USA 1, Mexico 0: A Look Back

USABeatsAzteca (Getty)

Twenty four times over the course of 75 years.

That is how many times, and over how long a period of time, the U.S. Men's National Team had traveled south of the border looking for a win against Mexico. Twenty four times they tried and 24 times they failed to win, and 23 of those times they lost.

It is that record of futility, and all those decades of frustrating defeats, that made Wednesday night's 1-0 victory against Mexico as meaningful a win as you will ever see in an exhibition match. It is that long-standing drought and all those years of Mexican dominance that made finally beating them in their most sacred of homes all the more significant and gratifying.

No, ultimately the victory doesn't mean anything toward World Cup qualifying, and it doesn't give the CONCACAF Gold Cup back to the USA. What the victory does do is give U.S. national team players, both the ones on the field Wednesday night and those watching around the world, the belief and understanding that winning in Mexico City isn't some unimaginable and unreachable dream of a goal.

That is something you can't put a value on, and something we may not see the clear dividends of until the U.S. returns to Azteca and wins a World Cup qualifier there.

Until that time comes, Wednesday's victory will serve to inspire U.S. national team players to believe that they can win in Mexico, and after beating Italy in Italy earlier this year, this U.S. team is starting to believe that it can beat anybody, anywhere.

Here are some more thoughts on Wednesday night's match:

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Hats off to Jurgen Klinsmann. He made some sharp moves with his lineup, and with some position changes and came up with a game plan that worked. Now the USA has won road games against Italy and Mexico, two places the U.S. had never won before. He has instilled a real belief in his team and, for the time being, has earned the confidence of his players. This should bode well for the rest of World Cup qualifying.

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Geoff Cameron was outstanding. No other way to say it. He played with poise and confidence, showing the physical attributes to handle playing high-level competition as well as the technical quality to be an effective centerback for the national team.

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Maurice Edu had his moments where you could tell he's not used to the position, but his turn at centerback was a solid one. If he goes to a club team that lets him play centerback, then Edu could definitely turn into a strong centerback option going forward. Moving to centerback would also help alleviate the central midfield glut.

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Fabian Johnson was rock solid at right back, and looked like an absolute natural there. Does that mean he's a long-term option there? Not really because he's still too important at left back. Steve Cherundolo is still the starter at right back, and if Tim Chandler never does make up his mind to come back we should expect Eric Lichaj to get a look eventually.

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Edgar Castillo's performance drew mixed reviews. Some thing he was excellent while some thought he was terrible. The truth lied somehwere in between. He started out with a shaky first 10-15 minutes, when he was beaten on separate occasions by Pablo Barrera and Andres Guardado, but he settled down after that and had a solid 30 minutes to finish out the first half. The second half was more shakiness, with Elias Hernandez beating Castillo for pace repeatedly and firing in dangerous crosses seemingly at will. Ultimately none of those crosses bore fruit, but there is no denying Castillo struggled in the second half. Overall though, he faired better on Wednesday than he did a year ago against this same team.

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No matter what any Mexican fan might try and say, the Mexican team that lost on Wednesday night was a strong team very close to being a first-choice squad. Olympic team members Jose Corona, Giovani Dos Santos and Carlos Salcido are players who would normally be starting for the first team, but the absences of Corona and Salcido really didn't factor into the decision. Did Mexico miss Dos Santos, who is a perennial USA killer? Absolutely, especially considering how ineffective Angel Reyna was. That said, there was still enough of a representation of Mexico's first-choice team to make Wednesday's victory an impressive one for the U.S., and not one that Mexican fans should be trying to dismiss.

Make no mistake though, reinforcements are on the way for Mexico. That gold-medal winning Mexican Olympic team is loaded with talented young players who are on the verge of jumping into the senior team mix, and many of them should take over starting jobs by 2014. Players like Marco Fabian, Hector Herrera, Hiram Mier and Jorge Enriquez. Yes, Mexico is still in the midst of a golden era, and are only getting stronger. That doesn't mean the USA won't still be able to make things tough, and it doesn't mean the U.S. won't still find ways to beat them.

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Landon Donovan was largely ineffective before leaving the match at halftime with hamstring tightness. Having just played on Sunday night, it is clear Donovan wasn't 100 percent. I wouldn't start calling for him to be benched from the first team just yet. He will still be key in the upcoming qualifiers against Jamaica.

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Not sure why there were so many critics of Kyle Beckerman's play. I thought he was steady, moved the ball around well, and aside from one or two untimely turnovers, the RSL mdifielder handled himself very well. He also sent the pass that started the sequence that eventually led to Orozco Fiscal's goal. Does this mean Beckerman should start on a full-strength first team? I won't go that far, but he handled himself well at Azteca and merits more looks

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Danny Williams defends well at right midfield, but provides little else at the position. He's a viable option in games where Jurgen Klinsmann wants to neutralize an opposing left winger, which he wanted to do to Andres Guardado, but there is no getting around the fact that Williams is useless getting forward. In fact, the only attacking play Williams pulled off successfully on Wednesday was a throw-in. Yes, he is hampered by the fact that he is more a true defensive midfielder, and even more a right back, than right midfielder, but he can play the role of right wing destroyer relatively well. That comes in handy against certain opponents, though it comes at the cost of less offense from your midfield.

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Jose Torres had a bad night. There's no getting around it. He was largely invisible and lost the ball half the time he had it. It wasn't as if any attacking players really stood out among the starters, in part because of the U.S. strategy to focus on defending against Mexico's dangerous attack, but Torres clearly struggled to make an impact and he lost the ball to easily when he was able to gain possession. Losing the ball repeatedly can't just be chalked up to teammates not being there for him. It wasn't an issue for Beckerman, who completed 25 of 30 passes (all but one of which were forward passes) so it shouldn't be an excuse for Torres' lackluster night. It might be time to start asking whether Torres will ever be well suited for that kind of attacking role. It's not one he plays for club side Pachuca. He's better suited as a deeper-lying distributor, someone who cleans things up in midfield and circulates the ball to the attack. Unfortunately for Torres, that's a place where better options reside right now for the USMNT.

