Recap: USMNT 2–3 Mexico

Mexico defeated the United States Men’s National Team on Saturday night, winning the CONCACAF Cup 3–2 and booking their place in next year’s Confederations Cup in Russia. The US came from behind twice to draw level, including in extra time, but Paul Aguilar’s remarkable finish in the 118th minute sealed the win for Mexico.

First half

Mexico, buoyed by the raucously pro-Mexican crowd, came out of the gates strong, driving at the US and closing down quickly. An early throw led to a possible handball in the box by DaMarcus Beasley as he leapt for a falling ball, but the ref gave no notice.

Mexico’s drive would pay off before long, though. In the 10th minute, a well executed dummy from Raul Jiminez fooled the US defense and gave Oribe Peralta and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez a 2-on-1 against Matt Besler. Peralta picked his pass well and Chicharito finished smartly into the far corner.

But the US answered back just five minutes later. Beasley was brought down bringing the ball up the left wing for a free kick nearly level with the 18-yard box. Mexico set no wall, so Michael Bradley swung the ball to the penalty spot with ease, where Geoff Cameron met it with a free header. Mexico’s defense was well behind several US attackers, calling for offsides, but none was given and the US drew level.

In the 32nd, Bradley wasted a gilt opportunity to take the lead. Clint Dempsey did well to lead a break down the right, cut inside and find Bradley. Bradley moved further central and with the defense backpedaling tried to finish across his body to the near post, but his attempt trickled wide.

In the 44th, the US had another free kick, as Altidore was brought down just outside the box. This time, Bradley went for goal, but Mexico keeper Moises Munoz got down well to save, and the teams entered the half all level.

Second half

The teams traded chances in the early going, with Mexico on multiple occasions trying to track down poor US clearances inside the box, and Altidore firing in a strike that Munoz saved well.

Mexico should have taken the lead near the hour when Jiminez crossed for Chicharito in the US six-yard box, but Hernandez fluffed his lines and the ball bobbled well wide.

Play became frenetic as both teams lunged across the field in search of gaps in the defense. The gaps appeared at times, but neither side could take advantage.

US coach Jurgen Klinsmann looked to inject some pace by replacing Gyasi Zardes with DeAndre Yedlin in the 77th, but it made little difference, and as the clock ticked toward extra time, Mexico should have had a penalty. In the box, the ball popped up off a Mexican attacker and deflected off Besler’s arm. While he wasn’t playing the ball, the arm was away from his body enough that a penalty certainly could have been given, but the referee chose not to blow his whistle.

Extra time

Peralta had the first good chance, put through by Chicharito, but Guzan saved well and the ball was cleared. But Peralta would give Mexico the lead in the 96th. A ball over the top found Paul Aguilar, who crossed first time for Peralta to finish.

However, Yedlin would finally make that impact in the 108th minute. Driving toward the Mexico box, he laid on his first really good pass of the night, just touching it into the path of substitute Bobby Wood, who entered the game for Altidore following Mexico’s second. Wood streaked across the box and struck first time, finishing through the legs of Munoz. Woods had a chance for his second moments later, when Beasley found him with a cross from the left, but his header looped and Munoz claimed it.

The US looked to have the upper hand and were putting Mexico under real pressure, but then Aguilar made the play of the night to win it. A Mexico free kick was headed clear, but picked up by Mexico 40 yards out. The ball was sent back in but deflected high in the air, looping over Beasley into the box. Aguilar watched it drop and hit a dipping first-time volley into the far side netting. As winning goals go, they don’t come much better.

US verdict

What now? The US isn’t going to the Confederations Cup. Klinsmann may not lose his job (as in, he definitely won’t), but that doesn’t mean this year of failure will be without repercussions. The question is, what will they be? Will there be inquests at US Soccer, or will we see excuse-making? What does the team need to do to turn things around? Will Klinsmann finally bring in players he’s been avoiding, like Benny Feilhaber, Ethan Finlay, Sacha Kljestan, and others?

Dempsey invisible: Deuce was barely involved all night long. It makes sense, as he’s coming off a long-term injury break, but it was disappointing to see how little he affected proceedings. The whole team, Bradley and Guzan excepted, seemed remarkably dispassionate about the game as it was happening.

Handballs? Losing at the end of extra-time to a wonder-strike is gutting, but there’s a strong argument the game should have ended in regular time with the same result. The early shout against Beasley was a non-event, but Besler definitely handled, if unintentionally, and Mexico should have taken a penalty kick. And then, of course, there was the brutal miss from Chicharito, too.

