It wasn’t a dream, the US Men’s National team defeated Mexico by the all too familiar “dos a cero” score last night in the Alamodome. The 2-0 win from the USMNT put a temporary band aid over issues involving the pitch, Jurgen Klinsmann’s fitness plan and the inability for the USMNT to close out a game. Klinsmann is still undefeated against Mexico winning three times, including once at the Azteca and drawing three times, including once at the Azteca. The USMNT hasn’t lost to Mexico since Bob Bradley’s last game as manager in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The main story had to be the pitch. It was terrible. It was so terrible, I played youth soccer games that were on better pitches than this and they were just grass fields with the only maintenance involving mowing the grass and painting the lines. As long as the pitch was flat, or relatively flat, we played on that. What I played on as a 10 year old looked like a better pitch than what was played on by 32 professional players (and 1 amateur player) last night in the Alamodome. Who knows, maybe it was a way for Klinsmann to prepare the players for the equally crappy pitches in the rest of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
Either way, it may have claimed Kyle Beckerman as a victim of the pitch. He got a non contact injury to his thigh. Reports say that Beckerman has a “left thigh contusion.”
The first half wound up being a feeling out process between the two teams and the pitch. The passing completion was incredibly low and players were mainly more concerned with not getting injured than taking the lead.
The second half got way more exciting as the teams attacked more and more. The lone amateur on the pitch, Jordan Morris, scored the first goal of the night. Gyassi Zardes tried to pass to Michael Bradley and deflected right to the Stanford sophomore who got his first goal as a USMNT player.
Juan Agudelo cemented the “dos a cero” score in the 72nd minute and the USMNT didn’t allow a goal like they have been doing recently. Since the World Cup, the USMNT has played in 11 friendlies and have been outscored 15-14 including eight goals allowed past the 80th minute.
While this may seem like a great sign for the USMNT, it may just be a mirage. Yeah, the USMNT didn’t leak a goal against Mexico but they didn’t leak a goal against Panama in February either. And in the two friendlies after that, against Denmark and Switzerland, they were leading both games only to blow it with a loss and draw by goals scored past the 80th minute. Their next two friendlies are against the Netherlands and Germany. The USMNT might be able to beat teams in CONCACAF but they seem to struggle against everyone else. At least that’s a good sign for this summer’s Gold Cup.