely pro-Mexico.

        I had no-such negative experiences. In fact, there was a young family in front of me that I had some fun banter with.

        One guy kept turning around wondering who this guy was yelling for the “wrong” team. After the US went up 2-0, I tapped him on the shoulder and said “dos a cero” and held up my hand for a high-five. He laughed and fived me.

        Then, when Mexico tied it up, he turned, smiled and held out his hand. I laughed and high-fived him back. It was a lot of fun.

        After the game, we shook hands and wished each others teams well in Brazil.

        Experiences are often determined by how you carry yourself.

      • good share AZ…..I had a similar experience with Turkish supporters before the WC South Africa. Your right….I just don’t think the AO represents anyone well……

      • I’m ok with some games in Phoenix. I hate the drive up there, but two hours is better than 10.

    • He did alright when he came in for Spurs(bleh!) over the weekend……tried to thread some passes that were very un-American like……he struck me as confident for a Yank! But, I understand what your saying……..

      • In truth I did not see his Spurs debut. Maybe playing with higher quality leads him to higher quality play- much as it does for most. I will grant you that.

      • spot on……..a little different when your looking for Kane or Eriksen for an outlet!


    sorry for the allcaps, but i’m honestly yelling over here.

  4. The Little Fish says:

    Somebody should be fired for the decision to play that game on that shitty pitch. Seriously. Let me guess: It’s all about the money. Disgraceful. That’s really the best we can do? Geez. Just awful…and embarrassing.US Soccer = A joke?

    • The Black Hand says:

      Wait until you see the one tonight…

    • Not to mention from a TV standpoint the enclosed stadium made me feel like my ears were boxed. Pissy Pissy me. But really, it is deserving – quite a sham shame.

      • I remember hearing that Mexico played a friendly at the Alamo Dome a year ago; so everyone shoulda known this was a bad idea.

      • Dude, I was actually a little put off by us being in an away kit…and it looked like Mexico was in a home kit……even though Mexico’s home kit is black now. It just bothered me they were in white and we were in blue. We should be all white…all the time…at home.

      • YES! white all the time at home …. red collar sometimes blue collar sometimes but always white and always a collar.
        One more thing, 215, that annoys the shit out of me.
        So my wife got mad at me last night cause I was so sardonic and morose and I just looked at her and said, “I want better for our game, that’s all. I want better.”
        ….from the play to the ever changing kit to the identification to the flagship league to the local club down the river, to the nonsensical playing of a game on a turf field laid on top of a turf field.
        I think the tipping point for her was when I started railing on the fucking corner flags after lamenting over the stupid soccer goals you find on a high school american football field. UGH.
        In other news, the PSG Barca game was a bit of a stinker. That’s the thing with PSG, Zlatan or not, sometimes they don’t handle being smacked in the mouth very well. I guess we can chalk it up to Zlatan and maybe missing Veratti’s brashness and Thiago getting hurt … but very little energy from Mr. Blanc’s side.

      • HaHa! My wife knows to leave me with my thoughts during football, Lol! She thinks I’m crazy with the stuff! She will only watch Italian or Spanish clubs with me and its not for the footy! Lol! She does like watching Veratti though too, which works for both of us!
        The Barca/PSG match was anticlimactic dude, disappointed with that one. The second Silva went down……I said shit!……game, set, match. I still thought Lavezzi was going to get a second for them with time running out….shoot the damn ball…..easy for me to say though!

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Of course it’s all about money. What was Deep Throat’s advice to Woodstein and Bernward during Watergate? Works well, quite frequently.

  5. I can’t stand the tone of Lalas’ voice. Even if he is saying something that makes sense

  6. Anyone I ask about the match last night….their first comment is: “what the hell was with the pitch????”

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