Wood almost the hero: Had Wood buried that header after scoring the extra-time equalizer, Mexico never would have come back. The chance was difficult, and would have been nearly as impressive as Aguilar’s eventual winner, but it was possible. So close!

Final thoughts

2015 has been a massive disappointment for the US Men. Losing the Gold Cup was bad, and this game could have been won with a better performance on the day. Klinsmann has a lot of questions to answer about the team’s stagnation. His answers could determine much about the US’s direction over the next few years.

1-Brad Guzan; 23-Fabian Johnson (3-Brad Evans,111), 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 15-Kyler Beckerman, 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 9- Gyasi Zardes (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (11-Bobby Wood, 98)
Subs Not Used: 6-Tim Ream, 10-Danny Williams, 12-Tim Howard, 14-Ventura Alvarado, 16-Michael Orozco, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 21-Jonathan Spector , 22-Nick Rimando
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

12-Moises Muñoz; 22-Paul Aguilar, 15-Hector Moreno, 5-Diego Reyes, 7-Miguel Layun; 18-Andres Guardado (17-Javier Guemez, 80), 4-Rafa Marquez (capt.) (3-Arturo Rivas, 76) 16-Hector Herrera; 9-Raul Jimenez, 14-Javier Hernandez (10-Jesus Corona, 97), 19-Oribe Peralta
Subs Not Used: 1-Alfredo Talavera, 2-Israel Jimenez, 6-Jorge Torres Nilo, 8-Jonathan Dos Santos, 11-Carlos Vela, 20-Javier Aquino, 21-Carlos Esquivel, 23-Elias Hernandez
Head Coach: Ricardo Ferretti

Scoring Summary
MEX – Javier Hernández (Oribe Peralta) 10th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (Michael Bradley) 15
MEX – Oribe Peralta (Paul Aguilar) 96
USA – Bobby Wood (DeAndre Yedlin) 108
MEX – Paul Aguilar (Raul Jimenez) 118

Misconduct Summary
MEX – Paul Aguilar (caution) 21st minute
MEX – Oribe Peralta (caution) 35
MEX – Hector Moreno (caution) 43
USA – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 52
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 87
MEX – Javier Guemez (caution) 95

Statistical Summary (USA / MEX)
Shots: 13 / 20
Shots on Goal: 5 / 10
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 1 / 6
Fouls: 14 / 17
Offside: 2 / 4

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Fourth Official: Marlin Mejia (SLV)

Venue: Rose Bowl Stadium; Pasadena, Calif.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. PT
Attendance: 93,723
Weather: 91 degrees; Partly cloudy


  1. I know this is outside the scope of the article but US Soccer’s failure extends out past this game to the probable missing out on the olympics as well. Klinsmann should be fired in my opinion

  2. I would have rather lost that game with a bunch of new bucks …than KBeckerman and JJones and DBeasely Demarcus Beasley? Still?
    Altidore the Bore. Dempsey the Drawn and Quartered.
    Our problem is a talent problem at the player level and a tactical problem at the coaching level across all ages.
    But I’m getting ahead… quite an excepted result from USMNT. When an all or nothing game against Mexico matters…we don’t win and what’s more – we are exposed as the baseless unimaginative soccer players we are and then get to read about our “gritty determinism” as if it is a badge of honor.
    We are a nation in search of 1. talent and 2. identity -the kind of talent/identity like Mexico’s – when in a game of such magnitude – over a 2.5 second window of opportunity yielded the first gol of the game and one of the most inventive jazz improvisations I have seen in awhile. That goal was the e,a,u,i,u vowels in beautiful. the dummy. the outside of the foot one touch the cutting cross the speed of thought and speed of action…just lovely. a goal for which we are incapable of scoring…ever.
    but this morning…let us not fret about losing that game… it was an expected result what is more concerning- at least to me- is the U23 team’s inability to get out of their own way when it most matters. On the outside looking in again. And that is not at all good.

    • You’re spelling is three whiskeys in.

      • Haven’t taken a drink in 11 years.
        I did however compose this at 03:30am – saving it until Jeremy graced us with the column this morning which I suspected he would.
        …working through the night by incandescent light – plays tricks on the weary mind.

  3. Wow Beasley, Jones, Beckerman and especially Dempsey just totally labored through that game. zardes gave effort and so did Bradley but wow what a mess of an ugly game. I’ve hoped to one day see one of either the National Team or Union not have the first strategy be “bunker, defend, boot and counter”. One time come out and not cede possession.
    Out Bradley back in the DM or Box to box role that he thrives in, find a real playmaker and put these older guys out to pasture. Things need to change, fast.

