Well, the United States may not have had much expectation of getting a result Wednesday, but the reverse psychology evidently worked, as they defeated Mexico 1-0 for their first-ever win in the Estadio Azteca. Most of the match was a snoozefest, as Mexico camped out with the ball in the American half but couldn't convert any chances, while the U.S. defended but hardly got into Mexico's box all night. Still, their gameplan worked perfectly, as they absorbed the pressure and were somewhat fortunate to catch Mexico in indifferent form, it must be said.
They also converted their only real chance of the game, as three substitutes powered the U.S. to the game's only goal. Brek Shea made a run at Mexico defender Severo Meza and shook him easily, then made a centering pass from the end line to Terrence Boyd, who was facing away from goal and could not get the shot off. Instead of trying to turn in a tight space, however, Boyd sent a backheel flick to the far post, where defender Michael Orozco Fiscal was waiting, and he directed the ball in the back of the net. After that goal in the 80th minute, the U.S. hung on and several key saves from goalkeeper Tim Howard preserved the win.The good news about the win? A lot of players got valuable experience for the USMNT, and seeing the team put in a good defensive performance has to be heartening, considering it is the Americans' main achilles heel. Geoff Cameron and Edgar Castillo in particular had a good night, and Maurice Edu put in a surprisingly strong shift in at center back considering it isn't his regular position. And it has to be considered vindication for USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann for asserting that the Americans could get the win when few believed it was possible, especially with the U.S. missing so many regulars.
It must also be noted that the Americans playing in Mexico will have bragging rights for the moment. Pachuca's Jose Francisco Torres struggled, it must be said, but he was part of history. Castillo and Joe Corona, who also saw action as a late sub, will take the goodwill back to Tijuana. Herculez Gomez worked hard all night, but without much attacking intent as a team, he didn't get many chances to get on the scoresheet, although he'll certainly feel good when he returns to Santos Laguna. And DaMarcus Beasley, the only non-Latino American currently playing in Mexico, got some redemption after being out of the national team for some time and taking a risk in his career in heading to Puebla.
Finally, the biggest winner on the night may have been Orozco Fiscal. The defender has never been fancied by American fans, and his club, San Luis, is definitely one of the minnows of the Liga MX. That he was selected, got on the field and scored the winner has to be an absolute highlight of his career.
All in all, the U.S. will hope that the bad mojo is behind them and they will no longer have to worry about the winless streak. But let's not forget: it was a friendly. Although I'm sure they aren't happy, Mexico would probably take a friendly loss to the U.S. if it meant they would win in the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying. Win or lose, friendly results must always be taken with a grain of salt.
Elsewhere in CONCACAF friendly action, Canada played Trinidad and Tobago tonight and won 2-0 in Florida. Tosaint Ricketts and Real Salt Lake's Will Johnson got the goals for the Canadians, but Chivas USA fans will be interested to know that the only Goat playing for his international team today was defender Ante Jazic. He played the first 45 minutes of the match, but he was also named the captain for his country while on the field. It's great to see him get the honor, and congratulations to him. Additionally, that he only played one half will hopefully benefit Chivas this week, as they have a key game against the Colorado Rapids and will be eager to get their best players on the field. It isn't assured that Jazic will feature Saturday for Chivas, but given the fact that he contributed to another clean sheet for his country and got pulled early means he will likely be an option this weekend.
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