Looking back at the USMNT vs. Mexico match

 

In the fortress that is Estadio Azteca, the US earned a 1-1 draw against El Tri, earning a massive point in World Cup Qualifying, and increasing their chances of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The point earned last night was just the 3rd point the US has ever earned at the Azteca in World Cup qualifying, matching draws in 1997 and 2013. The US got in the board early, with captain Michael Bradley catching Memo Ochoa off his line in his 6th minute and chipping him from 40 yards to put the US up 1-0. The lead didn’t last long though, as winger Carlos Vela cut inside and beat Brad Guzan with a shot to the bottom right corner of the goal in the 23rd minute. However, the US got strong defensive performances from several players and were able to hang on for the draw.

Some of the standout performers for the US included Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, Michael Bradley, Kellyn Acosta, and DeAndre Yedlin. Cameron was exceptionally strong, coming up with several huge tackles and clearances. His partners at Center back were also strong, with Tim Ream, in particular, coming up big, and his positioning was solid, and he came up with some big clearances in the box. The Michael Bradley and Kellyn Acosta partnership in central midfield worked well, as both were strong defensively and passed fairly well, with Bradley getting on the scoresheet as well. It took Right back DeAndre Yedlin a few minutes to settle in while defending Hirving Lozano, but he was good once he settled in. The US attackers were stuck on an island a bit as the team bunkered, but Christian Pulisic made some nice runs when he did receive the ball, relieving pressure from the defense and pressuring the Mexican back line.

Overall, the US wasn’t perfect, but some strong individual performances were enough to earn them a point in a tough environment, and the team should be OK with this result. Next up for the US is a July 1st friendly against Ghana, followed by the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which begins on July 8th. It will be interesting to see who Bruce Arena includes on his final roster, as a couple of players made a case for playing time in the tournament with their performances in these qualifiers.

 

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