  4. In my opinion, I think this has a lot to do with so many of the players on the team now playing in the MLS rather then overseas. Whether you like it or not, the MLS lacks the pace and intelligence that foreign leagues have.

    • 2002 USMNT Roster – 11 foreign based players, 12 from MLS.

      2015 CONCACAF Cup roster – 11 foreign based players, 12 from MLS.

      That 2002 team did pretty well (final 8) so you might want to walk that opinion back and take a closer look.

      Psst, I’ll give you a hint, it’s the manager.

  5. I’m actually kind of impressed that those geezers put up two goals on Mexico. Every time they had the ball, it was like my DVR went to “SLOW” mode. I have zero interest in seeing Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Beckerman, Cameron, Besler, Beasley and for that matter Johnson ever suit up for team USA again. Thank you for your service, gentlemen.

    • fabian johnson is only in his late twenties and is usually one of the best, if not the best, players on the field

    • I thought Bradley and Cameron played well. But yeah… we could not keep up with Mexico’s pace or creativity.

      • I’m still okay with Bradley and Dempsey. The youth movement will need proper leadership and any organization we muster tends to come from him. I’m okay with Geoff Cameron. Generally a solid defender. Nothing special but solid.

        J. Brooks.
        G. Cameron.
        M. Besler.
        V. Alvarado maybe… uncertain about him.
        O. Gonzalez.. I can be done with.
        THE EXPEDITED don’t let the door kick you in the ass list:
        Josie Altidore…finally…Done.
        Timmy Chandler done.
        Eddie Johnson done.
        Brad Davis done.
        Demarcus Beasley done.
        Jermaine Jones done.
        Kyle Beckerman done.
        Chris Wondoloski done.
        O. Onyewu done.
        Danny Williams done.
        Brek Shea done.
        Maurice Edu- no he is not a NT defender. Done.
        Players I want to see more of some as full-time positional solutions and some as tactical solutions.

        Terrence Boyd
        Joe Gyau
        Greg Garza
        Bobby Wood – cause he’s earned it
        Aaron Johanssen
        Diskerud – though I’m cool on him
        Juan Aguadelo
        Julian Green
        Fabian Johnson —- LB for every game. EVERY.
        Gideon Zalelem
        G. Zardes- I guess
        Rubio Rubin
        Brad Evans
        Fatai Alashi
        Cameron Carter Vickers
        Luis Gil
        Graham Zusi – though I’m cool on him
        Emerson Hyndman
        Dillon Cerna
        Wil Trapp
        Alejandro Bedoya
        Bill Hamid – see if he’s the guy for 2018
        Zach Steffan
        Some others I’m certainly missing. Feel free to add to the list. Maybe a few from the US 2o year olds who will earn some PT in coming year or two.
        Really this is a solid list of quality players. Find your best…prep them for 2018 by using hopefully 2016 Copa as a taste for big time football.

  6. The match was much better than I was expecting. I had predicted a 2-0 Mexican victory. I agree with most of the posts above that it’s time for a youth movement. I like Zardes and while I’m normally not a big Yedlin fan, I can’t deny the energy he brought off the bench. I’d see how they do with WC qualifiers before I let JK go. I’d keep JK on a short leash though.

    • JK is the coach through 2018 and only a failure to qualify for Russia will change that. Reasonable observers may take issue with the plan but that is Gulati’s plan.

  7. The United States WILL qualify for the World Cup in 2018 under Jürgen Klinsmann. Jürgen knows now what “vets” to move on from, and what youth needs to be brought in. That being said, this same “youth” needs to definitely make the Olympics! If they do not, this doesn’t bode well for US Soccer as a whole.

    Jürgen doesn’t have 23 “Michael Bradley’s” and when the US plays against teams like Belgium and Brazil you only have to look at the strength of their bench to see how OUTCLASSED ANY US team truly is…PERIOD!

    The US is very thin on talent because of player development, how the MLS is structured, and how much farther our Academies need to go. There is a lot “broken” with US Soccer and it goes way beyond the manager. These Academies need to start producing strong talent, talent which could be signed and play immediately in the MLS or in the Premier Leagues of Europe. Think about a US squad filled with youthful players all playing at Europe’s top levels and in Champions League, and NOT as “platoon” players like Bradley had become at Roma. Maybe that is a massive “pipe dream” but until the US can produce those types of players consistently, I do not see how the US will ever progress further than what it has.