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Torres wasn't alone in being sloppy in possession. Jermaine Jones coughed up unforced turnovers repeatedly, and gave up the ball in his own half of the field a half dozen times. His work rate is impressive and he ran all over the field on Wednesday night, but he must be more careful with the ball at times because far too often he gets careless with the ball and puts his team in position to be punished for it. That didn't happen on Wednesday night, but it's something Jones needs to clean up.

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Lastly, it wasn't a pretty game by any means, and Mexico did enjoy the bulk of possession and controlled the game for long stretches, but for the U.S. to come away with a victory despite missing so many key starters is a major accomplishment. Yes, when these teams meet again in a year both lineups will look different, but just as Mexico will be stronger, a U.S. lineup with Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore (and a healthy Landon Donovan) will be much stronger. Mexico will probably still control possession, but the head-to-head match-up when the sides meet at full strength will be much closer than some realize.

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What did you think of the match? Who, aside from obvious selections Cameron and Howard, impresed you on Wednesday night? Will you be planning to take the trip to Mexico City when the U.S. returns in 2013?

Share your thoughts below.

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147 Responses to USA 1, Mexico 0: A Look Back

  1. elgringorico says:

    I was the a-hole Klinsy doubter yesterday. Now I’m back on board. The way he tinkered with that lineup was magic.

  2. Raymon says:

    Standout performance by Cameron at CB! Fantastic win – achieved without Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, Cherundulo, Bocanegra on the pitch!

  3. Ben says:

    More than anything else, I think this game shows the advantage of having two mobile, athletic centerbacks. The ability of Edu and Cameron to keep pace with the Mexican front line was nice to see. I can’t remember the last US game I was watching during which I wasn’t terrified of the other team just burning with movement and pace.

  4. Al_OC says:

    I thought Beckerman did pretty well. But to me the sequence that lead to goal started with an Orozco throw in; and I have to give Beasley credit for releasing the ball while he was trapped by 2 Mexican players.

  5. elgringorico says:

    +1. Though Boca never traditionally had an issue with pace, he is slowing down a bit now. And we all know that Onyewu and Goodson have never been the quickest.

  6. away goals says:

    What surprises me is all the criticism the midfield (especially donovan and torres) is getting.

    The midfield’s “poor” display and the back line’s outstanding showing are strongly related. We ran a 4321 where the fullbacks almost never overlapped, certainly not in the first half anyway.

    That’s a gameplan designed for stout defense at the expense of any possession or attacking. Very smart tactics to employ at azteca, but for some reason ignored when evaluating individual performances.

  7. iToddyC says:

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good win for the US and long overdue, but it was an insignificant friendly with both sides not playing full strength teams. Klinsmann deserves credit, but winning meaningless games should not be something to harp on. Win in Mexico or against Mexico when it matters. The fact that the US didn’t even qualify for the Olympics should still be mentioned in the same breath as this win. onward and upward USA! once we do reach the Pinnacle (in the next few decades) there will be no taking us down.

  8. Dimidri says:

    Against teams like Jamaica (who we should beat but got some talent) what about Jozy and Boyd up top, Dempsey in the middle, Donovan on the left and Herc on the right where he sometimes plays with Laguna?

    Then you would have Bradley play d-mid, plus a back four of Johnson, Boca, Cameron, and Dolo/Lichaj?

    Seems like a good attacking lineup, only worry I guess is Shea/Wondo are your only true attacking forces off the bench.

  9. elgringorico says:

    That actually sounds great.

  10. bradd says:

    oooooooohhhhhhhhh……..Punto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. chris says:

    Its time to stop trying to fit torres into the starting XI, just not good enough

  12. Dimidri says:

    Altidore—–Boyd

    Dempsey

    Donovan————————————Gomez

    Bradley

    Johnson——-Boca——–Cameron—-Dolo/Lichaj

    Howard

  13. Kryptonite says:

    I don’t really buy the “both sides not playing full strength” bit. The only player that could have helped Mexico was Dos Santos, and national teams can always expect to be without at least one player. Should the US say they have not had a full strength team since Holden went down with injury?

  14. Jeff says:

    Great win and some revelation performances in back. However watching Torres struggle in a forward role Williams out wide and knowing what you get with Beckerman I would like to see JK bring in some other faces to deepen the pool and see what he’s got instead of making these three a lock at every camp

  15. Eurosnob says:

    I normally would agree that friendlies are meaningless, but this one was against the biggest rival in a place where we could not win for 75 years. The first ever win at Azteca is huge for the confidence of playing meaningful games in Mexico. Next time they have to play a WC qualifying game there, they will have confidence that they can win because they have done it before. Azteca has fallen! And Mexico pretty much fielded their A team, minus Dos Santos. They missed three starter, but only Dos Santos was a meaningful loss. Their top two keepers are largely a wash and Mexico’s keeper was not at fault on the goal anyway. Mexico’s fans were posting on these boards that Nilo is better than Salcido because he “shut down” Adu in the Gold Cup final after Adu has a field day against Salcido. They missed Dos Santos, but we missed more: Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Boca, Dolo (although our D did quite well despite missing two starters). So it was pretty much our B+ team against Mexico’s A team. As for not our failure to qualify for the Olympics it is a big setback, but don’t forget that our U23 team had a dominant win over Mexico’s U23 team on the eve of the Olympic qualifying and had about 70% of possession in the first half. They beat essentially the same team that won the Olympic, minus three overage players.

  16. George3000 says:

    Respectfully disagree. I can remember the last time we played at Azteca (and possibly even the time before that). We had zero belief that we were going to win in that environment – even after Charlie Davies scored in the early going.

