The three substitutes in yesterday’s friendly match ended up creating a piece of history as the United States defeated El Tri for the first time on Mexican soil. An intimidating challenge faced the United States to say the least, and the record books were not in favor of an American victory. Yet the youth and inexperience seen as a negative in Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad, ultimately became the driving force to finish a 80th minute winning goal and end the curse of the Azteca.
-The high altitude of Mexico City at 7,350 feet above sea level is one of the many factors that have thwarted a US victory in Mexico.
-Tim Howard once again showed why he is one of the greatest keepers on the planet with crucial saves and smart direction in the box. His leadership and heady play kept the Mexico offense at bay throughout the match.
- The youngest back line Klinsmann has put forth played beyond expectations, led by Geoff Cameron who lived up to his EPL transfer status.
- Being able to end the growing “gap” speculation that was running rampant throughout the press before the match. After winning the Gold Cup in 2011 and Olympic success in London, Mexico seemed to be moving ahead of United States as the most dominant team in CONCACAF. Although it was just a friendly, winning for the first time on Mexican soil will be a big hit to the nation’s pride.
-Seeing Brek Shea return to his recent highflying form on the wing. He immediately made impact setting up the goal for Fiscal. Hopefully he can continue this success in MLS and future national team matches.
-Terrence Boyd’s back pass. Beautiful.
-Michael Orozco Fiscal is one of the only three players to play for both the US and Mexico. The fact that he scored the game-winning goal was even more of an insult to the Mexicans.
-Obviously the final goal was the highlight of the evening. When, where, how it happened made it one of the most spectacular goals in US soccer history.
-The first half was a struggle for both sides, specifically the Yanks, who wrestled to control the pace of the game.
-Although the defense played great, there was still too many chances given to Mexico, the US was lucky to have a clean sheet at the end of the night.
-This may be a historic win but it’s still a friendly and doesn’t mean we’re ahead of Mexico, it just reiterates that both nations are equal.
-The one time I’m negative in my predictions for the US we end up winning. That shows that you should always go with your heart.
What’s Next? : The momentum from this victory will hopefully continue on into September where the US has their home-and-home World Cup qualifiers versus Jamaica. The fall camps are sure to be far more competitive after last night, thanks to strong performances by Geoff Cameron, Terrence Boyd, Fabian Johnson, Maurice Edu (who played outside of his normal position), and Brek Shea. For Klinsmann this is best-case scenario; he has his young players confident, hungry, and able to push the veterans for spots on the roster. This will hopefully create the best starting squads moving forward into World Cup qualifying.
Fall World Cup Qualifiers
September 7th: US vs Jamaica 9:30pm ET Kingston, Jamaica
September 11th: US vs Jamaica 8pm ET Columbus Crew Stadium ESPN2
October 12th: US vs Antigua & Barbuda 7pm ET North Sound, Antigua
October 16th: US vs Antigua & Barbuda 7pm ET Livestrong Sporting Park ESPN2