Tuesday nights draw against Mexico is huge for the United States! That is only the 2nd point ever in world cup qualifying against Mexico in Azteca and the first since 1997. The U.S. came into the game after last weeks great win against Coast Rica in Colorado having played the game in a snowstorm. Mexico, on the other hand, came into the game after a tough 2-2 draw against Honduras.
Mexico came out strong against the U.S. applying pressure early and often on late addition Marcus Beasley. Beasley comes in having played the left back only a handful of times. One of those came against Mexico last year when the U.S. beat them in Azteca in a friendly. Another strong point for the U.S. came when Omar Gonzalez emerged for the U.S.’s backline. Gonzalez has had some tough injury problems in his career so it is great to see him on pitch. Gonzalez really stepped up tonight in the middle of the defense for the U.S.
The offense on the U.S. side seemed to stumble a bit. While Mexico definitely controlled the ball for most of the game the U.S. was able to create a handful of opportunities through the middle. Mexico could not seem to decide if it wanted to play up in the box or back on defense. The U.S. took advantage of this playing the ball through the middle on quick transitions but was never able to truly make anything of it. While Mexico controlled the ball most of the game, they too were not able to get it in the net. Mexico needs to find someone who can help up front with dynamic forward Javier Hernandez because while he is a fantastic scorer he cannot do everything alone.
It will be interesting to see what this team is really made of when key players return to the pitch in the coming months. How will players like Landon Donavan and Chris Wondolowski fit into what head coach Jürgen Klinsmann is trying to do. Also it will be great to see players like Steve Cherundolo; Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra on the back line for the U.S. defense.
The U.S. now sits in the third in the qualifying stage for the world cup. Mexico on the other hand sits back in 5th, which will not work for them because only the top 3 teams advance. The 4th place team in CONCACAF qualifying will get a chance to play Oceania winner New Zealand in a two-legged playoff.