    I think there’s a definite mental difference between walking into something you’ve done before and trying for a result versus walking into something you’ve failed at for 75 years and hoping to pull of a miracle.

  17. kfly says:

    Punto means “point” in Spanish.

  18. pd says:

    I wonder what a Parkhurst/Cameron pairing would look like? There will still be times when we’ll need the size of Goodson and Gooch, though…

  19. someguyfrommidwest says:

    Not one mention of Fiscal’s contributions and perfect positioning for the goal. Is there a biased in this article?

  20. Mario in QT says:

    Ok a win is a win. However did you all forget that Mexico made as many unforced errors, like passing the ball out of bounds, as we usually do? This was not a fit Mexico. Had they used their Olympic team do any of you think the score would have been the same? No, its a win that gets that monkey off our backs and nothing else.
    Klinsi is doing a great building job.

  21. Brain Guy says:

    Jones was also sloppy with the ball, with too may giveaways. I think Bradley’s effectiveness as a disrupter and a distributor would have made a big difference in the midfield.

    The Azteca fans have always had a formidable set of “antics,” from the verbal (e.g., whatever it was that they yelled each time Howard kicked the ball) to the indefensible (e.g., cups full of beer and various bodily fluids that Donovan and others have described), but last night they added a new one: trying to shine a green laser light into Howard’s eyes. Shockingly, no one tried to do anything about it.

  22. H-town says:

    How about Williams at RB in that formation? That would be 3 speedsters in the backline with a veteran-defender/bruiser.

  23. Troy says:

    I thought for certain Mexico was going to hand us our asses again. Congratulations to the team and my hat is off to Klinsman for inspiring these guys. Timmy Howard is the clutchest of clutch players for us. Italy and now Mexico. Wow.

    Leave it to a Mexican-American to score the goal too! I think this proves that most of our veteran US players have a block going on and its going to take the younger guys to break through.

    Glad to see Shea make a difference.

  24. Slowreno says:

    subtract the t and I think you got it right.

  25. chris says:

    Does no one watch Lichaj????? He is more of a “speedster” than Williams and a much better defender while hes also great going forward

  26. DavidKamerun says:

    Not bad, for the most part, but Bradley ought to continue his growth in the regista role, or at least as a box-box player. His talent is stunted as a destroyer.

    Also, Jozy’s growth has largely been his gradual embrace of the physical target role. Not that they wouldn’t do well together, but Boyd and Jozy together might be a bit redundant. Better to pair one of them with a mobile finisher who can stretch the defense, like Gomez or even Lando.

    I’d like to see:
    Jozy/Boyd = Gomez
    Clint/Shea = Bradley = Lando
    Edu/Jones
    Johnson = Boca = Cameron = Dolo/Lichaj
    Timmy

  27. PD says:

    I still don’t get why folks aren’t more vocal about Beasely. In every JK callup he has played his role to perfection. I know he’s not “the future”, but I think this guy warrants being in the mix as a tactical option/sub option and provides a terrific example of what is expected in the new system.

  28. DanO says:

    I think that is tv related. The laser was on the ball a bunch and on chicharito after his misses. I’ve seen it in other games too. Not sure exactly what it’s for, but don’t think it is for cheating.

  29. Brad says:

    Thats adorable that you think this was the first time a laser was used at the Azteca.

  30. DCUPedro says:

    Winning in Azteca is cool and all, but even the “now we know we can do it in meaningful games there” is a bit overstated in importance.

    The U.S. has never needed to win in Azteca to qualify, and probably never will. Beyond that one match that we’ll play there every four years (you can bet there will be no more friendlies there), what do we need to prove?

    I know I’m being a scrooge, but this flukey win in a half-full Azteca doesn’t change much from my perspective. It doesn’t change the reality that Mexico is on a great path player-development wise to contend for world cups, and we are in the midst of a lengthy plateau that will likely last another several years.

  31. Kevin_Amold says:

    It could be but I’ve never seen such a light before. I thought someone had a CD in the stands and was shining a strong light off it…

  32. GSScasual says:

    *N

  33. TomG says:

    I can’t believe they pitched a shutout with that back line – phenomenal. Cameron was a beast.

  34. TomG says:

    Psychology is often overstated, it’s true, but over the last 2 decades, USA has consistently been able to steal results off of Mexican sides that were often far superior technically. I think it is important to continue that tradition, especially given the lopsided nature of the last few matches, and to do it with a B side is a little icing on the cake.

  35. jbrader says:

    Torres didn’t to his job: possess and pass. The reason we stayed in the game was because (as you say) the defensive superbucket provided cover and luck, things that offset Torres poor play in the first half.

    Speaking of superbuckets, I thought our tactics were basically Bob Bradley’s on steroids, with (count ‘em) four DMs.

  36. evan says:

    i guess a lot of y’all are homers who only watch the national team and have never seen ‘the lazer’ before? you see ‘the lazer’ in European games all the time. yes it’s annoying but i’ve never seen a ‘keeper miss a ball because of it yet…

  37. mike says:

    but he is also much more of a left back than a right.

  38. mike says:

    it is indeed the fans with the laser. Howard mentioned it post match.

  39. Camjam says:

    Are you sure? I’ve always heard he started as a RB, and is naturally right-footed. He learned to play LB because he was good with both feet, and would get more opportunities

  40. Benny says:

    If the U.S. used a fit first A team, do you think the score would have been the same?

  41. THomas says:

    If his new high pressing, slick passing strategy doesn’t work, which I think it will eventually. It’s good to know we can still win in big games by reverting back to our old ‘American’ ways.

  42. DanO says:

    Fair enough. I had seen it before and figured it was for a less cynical purpose. I stand corrected.

  43. THomas says:

    He plays for Aston Villa…so no, I don’t watch him.

