EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 26: Agudelo: Got the winning goal for the USMNT U23s Wednesday (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
In a result that was something of a surprise, the United States Men's National Team U23 squad beat the Mexico U23 squad 2-0 Wednesday night in a friendly at FC Dallas Stadium. Two first half goals made the difference. The first came from New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who scored on a header off a corner kick by Mikkel Diskerud in the 35th minute. Diskerud got a goal of his own just a minute later, when he deflected a long-range bomb from Freddy Adu. From there, the Americans looked firmly in control of the match, and got a good result heading into the upcoming CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The Americans controlled possession throughout the first half, so taking the lead wasn't such a surprise considering how little Mexico actually had the ball. On the flipside, in the second half Mexico had far more possession, and the U.S. sat back and absorbed the pressure. Overall, the only major chance for Mexico came in the 72nd minute when former Chivas USA defender Zarek Valentin pulled Chivas de Guadalajara's Marco Fabian down in the box. Instead of a penalty and/or a card for Valentin, however, Fabian got a yellow card for diving, which wasn't really deserved.So the Americans will be riding high heading into the qualifying tournament, while Mexico will have some hand-wringing. But bear in mind that Mexico may be setting the U.S. up for a rope-a-dope. Did El Tri throw the match or purposely play bad? No. But this was a time when they could afford to play poorly, and they can find out the Americans' style and strategy heading into the competitive fixtures.
That said, the U.S. looked good tonight. They should be feeling good after that performance. A potential downside? Chivas USA's Jorge Villafana was in the 18 for the American squad tonight but did not see any time on the field. Is a spot on the qualifying tournament squad in danger for him, or is he assured a spot ahead of some of the guys who played tonight? Valentin played at left back, and looked like he was playing out of position at a few points (which he was). We'll have to wait on the announcement for the squad to find out.
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