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U.S. Continues Domination Over Mexico

The true sign of when a team has another team's number is when it can play poorly, yet still pull out the win. That happened Wednesday night when the United States Men's National Team beat Mexico 2-0 in a friendly match before 62,462 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The victory marks the eighth consecutive match in which the U.S. has shut out their arch-rivals on American soil, a streak of 754 minutes, dating back to a 56th minute goal by Jose Manuel Abundis on March 13, 1999. Mexico has won all three games played on Mexican soil in that time, a Confederations Cup semi-final in 1999, and World Cup qualifiers in 2001 and 2005. But throw in that tiny victory in second round of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and the United States can stake its claim as the dominant team in CONCACAF.

Mexico had been all but handed the opportunity to end the streak with this game. Many national teams will use friendlies outside of a World Cup qualifying cycle to see new players. Mexico had a full squad, with 14 of the 18 men returning from last summer's World Cup team, while interim U.S. coach Bob Bradley chose to field an MLS-base side, with only four of the U.S.'s European-based players, and several players on the field with less than 10 appearances for the national team. Also, the Mexican league has been underway for several weeks, while training began for Major League Soccer clubs last week, so the Mexicans were more fit than the Americans.

The difference in match fitness showed from the opening whistle, as the U.S. struggled to string passes together while Mexico moved the ball with their usual composure. When the U.S. did cross midfield, poor decision-making, movement off the ball, and overall tentative play allowed Mexico to effectively clear the ball. Yet despite the obvious difference in attacking prowess, Mexico did not get many good looks at goal in the first half due to the exceptional play of central defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Jimmy Conrad, who was far and away the man of the match. Mexico's best chance came two minutes before halftime when Jared Borgetti, Mexico's all-time leading striker, sent a header from a corner kick just wide of the far post.

But games between bitter rivals, in any sport, are rarely about which team plays better, and eight minutes after the restart, the Americans struck. A rare foray into the attacking third of the field led to a corner kick, and Landon Donovan's free kick found Conrad wide open 10 yards out, and the 2005 MLS Defender of the Year headed it past goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

The goal stunned the Mexicans, but they quickly regrouped and began a 20-minute spell of possession in which they came dangerously close to scoring several times, thanks mostly to second half substitutes Andres Guardado and Omar Bravo. The added pressure led to defensive mistakes by the Americans, with only poor finishing and very good play from goalkeeper Tim Howard preventing Mexico from getting the equalizer.

Mexico kept up the pressure until the 77th minute, when they ran out of ideas and grew frustrated. They did everything in their power to win, only to be denied yet again by the team they had outplayed. Then, as the game entered stoppage time, a sloppy ball at midfield deflected off the referee to Ricardo Clark, who sent in Donovan alone on goal. Donovan rounded Sanchez and coolly slotted it home to ice the victory.

About Dave Lifton

  • ProfEssays

    The US team is making progress.

  • http://http//www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    I remember in the 80s when I was playing Canada had the upper-hand over the USA. Yes, Canada. Of course, Mexico was far better at the time. Mexico is one of those world class teams who can’t quite make that final leap into greatness. Team USA is making progress desptite Germany. Funny, the way you described it reminded me on how flat came out against France in the Euro qualifier. With a WC hang over and with league play yet to commence the Italians were spent. France was dying for revenge and,well, got their wish. The mark of a great team is indeed one that can be outplayed and still win – people should remember this. It’s not always about possession but the one who puts the ball in the net.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net Dave Lifton

    Hopefully, Toronto FC will help develop more top-level Canadian soccer players and create greater enthusiasm for the sport up there. I would love to see a genuine rivalry between the US and Canada.

  • http://http//www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    I hope so too.

  • Alex Nu

    The USA team had been practicing together for about a month.
    The Mexican Team only had a chance to practice for a couple of days. Mexico had much more chances than the USA, and they definitely play better. But as we know, in soccer the team that scores is the one who wins.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “the United States Men’s National Team beat Mexico 2-0 in a friendly match before 62,462 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.”

    How many of the 62,462 fans were rooting for Mexico? about 50,000?

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    I saw the match. The USA occasionally played well and then sometimes ran around in a panic chasing the ball. The USA has a ways to go in developing an attractive style of play.

    In general, Mexico is currently playing some of the most attractive soccer on the planet right now. They created alot of opportunities on goal (more than the USA). The USA defense kept the ball out of the net.

    USA goals on the corner kick and a break away near the end of the match were both very nice.

    Let everyone get in tune and we’ll see where it all takes us…

    best,
    DM

  • http://www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    Douglas, please allow me to offer a different take. While playing “attractive” soccer is a goal many people search for it really isn’t just about attractive soccer. It’s about results too. Mexico is a highly versatile squad who put tactics first. Pandering to a subjective philosophy without the proper personnel and talent only gets coaches fired. We treat soccer like a circus act drooling at every little pointless trick. Mexico plays a team oriented style with some quick foot speed and decent passing skills. They look good doing it but to suggest America needs to be attractive is irrelevant. They need to learn how to adjust properly to different styles, play strategically and to their strengths. Get the tactics down pat and take it from there. The talent is available now it’s a question of finding the right style that fits the American soccer character. Germany 2006 WC clearly showed this. Anyway, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net Dave Lifton

    Mexico didn’t actually create a lot of chances in this game. They had a lot of possession, but they very rarely had good looks at goal thanks to the excellent play of Conrad, Bocanegra, and Howard. Mexico only had 6 shots in the game, with three or four of those coming in that 20-minute spell following the first US goal.

    One thing I’ve noticed, and this was especially evident in the 2002 WC, when Mexico plays other teams, they play beautiful soccer, as Douglas points out. That match against Italy was a perfect eample, and the build-up to Borgetti’s goal was beautiful. But when they play the US, they resort to hacking and diving, showing us no respect whatsoever, and I think that is one of the reasons why we have dominated them in this century. No, we didn’t play well in this game, but we didn’t get frustrated and thrown off our game plan, either, and that’s why we won.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    I remember how dirty Mexico played against the US during the WC in 2002, after they went down 2-0…

    Check it out here:

    The US went up 2-0 in the 65th minute.)

    Cautions

    POPE Eddie (USA) 26′, VIDRIO Manuel (MEX) 37′, MASTROENI Pablo (USA) 47′, WOLFF Josh (USA) 50′, BERHALTER Gregg (USA) 53′, HERNANDEZ Luis (MEX) 67′, BLANCO Cuauhtemoc (MEX) 70′, GARCIA ASPE Alberto (MEX) 81′, FRIEDEL Brad (USA) 83′, CARMONA Salvador (MEX) 84′

    Expulsions

    MARQUEZ Rafael (MEX) 88′

  • http://chivas america

    cool america beet c hivas because america rools

  • Sergio

    Mexico is the one that dominates USA with a record of 30-14-11.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Here I thought I was going to read about American imperialism – and it was only soccer.

    Disappointment city!