  44. SuperChivo says:

    Big credit goes to players, coach, and staff for a magical result. I do disagreement with your assessment about the difference in belief between four years ago in qualifiers and now. Then, we played our game in Mexico with four attacking players in the lineup. We lost, and we didn’t have the possession/dominance that we showed in Columbus, but we went at them. This time, it was 10 men behind the ball always and it wasn’t a qualifier.
    If there is any difference we have seen between last cycle and this one it is that Klinsmann commits numbers to defense. I’m not saying that this is bad, and last night it was exactly right, but with this system you will upset some better teams and under perform against teams that you should normally beat, like we have seen with the US since Slovenia.

  45. Byrdman says:

    sorry to disagree, but I thought DMB was bad last night. His touch was not good, he failed to provide defensive cover, and failed to mark Herrera who missed a volley from 12 yards. I thought he was the worst of the subs last night.

  46. Enos says:

    Roger Bannister breaks the 4 minute mile and then people all over the world start doing it. Just like that, I think US players that weren’t at Azteca will believe they can win. That is huge. Even though Mexico is a more talented team, I have confidence the US could pull off the upset in Azteca next time.

  47. TheFrenchOne says:

    no

  48. chris says:

    No he is a RB

  49. Rabid RBNY says:

    Seeing Shea last night makes me wonder if Adu should beta call up. Perhaps he is still torn up about Olympic qualifying disaster. Maybe he would jump at the chance to do what we would like Torres to do?

  50. Brain Guy says:

    I guess we watch diferent games, because I watch plenty of games from Europe (and elsewhere) and I do not recall seeing “the lazer” before. (I did read this past winter about a parent who got tossed from a youth hockey game for shining a laser at the opposing goaltender.) Would you agree that it is unfair and perhaps dangerous?

  51. bag o' uran says:

    well, someone has to be worst.

  52. NE Matt says:

    And this is why we play the games people!

    A few things:

    1.) Shea to Boyd to Orozco Fiscal – instantly a legendary play that will be shown over and over
    2.) Howard reminded everyone that the US does have amazing goalkeepers and that he is still the man
    3.) Whoever was giving me slack on this blog and/or Soccer by Ives for saying USA would win 1-0 – I got a nice plate of crow you can start eating anytime
    4.) If Tony Pulis wastes Cameron in the midfield at Stoke City, that’s a major mistake by him
    5.) I think Edu did enough to at least intrigue Valencia at the prospects of playing him in defense
    6.) Klinsy needs to stop the Danny Williams as a right sided middy
    7.) Does our B- or C team beating Mexico’s A- or B+ team make Klinsy a genius for breaking Azteca’s spell before the meaningful games vs Mexico start?
    8.) Orozco FREIKIN Fizcal – I will follow you at San Luis now
    9.) Timmy Howard!!!!!

  53. away goals says:

    Possessing and passing in the opposition half is difficult enough under normal circumstances. To do so with only three players interested in attacking (torres, donovan, gomez) is pretty much impossible.

    So yes he failed to do that. But it was a failure by design. The first 45 min we were clearly set up to defend at all costs. If the front three managed to score some miraculous goal, so be it.

    Not saying torres is the answer in that spot. But I don’t think yesterday provided any meaningful evidence to the contrary.

  54. M says:

    Our Olympic team beat their Olympic team 2-0 not too long ago

  55. M says:

    can JK get Edu a club in Germany that will groom him as a CB??

  56. baropbop says:

    1.having one guy on your team that sits the bench at Man U doesn’t make you a superior team. What you do in your professional career doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of your national team career.
    2.I’m just glad that Klinsy finally started listening to me when none of you turkeys would.
    3.It’s bitter sweet, but I hope this signals the end for dolo and boca…especially as far as starting in Brazil goes.

  57. Shea is better suited for a super sub role at this time, especially if we need to score. Torres is another that is better suited as a sub, especially when calm on the ball is needed to hold possession to protect a lead and keep the ball away from an opponent needing to score.

    I think JK is doing a better job of pushing his new style of play … while adapting tactics maximize our strenghts and trying to minimize opponents strenghts. Probably because at the beginning of his tenure, he was really trying to push his new style and gaining info on where he needs to adapt the tactics based on our personnel and strenghts.

  58. NE Matt says:

    I wish! Send him to Hoffenheim lol!

  59. RLW2020 says:

    doesn’t matter who the coach is, i think every time USA goes into Azteca this is the mindset.

  60. AH says:

    His touch is always not good.

  61. biff says:

    Good point by Troy up above about needing the younger guys to make the breakthrough. I pose a question: Would we have won last night had Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Clarence Goodson be in the starting line-up? Maybe, and then again, maybe not.

    To me the big lesson learned from the win is that this USMNT roster of players has grit and heart and determination and that there is not one single player or even handful of players that are essential for success. I don’t ever want to hear again, please, that the USMNT must have Player X on the field to be successful or Players X,Y or Z are crucial for a win. The win last night came without six veteran starters and I will bet anyone 25 cents that they will regret missing that match for the rest of their lives. I would also bet that those guys will not miss another USMNT camp between now and WC 2014, unless they are truly suffering a major injury, if you know what I mean. But the question is, after the performances last night by the B-team, will Klinsmann be inviting all those guys listed above for future camps. I have a sense we might see some changes sooner rather than later, possibly as soon as Jamaica WCQ’s in three weeks.

  62. RLW2020 says:

    i would also like to see Boyd and Jozy on the same field, but i wouldn’t put Gomez in midfield.. id leave that spot to Jones.

    Jozy has developed into a good lone forward but he can do so much more when there is a second striker. Gomez, Dempsey, Boyd, Donovan all can certainly fill that role.

    most of all i agree on loading up the attack vs. Jamaica and other smaller concacaf foes.