    Jürgen has a long road to hoe which is an understatement. However, if he has used from the end of the last World Cup until now to seriously “bleed out” his roster of the veteran talent, and experiment with what U-23 players can come in and play…..then I think it’s going to be a really exciting time for US Soccer going into this next World Cup Cycle. I truly feel we saw the last of a few players like Jones, Beasley, Beckerman, and a lot of new blood filling the ranks soon. Hopefully the US has a team at the Olympics, because Green, Zelalem, Wood, Morris, Trapp need that experience, and this will solidify what the USMNT roster will look like come 2018.

    • This is good commentary and I have argued similarly about the need for a new generation of player…our hope resides in youth and plenty of match experience…
      There are easily 6 players that should never see the field again for the USMNT.
      I still think we are yet a generation removed…the kids who are 12 through 16 will be the fore bearers of a significant growth in the US game — if not for the sole reason that most of the old heads of our federation and coaches will have been weeded out by then to accompany a growth in technical ability. Now for the imagination… that is a different story…which is why I highlighted Mexico’s first goal… we lack that and only with the U17 and kid’s like Pulisic have I seen that kind of creativity… maybe we are closer than I deem.
      We need players like Pulisic and Zalelem who are and appear to be totally comfortable on the ball as though it is an extension of themselves and can therefor create from the subconscious and there is not one player at the senior level who plays subconsciously .. not even Bradley.
      Anyway…that game against Mexico on saturday…hopefully it is the albatross cast from the neck and a new youth movement can begin…if not…shame on Jurgen Klinsman and Sunil Gulati because they have plenty of time to vet the youth and still qualify for WC in a rather easily CONCACAF.
      Oh and by the way JK…figure out who your 3 central defenders are and stick with them every game. EVERY GAME. Let them grow and gain confidence and understanding with each other. IMO everything starts with the confidence of your CB in building play.

      • Yes I completely agree we are a generation away, and the U-12s will have all the tools necessary to become great footballers. I think the imagination will come more and more as attitudes change, and allow kids to have more confidence on the ball, and play with that confidence. Letting the kids know they have a role “positionally” on the field, but also knowing that they don’t always have to “pass to the striker, but take a shot if they want.” Let the kids make mistakes by thinking out of the box, let them grow within the game and not be hampered with too much structure. I am hoping to be able to start coaching youths in the spring once I have completed my D license. I have been around a few youth clubs who’s weekend warrior dad’s may mean well enough, but a seriously hurting the development of some great kids.

    • 23 Micheal bradleys would be just what USA does not need. The Academy teams are structured to WIN , not to develope players.Developement in the academys is accidental (see 8-1 vs. Germany). Do we need a German coach for us to lose 2-0 to Honduras. These 23s are our future. Kind of scary to think. Is Green playing at a level higher than MLS? Is that our future? Oh Boy ! It is JK who is bleeding the fans, not the players

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Klinsman is culpable but it’s not all his fault. I sided with Landon Donovan out of my cynical nature until I read this week’s latest 3four3 post and it is pretty much right on… firing Klinsman just perpetuates the cycle and I already think Klinsman knows he will be done after 2018… which I would be fine with…especially if he takes up a role in growing the youth game properly which I think he could do if that was his sole responsibility.
        The problem is an infrastructure one first and an individual one secondarily. The infrastructure is getting better and we will see that in the quality of play over the next few years but it is certainly suboptimal and will remain so till a few fundamental changes are made.

      • If Klinsmann is here to solve our infrastructure issue, then he should just have the technical director’s role. A role that he’s much better suited for.

        His performance as manager of the senior team just hasn’t been good enough.

      • I agree that as a technical director JK is much more well suited. He also is a solid coach, but is handicapped because the US player pool is nowhere close to the Germany player pool he had when coaching Germany. The issue is not JK’s technical or philosophical acumen, the issue is having the talent to execute that philosophy. You see glimpses of how well the US can play, but once there is an injury or a couple players are not playing well, that philosophy turns into bash the ball around and run hard. When the US comes under stiff adversity on the pitch, you see them collapse into a panicked, bash the ball and chase team (like what happened against Mexico). This all comes down to TALENT, JK has his philosophy and tactical game plan correct, but what he is missing is the QUALITY. Jurgen showed every supporter the honest truth on Saturday…….Except that these Veterans ARE NOT GOOD, Except that the Youth movement is coming, and that this WC cycle will not include “fan Favorites” but Fresh/Hungry new faces you have never seen (or will see in Rio if the U-23 qualify).

