US-Mexico: What We Learned

US-Mexico: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 27, 2013
  • 2014 World Cup Qualifying, Features, Jurgen Klinsmann, Mexico, USMNT
Matt Besler and the US defense were all over Mexico last night. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Besler and the US defense were all over Mexico last night. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

What else can you say about last night’s 0-0 draw for the US National Team against Mexico? Was it pretty? No all the time? But was it effective? Absolutely.

Jurgen Klinsmann and the US squad had a game plan and stuck with it. Defend, defend, defend with some silky passing through the midfield to test the Mexican defense at key moments. And the big thing, luck. They had a fair amount of luck in this one to get the 0-0 draw, the second ever at the Azteca against Mexico.

So what do we take away from this game? Plenty. This isn’t the same squad that struggled through a 2-1 loss in Honduras back in early February. This is a squad that is progressing. 

Besler-Gonzalez are the duo of now and the future

A lot of people were shocked and upset with Klinsmann for not including veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra in his roster for this set of two games. But in the end, after last night, we know how who is the defensive duo for this US squad for the next couple of years. Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez.

Seriously. Both were spectacular last night in the various moments of the game.  Gonzalez was key for the US in the air while Besler was sniffing out balls left and right. Mexico struggled to get in behind the two all evening and the result spoke for itself.

For Besler, the absence of a true second forward to partner Chicharito eased his task a bit on the night, yet he timed his interventions impeccably to repel Mexico’s passes and darting runs as they edged into the penalty area.

The two also worked well with Geoff Cameron and DeMarcus Beasley on the night as well. While I don’t see either Cameron and Beasley as the options at fullback right now for the US, the quartet worked well enough as an unit on the night to get the draw. And most importantly, they keep the pressure off Brad Guzan in goal, who really didn’t have to do a ton on the night.

The attack lacked a punch

In a game where you are pretty much playing for a draw, this was to be expected. Jozy Alitdore didn’t provide a ton other than a couple good linking plays with Michael Bradley. Herculez Gomez was decent at times but not good enough to push the Mexican back four around.

So yeah, the attack lacked a serious bite and punch. Possibly having a Landon Donovan would help that out but maybe not.

Eddie Johnson, a early second half sub, was on the field for nearly 40 minutes and was a ghost.

Saying all of this though makes me believe that the next couple of games will be different for the US attack. Only three road games left with four to play at home opens the door up for some serious attacking soccer.

The Hex is really open for anyone still

Three games down for everyone in the group and everything is still open to play. Last night was the first night that saw a couple teams win games with Panama taking the group lead with five points and Costa Rica getting three points of their own.

But the schedule worked out well for the US in this one. They wrapped up their toughest two road tests early and got a point out of it. We always said that if the US could get four points in the first three games that it would probably be tabbed as a success.

Still so much to play for here and with four home games to play, the US has the position that they want to qualify here.

Other quick thoughts:

– Mexico will never play the US again at home, at night. Ever.

– Mexico will also probably never wear their black jerseys against the US at home.

– José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre won’t be the Mexican manager by September when the Mexican visit the US.

– All 14 players the USMNT used in the historic draw are currently playing, or have played in, MLS.

  • It may be true but is it really fair to single out Eddie Johnson a ghost? How much did we even have the ball while he was in? The defense desrves all the credit thowns its way. The offense, on the other hand… Overall though, I was thrilled with getting a point and quite pleased that a few calls went our way.
    I had the same thought as you bout the black unis for Mexico. I don’t know who makes them (Nike?), but I suspect it was an attempt to make more sales. Don’t see too many people wanting them.