  63. biff says:

    Agreed, a legendary play, but should read…

    1.) ***BECKERMAN to*** Shea to Boyd to Orozco Fiscal – instantly a legendary play that will be shown over and over

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. If a certain other midfielder who was absent last night had made the pass that Beckerman did to Shea, some folks would be ooh-ing and ah-ing about how great he was to have made the pass. Beckerman will always be remembered for setting that wonderful play in motion and he deserves the recognition. He was strong all night on defense, and in the last 30 minutes of the game was making some dam good passes.

  64. RLW2020 says:

    Excellent! the Gooch-Boca pairing was a very professional line up but neither of them can dominate the insanely quick jumbled attack that concacaf teams bring. im not sold on any particular set but Edu and Cameron had great games.

  65. RLW2020 says:

    im still trying to figure out how he got up there in the first place. can’t think of anything else he did tho..

  66. biff says:

    Both St. Pauli and Hamburg SV need defenders. St. Pauli would be a great fit for Edu. I would love to see it. Their CB Carlos Zambrano is going to Eintracht Frankfurt, the team that took a look at Carlos Bocanegra a couple of weeks ago at the recommendation of Klinsmann..

  67. Charles says:

    Cameron better not go down after leaving Kinnear and playing time.

    We could have used Bradley last night.

    Edu was not as good as this author made it out to be, not saying CB isn’t going to work, just last night was more failure than success.

    Great to see MLS players really play well. Relying on Europe to push borderline guys has been spotty at best in my opinion. Long term, I think it is hopeless without MLS being good. Maybe you are in the camp that a Clark type wasn’t NT material, fine, fair enough, but they were going in the right direction at least.

  68. RLW2020 says:

    ya thats not the first time.. i really think that concacaf/fifa ought to force the FMF to put nets/chain-link up around the goals and corners to stop things from being tossed on the field as well as deal with lasers etc…

    funny how I remember when MLS fans were throwing stuff at Beckham there was discussion about that. I think everyone in concacaf would appreciate this or is that just the “charm” of playing in azteca

  69. Charles says:

    +1
    Any doubt that team can beat Jamaica ? I am not thinking they were world beaters last night, but they shut down Mexico in Mexico.

  70. Adam M. says:

    Lesson is the same lesson Brazil learned in the Olympic final. At this level, you can win every now and again with inferior talent if you have a reasonably good set of defenders, park the bus, hope the goalie has a good night, hope the opponents attackers can’t unpick the lock for this particular 90 minutes, and maybe scrounge out something yourself. Klinsman wanted to win an away game at an impossible place against better talent, so he picked the best strategy and it won. On a different night, who knows?

  71. HoboMike says:

    Perhaps you have never played competitive sports. Psychology is a pretty important characteristic. Winning in a place that you haven’t won in 75 years is not overstated whatsoever, whether it be A team vs. A team or 15 drunken idiots playing on the field.

    I think the only viable thing Twellman said last night is to wonder why Mexico agreed to play the US at the Azteca. There was no winning solution. If they won, big deal – their A team beat our B team in a place our A team had never won. If they failed to win, it gave the US organization a huge mental lift.

  72. HoboMike says:

    Can’t tell if this post is pro-Beckerman or anti-Bradley.

  73. NE Matt says:

    Yup he was solid and did start the play – good catch. Also, how epic would it have been if he had scored that fluke goal when he hit the ball from ~40 yds out and slipped when Ochoa was off his line?!?!

  74. baldomero123 says:

    I don’t know whether it was by an accident or clever design, but Klinsmann with his pre-game statement that there is “a gap between Mexico and USA, though we came here to win” (something like this) took a sting out of Mexico’s aggressiveness and added confidence to his team. Moreover, US players seemed to disarm their opponents even more by showing them unusual respect during the game. Just a psychological observation.

  75. Mark says:

    I think I love this lineup.

    Good job Dimidri!

  76. pd says:

    Disagree with your calling where the US is at a plateau, not so much because I think we have the next generation of Messi’s Xavi’s and Ronaldo’s in our midst, but because we are in the midst of creating a system of development and a style where talented and motivated players are brought to the top of their potential and effectiveness as a unit by being given clear roles and the tools necessary to execute those roles. I think that is going to significantly lift the collective quality pace and IQ of the NATS side.

  77. ted says:

    Ives is a Fiscal hater, so yes, made him eat crow.

  78. ted says:

    Japan beat Mexico before the Olympics, whats your point?

  79. Mark says:

    I agree.

    This was actually the most amicable and friendly game I have ever seen between the two sides.

    People helped each other get up and patted each other on the back.

    It was sort of weird to see such a professional encounter between these two rivals.

  80. EvertonBrian says:

    I think Torres has had ample enough looks in our starting XI. I’m okay with not seeing him in the national side ever again.

    On the flip side, I am always really impressed with Gomez’s workrate and ability to draw fouls, and get into good positions.

  81. 2tone says:

    uhm, I think it’s anti-torres. Which I agree Torres has never looked good for the USMNT, and it’s time people realise it.

  82. QuakerOtis says:

    Still riding high after this one, but I keep hearing the following: US 2 – 1 Mex @ Azteca during 1992 Olympic qualifying. I’ve done a few google searches… nothing except people in comment sections typing this stuff.

    So is there an asterisk on this “First Ever” win, or are these simply trolling comments?

  83. 2tone says:

    Agreed. I think Torres should be shelved. i have seen more from Freddy Adu’s pinky toe than I have ever seen from Torres for the National team.

    Klinsmann stated that Torres needed to have a good game last night, and Torres stunk it up once again. I think Klinsmann will be looking at other options from here on out.

  84. QuakerOtis says:

    And yeah, Olympic Qualifying and all, but a win would have been, well, a win, especially considering an Olympic qualifier might mean more than a friendly 2 years out from a WC. Just sayin.