      • Gotta disagree. JK overtrains his players and tactically, he’s not very good. In fact, he hasn’t hired a very good coaching staff to support him (like he had with Low) and that’s totally on him.

        There’s no disputing that JK had much more talent to choose from with Germany , but that doesn’t automatically mean that he’s a good manager (i.e. – his stint at Bayern). He had tons of talent to work with and couldn’t do a thing with Bayern. Look at his staff during that tenure and you’ll notice many similarities with his US one.

      • My example of “23 Michael Bradleys” was to illustrate that as of NOW with the “talent pool” the US has, 23 “work-horse” Bradleys would be better than what was on the field currently.

        It’s easy right now to say “What has Jurgen done for us?” However, I honestly feel that he has been putting in a ton of ground work for the future of US Soccer. He will walk away after the 2018 WC and will head the Youth Development. IF the US make it to the semis then Jurgen’s tenure will be vindicated. If they get knocked out of the group stages, and the youth product looks absolutely outclassed…..then it was a complete decade lost.

        Jurgen isn’t bleeding the fan base, the fan base is still very Niche because every major city with major sports teams (Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball) never give ANY coverage to their respective MLS side. Soccer viewed by the major sports pundits is still a JOKE, which fuels the uninformed that it is a bullshit game with a bullshit league. Yes, the sport has grown and last year was the 3rd highest in paid attendance beating hockey and basketball, but still the major players in the broadcasting markets spew their poison and vitriol about the beautiful game. Jurgen is not hurting the US or the fan base, it is the background noise from Media Outlets as well as certain MLS clubs putting out a complete shit product due to short-sided decisions mixed with a “cocaine cowboy” attitude.

  8. Tactically, why all the hoofing – starting with Guzan’s punts, and why not Yedlin for Altidore and move up Zardes instead? Too little build up & too many lost balls, putting us back on our heels after intermission. Zardes had too few chances to impact the match from the wing. Klinsmann would be wise to get some in-game strategic help. To the pitchfork mob I would simply ask: who would produce better results now and how? Meantime he has to turn full attention to finding the ’18 squad. He said the quarters wete achievable. Hold him to it.

    • Yes, it is never JKs fault. Yes, If he had better players, his plan would work. Yes if the queen had cojones etc. Its is much harder to be a technical director because you have to aggregate all soccer units to get something going. From what I hear from coaches, his arrogance, his inability to take any responsibility for failure,his casual style of coaching, his TOTAL lack of connection to any aspect of everyday coaching on the developmental level precludes his effectiveness. If being a great player meant anything regarding coaching, Pele and Maradona would have been the greatest technical directors and coaches off all time. He will never win back the trust he has squandered.

      • I am not arguing JK is not at fault, but WHO could replace JK and get better results with the players that are currently in this squad. Jermaine Jones was a complete catastrophe. Jurgen played Jones in various positions (along with a few other vets since the WC loss to Belgium) to see if they can play and/or for how long they can still play on this team…….After this loss to Mexico JK has ALL the answers he needs as far as who to move on from, and who is staying. There is not another coach available who can take what the US has, and make them any better. Jurgen has a little over 2 years to build a team that can make it past the Quarter-Finals. I am willing to give the man those two years to truly make the USMNT a contender. They make it to the semis, and who knows what happens next. I am not saying Jurgen has been the greatest, but he does have a better record than any previous manager, and we haven’t had a person with an overall vision for US Soccer (top down) EVER.

        This is much like that Monty Python skit from “Life of Brian”…… What have the Romans Done for us? LOL

        Put the torches and pitch forks down, and wait and see what the end product will be in a little over 2 years time. Then you can yell “WHAT HAS JURGEN DONE FOR US?”

      • This public row JK has with Fabian Johnson is disoncerting. If he deals with setbacks by misdirecting our attention to his disappointment in a player he hand picked years ago – and who played relatively well, JK comes off very badly. Also saving his sub for the shootout in the strength-sapping heat of that night was the wrong move. Look what Wood did. Williams for Jones (or Beckerman) at 75 – 80 minute mark would have made more sense.

  9. Dos a tres is not nearly as good as dos a cero.

  10. He is never to blame . He is perfect . FJ is to blame for being mismanaged and he should have sucked it up rather than try to not hurt the team. Always put the player in a no win situation. Do you think the other pussies on the USA team did not see how a decent player like FJ was thrown under the bus? I would never trust this guy as my coach, I might be next. In this poker game of USA soccer , you got to know when to fold em. You can lose an awful lot by holding on.

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