  85. 2tone says:

    This is like Tores third game with the nats in teh past couple of months where most writers have stated. Wel Torres didn’t have a good game. How many more times do we and Klinsmann and the caoching staff need to seriously see of Torres?

  86. HoboMike says:

    I took the “absent last night” to mean not even there.

    Which can be said for either Bradley or Torres, I suppose.

  87. turdblossom says:

    +1

  88. turdblossom says:

    » Shea is better suited for a super sub role at this time, especially if we need to score.«

    Don’t we always need to score?

  89. Dinho says:

    Great:
    Cameron, Howard

    Good:
    Johnson, Fiscal (for the goal), Shea, Boyd

    Ok:
    Beckerman, Edu, Castillo (1st half), Gomez, Donovan (thought he was dangerous with the ball), Beasley

    Needs Work:
    Torres, Jones, Williams

    Unrated:
    Zusi, Corona

  90. hogatroge says:

    Er, you mean “p*to”

  91. hogatroge says:

    His throw in started the whole sequence, so he followed along behind. Looks genius now!

  92. hogatroge says:

    False… it’s a laser pointer from the stands.

    For some reason, however, the fans were shining it on their own players, too.

    They were definitely aiming for Howard’s eyes though.

  93. hogatroge says:

    Beasley had two good stints of possession, but not the best night overall.

    Still, seeing his emotional reaction to the win was priceless.

  94. hogatroge says:

    Sorry, bud. Nothing about that win was “flukey.”

    Let’s not forget that Howard is a member of the team too, and his contributions count.

    The U.S. scored off of a definite passing sequence, not a Mexico OG or a PK. Mexico couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

    End of story.

  95. hogatroge says:

    Edu is too good for the 2.Bundesliga.

  96. hogatroge says:

    That’s what happens when you have classier players like Guardado and Ochoa play and leave scumbags like Torrado off the squad.

  97. hogatroge says:

    Beckerman needs a bump.

    Jones had an off night… he needs fitness, not improvement of his skill set.

  98. Mike r says:

    You could pencil in Cameron as a starter too bad his club wants to put him In mid. I’m afraid he’ll just be ok like Spector in the Mid. Edu could be there if he ends up at Valencia as a cb. His passing is not as good as Reams but his defense is better than Ream despite not playing there. Shea is also a great option off the bench. A 6 foot plus attacker running at you with good pace is never good for defenders with tired legs.
    However almost time to end the Torres, Williams, And Castillo experiments

  99. Mike r says:

    Was it emotion or was he hurt

  100. Jb says:

    Thought beckerman was great last night. Again. Only Bradley can play that position better, and even then not as consistently. I have never understood why people fail to see his importance. Keep ballin Kyle!

  101. Wondo fan says:

    Where’s Wondo? in all of this?

  102. Dennis says:

    Great win in a very tough place, but not pretty soccer. The USA used 3 defensive mids (or at least Beckerman, Jones and Williams all thought that was their role).

    The surprise with Fiscal’s goal was that he got forward ahead of the midfielders. It was a gamble by Fiscal when he saw Shea with the ball and it was clear that Shea was going to dribble in. Had Shea lost the ball, Fiscal was in no position to defend, going forward on what was just a hope was a decision that seemed to fly in the face of the conservative approach Klinsmann apparently had his backs taking. I’m glad Fiscal took the gamble. I did not see the positions the rest of the US took up and they might have been covering for Fiscal, but in all the excitement of the goal, I failed to notice.

  103. Dennis says:

    The USSF 2012 MNT Media Guide says the USA beat Mexico 2-1 to win the CONCACAF qualifying for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Mexico City. This was the first year the Olympics was a U-23 tournament.

    March 25, 1992 vs Mexico + @ Mexico City.: 2-1 Friedel Rast Lalas Lapper-1 Imler Burns Henderson-1 Reyna Jones (Allnutt) Washington Snow

  104. GW says:

    Don’t worry, you’ll be off the bandwagon soon enough. “Fans” like you always are.

  105. Old School says:

    …I think JK has figured that out. He gave him a shot, though…which is what a manager is supposed to do.

  106. GW says:

    Torres never got the ball.

    This was partly because of how the team was set up for the first 20-40 minutes. And when he did get the ball his options were extremely limited.

    You all should stop with the Bradley references. Bradley is an excellent coach but he did not invent defensive football. Every tactic he ever used was old and proven when he broke them out.

    He did not figure out that when you are away and playing a skilled side like Mexico you shut them down and try to not let them play too much and blow you out. Teams have been doing that for over 50 years. If you want a recent example just watch Manchester United.
    This was the most disciplined, controlled and entertaining performance I have seen from a JK US team.

  107. Shawn says:

    RLW:

    You’re confused for the same reason Mexico’s MF is still trying to figure out why he was unmarked.

    Interchange of positions between the Back and MF is normal on a throw-in. Mexico ‘ought’ to have marked Furcal. Failing to do so, he did the right thing and made them pay by going for the spot every player should be taught to look for ‘junk.’ The back post.

  108. Shawn says:

    True. But fans shooting lasers is grounds for fan-eviction. Gun-sights and all…

  109. Shawn says:

    Emotion. He said so after the match.

  110. dgoshilla says:

    Defensive strategy worked. This was Barcelona v Chelsea. It wasn’t pretty but that goal sure was. One of the glaring things for me was the SIZE of the US team. This had to be one of the biggest teams we’ve put out on the field. Usually the US is the smaller team on the field, particularly overseas. Glad to see Klinsman looking to some size to change things.

  111. Stan says:

    Mexico was not all that up after their Olympic success, the US played well, Howard played super, Chicarito messed up several chances and the US made one good play offensively that turned into a goal. Nice that they won one down there but Mexico clearly still has the better program.

  112. Shawn says:

    There was nothing “fluky” about that win. You beclown yourself with that term alone.

    A fluke would be if Mexico had dozens of Grade A chances that they somehow spurned, and the US converted their 1 and only chance all night.

    In truth, the US had a solid shout for a penalty in the opening minutes, and when they could go forward, made Mexico’s defense look shaky. Meanwhile, Mex had 0 quality chanced for all their possession. It was a spoiling game, but it was played to perfection.

    In the 2nd half, the best chance for Mexico before the goal was a missed FK, which was no closer than Beckerman’s sliding chip effort. Let me put this in context: for 84 minutes, in Azteca, *I* could’ve been the goalkeeper for the US, and the score would’ve been exactly the same.

    Howard made 2 good saves at the end–though I think he might’ve made the 1st harder on himself by overcommitting in the first place–the second was a thing of beauty w/o doubt. Until then, he was irrelevant. And you expect a quality keeper to make 1 or 2 good saves a match.

    The US goal, while not a thing of beauty, was an effective counter attack. There were no deflections or odd bounces. It was a clean shot, from short range, by an unmarked player, following two lovely bits of skill and a quality pass from Beckerman.

    So while it was a defensive shell of a game, there was nothing “lucky” about it. Mexico didn’t have enough quality chances to say they “deserved to win.” And the US executed their game plan effectively. Not stylish, but a beautiful result.

  113. JRP says:

    If you want to get technical it started when the ref blew his whistle after dropping the ball at the center point of the field.

  114. GW says:

    There is a lot of merit to what you say except for the parts where you are wrong.

    The recent Mexican dominance of the US began with the 2009 5-0 pasting in the Gold Cup final.

    Even though it was a Gold Cup final it was as meaningless as last night’s game. There was no Confederations Cup ticket attached to it. Also that was Mexico A versus US B but I don’t think the Mexican’s noticed. All they knew was that they massacred us in our house (admittedly it was in New Jersey but that is still the US).

    It also helps that Mexico have had their Golden Generation but Mexico has almost always had more talent than the US. But ever since that game the US senior team has gone into games with Mexico a little spooked.

    After last night that will change.

    We should be able to qualify for the World Cup even if we lose to Mexico twice but it is still a good idea to have a little something to hold over your biggest rival. It should also be noted that their talisman. Chicharito, had a snake bit night and it looks like his time at Man U is not going to be pleasant going forward. I happen to like him a lot and root for him when he is not facing us. He seems like a great guy but obviously the more out of form he is the better for the US.

    Also for JK it buys him a little time. The next time the US draws 0-0 with some alleged minnow the bloodlust howling will begin again but for now JK has some quiet time to do his job.

  115. GW says:

    What is your point?

  116. JRP says:

    So true. He is not the most skilled player but he is nearly the most consistent.

  117. GW says:

    How do you know an error was unforced?

    Maybe the manner in which the US set themselves up caused the Mexicans make a bad pass. Maybe they thought they saw something that was not there or maybe the target of the pass was so well covered he never got to the pass.

    Great defense, which the US played, is as much mental as physical.

  118. GW says:

    I disagree that the US goal was not a thing of beauty.

    It was well executed by everyone who had a hand in it, the only exception being that Fiscal kind of “shinned’ it in. But then again he showed such excellent instincts to be there in the first place, certainly better than the defender who should have picked him up. Intelligent play is beautiful.

  119. GW says:

    biff never misses a chance to take a shot at Bradley.

  120. GW says:

    The second you start thinking that way, that is when upsets start to become possible.
    Jamaica is perfectly capable of beating the US; never doubt that for a second.

  121. GW says:

    I didn’t realise Torres place depended on him winning some sort of election.

    He will play as long as JK wants him to.

  122. GW says:

    Cameron was great last night in part because Edu, his fellow defenders and his midfielders play such stifling defense that they did not need a lot of backup from Cameron.

    This allowed him to play “center field” to such great effect
    .
    Castillo has a very , very good night and earned a lot more call ups.

  123. GW says:

    Fiscal swtiched and someone( I never figured out who) was covering. Just can’t bear to let go of the notion that he sucks can you?

  124. Call Up Lichaj says:

    No, he is absolutely a RB first. He said in interviews that he much prefers playing RB and that they don’t require the same skills.

    Having said that, I think his dropoff from RB to LB is much less pronounced than Chandler’s.

  125. Call Up Lichaj says:

    …our best CM by a huge margin.

  126. Lost in Space says:

    Personally if all are healthy, in form, and willing I think the best possible lineup we could field would be something along these lines:
    —————Jozy/Boyd——————-
    ——Dempsey————–Donovn———-
    —-Jones——-Bradley——Holden——–
    -Johnson————————–Chandler-
    ————Boca——–Cameron————
    —————–Howard——————–

    Jozy & Boyd are about equal & fill a target role at the head of the spear
    Shea, Gyau, Adu as possible subs to Clint
    Gomez, Corona, Gatt as subs for Donovan
    F. Johnson, Williams, Torres subs for Jones
    Edu, Williams as subs for Bradley
    Williams, F. Johnson, Zusi subs for Holden
    Lichaj, Castillo subs for F. Johnson
    Lichaj, Dolo subs for Chandler
    Ream, Edu, Hines subs for Boca
    Goodson, Edu, Gonzalez subs for Cameron
    Guzan, TBD subs for Howard
    Depending on availability, and health IMO this represents the top 30 US players and where/how they could be used. These 30 give great flexability and cover…giveing leadership/experience while grooming the next generation.

  127. Tonyt says:

    If Dos Santos would have played, game over for US. Just saying.. no matter who the US has playing in the game Gio makes a huge impact just as Barcelona is not the same power without Messi, same goes for Mexico. I know truth hurts… either way great win for us. And for all the people that read too much into my comments…no I’m not saying Gio is as good as Messi…. haters!

  128. Lost in Spac says:

    Back in San Jose…wishing he was good enough to play internationally.

  129. beachbum says:

    Torres got the ball plenty, and lost it often

    I respect that you are a defender of the team at all costs, but your lack of accuracy in reporting does no one any good

    as for Bradley, the reason people bring him up is because the USA would play like this with tactics like we saw last night, win, and then he’d get run over because of the tactics his team used to win. Do you understand now?

    it’s interesting because JK uses these similar tactics, wins, and he’s praised (as he should be) but Bradley basically got screwed and thrown under ALL THE TIME because of the same things

  130. beachbum says:

    Love Tim Howard being on our side!!!

  131. beachbum says:

    no sh i t Sherlock…good grief

  132. beachbum says:

    wow, he didn’t say that at all.

  133. Shawn says:

    GW,

    I was referencing the sloppy finish by saying it wasn’t a thing of beauty. I did say the build-up was lovely. And I agree, his instincts were superb. He recognized he was unmarked and went precisely where a player should, far post, as far forward as the defense lets you.

  134. Shawn says:

    We’ll see. Santos has been up and down vs the US. I think his status as a ‘killer’ is overrated. I won’t be surprised if he’s invisible in the next installment of the “Cold War” to be sure. Azteca might be different. Or maybe the US starts playing like they know they can win there every match from now on.

    Does Dos Santos, in himself, counter 45mins w/o Donovan, no Dempsey, no M. Bradley (who’s scored big goals vs Mexico as well), AND no Altidore? I don’t even buy Mr Messi would count THAT much.

    So frankly, I don’t give a rip about Gio not playing. Mexico was trumpeting their virtual full-strength side going into the friendly. They can suck it up. Their holy sanctum has been defiled, for good and all.

  135. GW says:

    “as for Bradley, the reason people bring him up is because the USA would play like this with tactics like we saw last night, win, and then he’d get run over because of the tactics his team used to win. Do you understand now?”

    Not really. Your explantion does not seem to square with the facts.

    He’d get run over when his team used those tactics and it lost or drew or did not look good.

    The tactics last night were essentially the same tactics Bradley used against Spain in the US’ 2-0 victory. And he was praised for that. Switzerland used the same tactics to beat Spain in the World Cup and credited Bradley for the inspiration. And it is said that Mourinho modeled Inter’s victory over Barca in the Champion’s League on the US tactics.

    I don’t know about that as, like I said, these tactics preceded Bradley by quite a few years.

    I will say that after a certain point, I don’t know when,it did not matter what Bradley did US fans, blasted him.

    Oh,and I’m not a defender of the team at all costs. I just respond to what people post. If it doesn’t make sense I respond to that. That is simple enough to do.

    It is hard if not impossible to defend the team since in 95% of the cases, if not more, I have no real information on why they did a particular action.

    But an illogical post? That is simple enough to deal with.

  136. GW says:

    Was it Snoopy or Charlie Brown who used to say that?

  137. GW says:

    Well bbum, it’s called reading between the lines. Now I may be wrong and if so perhaps Dennis will find it somewhere in his heart to forgive me.

    However, Fiscal has been completely and viscerally savaged by most everyone on this board before last night.

    He has been awarded Bornstien status and prior to last night,for most of you, Fiscal was about as welcome on the USMNT as Michael Vick at a dog show.

    So again, maybe Dennis wasn’t one of those hypocrites and if so I apologise to him but I always find the band wagon jumping a little stomach churning.

  138. GW says:

    Good thing Gio didn’t play then.

    You kind of wonder how long he can keep this indifferent club form, great national form up though.

  139. biff says:

    Thanks, NE Matt. Glad you agree.

    And, GW, why do you always get so excited? What I am intimating is not a put down of anyone, it’s just a fact. I have seen times in the past when another midfielder has made a similar type pass and a contingent of fans were gushing. Beckerman does it and is ignored. That’s my point, not a put down. Yes, I respect Beckerman and I think he is treated unfairly by some US fans, particularly those who are strong supporters of his competition for a spot on the team. I made my original statement to NE Matt only because I think Beckerman should receive recognition for his role in that play, which will be legend forever. I think your response is silly and is a indication of a an almost pathological fixation on your end and a total inability to be objective when it come to that player. Get a grip, buddy. Lighten up.

  140. ChrisDeNY says:

    Potato? The starch food that dare not say its name?

  141. beachbum says:

    we disagree. I rely on facts man, especially regarding Bradley

    anyway, the destroyer role Coach Klinsmann uses is a difference from before, and the improved passing on the counter is beautiful…it’s a continuing work from a theme from before, as you mention

    Greatest thing in my mind yet has been the ride Coach has taken too better learn the players and tactics best suited to each. He’s adjusted his selections and tactics, tried things that worked and others that didn’t (normal) and I think we’ll see another one of these with Torres. I don’t know that of course, but Coach has been force feeding that advanced mid role to him and there’s lots of evidence to suggest Coach will adjust his beliefs once again.

    Basically I’m digging Klinsmann’s ego…not some barrier we’ve heard about but instead a solid foundation that allows him to evolve

    to me, if one is missing these things as they are happening one is missing the current ride!

    as always, it’s cool to discuss these things with passionate fans like yourself

  142. LoS... says:

    Sure buddy. Relax; everyone has a right to lose one at home. At least every 80 years. Its not like you just won the Olympics.

  143. beachbum says:

    you insert between the lines…very different than reading between them. please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself

  144. beachbum says:

    the criticisms Fiscal received were earned…he hadn’t played so well. that’s not saying he’s a poor player

    ALL coaches have players they believe in and a player can take much confidence from that continued belief. Good for Fiscal! it doesn’t discount that he earned the criticisms from before whether you understand that or not

  145. Gil says:

    Dos Santos wasn’t playing

  146. Marc says:

    Conacaf players never seem to get their fair shake in Europe. We all know Gio is a baller. This guy should be getting minutes somewhere.