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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT top Mexico to pick up historic first win at Azteca

USMNT Mexico (Getty Images)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Mexico had lost just eight times in 119 matches at Estadio Azteca and never against the U.S. men's national team heading into their friendly on Wednesday night. But thanks to some disciplined defending, key saves and an opportunitic goal, the Americans changed all that en route to making history.

The United States grabbed its first win inside of the famed Estadio Azteca on Wednesday, beating its southern rivals, 1-0, thanks to a late second half goal from substitute Michael Orozco. The victory was not only the first for the Americans at the soccer cathedral, but also on Mexico soil, having gone 0-23-1 prior to the latest match in the heated rivalry.

While Orozco's 80th-minute goal, his first at the international level, was the difference, the Americans would not have won had it not been for their gritty defending and a pair of late stops by goalkeeper Tim Howard. The United States netminder spectacularly denied Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez on two potential equalizing chances, giving the U.S. team a confidence-boosting win that has been 75 years in the making.

Orozco netted the winner three minutes after entering the game on a play that a trio of American substitutes combined in. Brek Shea beat a Mexican defender down the left side before hitting a low cross to the middle of the penalty area to Terrence Boyd. Boyd trapped the ball and ensued by hitting a heeled pass to Orozco, who stabbed home from close range to stun the less-than-full Estadio Azteca.

Playing without some of their top players, the Americans had kept the game scoreless to that point due to some dogged defending from Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu, who started alongside one another in central defense despite lacking experience as centerbacks. The duo also benefitted from some timely interventions from Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones, who ran tirelessly as Mexico sent in attack after attack for much of the match.

The hosts, who were also without some of their regulars, dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes and had chances to go ahead in the second half. But Hernandez failed to put away some decent looks, including on an open header in the second half.

That opened the door for Jurgen Klinsmann's team to do the unthinkable and take a lead that they would not relinquish, sending El Tri and their fans with their first taste of defeat in the past five games of the North American rivalry. Klinsmann, who debuted as U.S. head coach against Mexico last August, is now 1-0-1 against the Mexicans.

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What do you think of the United States' 1-0 win over El Tri? Who was your Man of the Match? How much confidence does this give the Americans going forward?

Share your thoughts below.

274 comments
  • B

    Agree about Beckerman. I only caught the second half of the game last night, but every time the US had a good spell of possession, he was integral. His distribution, overall, was great last night.

    Like

  • KlausG

    Take a look at the highlights.
    Cameron was responsible for ALL but one of Mexico’s chances in the second half.

    Cameron was 9.5/10 in the first half and a 5/10 in the second half.

    The storyline changes DRAMATICALLY if Howard wasn’t such a stud.

    Take off the blinders

    Like

  • KlausG

    1. 5 forward passes in 90min.
    2. he WAS out of position and/or misplayed balls leading to Mexico’s chances despite whatever Beasly or any of his teammates did seconds or minutes prior

    Playing 45min of great soccer followed by 45min of meh soccer isn’t impressive to me. I understand that those of you that celebrate mediocrity have a different opinion.

    Like

  • Bag o' uran

    Shea played inspired and relaxed. good job.
    JK should have taken Pontius over Williams.
    He did not have a good game, and hasn’t performed very well for the US ever. He needs some more seasoning and Pontius has earned some camp time.

    Like

  • Bag o' uran

    Beckerman played his most complete game for US. he’s not taking anyone’s starting spot, but he proved his worth. ie, not worthless.

    Good Job, Beckerman.

    Leave it at that.

    Like

  • THomas

    I kind of see what JK is doing now, and I realised it at the end of a game we were dominated in, but ultimately one.

    He’s not trying to completely change the USA way. He’s merely trying to improve upon it. This was the greatest example. Yes we will try to play it out of the back and press high up the field defensively and yes we can do that against mid-level teams and yes we will ultinately be able to do that agains the best teams.

    However, when all else fails, we still have that rosolute, never say die, fight until the end spirit that will pick up wins when we’re outmatched. I can see it now and I can’t wait to see it in Brazil 2014

    Like

  • ben in el cajon

    I think Mexico had gotten complacent in their victory. We probably did their coach a favor. Now they’ll remember that winning everything in North America isn’t their birthright.

    Like

  • ben in el cajon

    God yes. At times I thought we had a contract with a Dutch athletics equipment company because it looked like we were wearing wooden shoes.

    Like

  • bag o' uran

    what about “entertaining game”?

    Entertaining, not like Brazil Argentina, but like Bum Fights, Vol.4.

    Like

  • Kryptonite

    Not worried Mex had the run of play. Mex would have more possession than Germany head-to-head, but Germany would win 9 out of 10 times.

    Chicharito missed one easy goal o/w he was stoned. There were no passing lanes into the box for Mex, and Mex had to settle for aimless crosses to no one. The end score should have been USA 2-1 (Chicharito gaffe and Gomez wild shot that should have been a cross to an uncontested Boyd who is clinical). Lot of poor play by Mex relates to frustration.

    Overall a solid match for USA when not sporting Demsey and Bradley. Hoping that Castillo continues improving by leaps and bounds or Lichaj can step in with Timothy Chandler rejoining the US at RB as the midfield needs Johnson, Bradley, and Holden badly.

    Like

  • TomG

    Klinsi’s goal isn’t to improve finishing. That’s not something a USMNT coach has much of an affect on. That’s an individual skill. Klinsi’s big picture goal is to play a more fluid, one-touch passing style with the team moving as a whole and dominating possession and scoring opportunities.

    Like

  • TomG

    I hear what you’re saying, but with that roster, the pragmatic approach was to play the way we did. That was really our only chance to win. The Mexicans brought much more of an A roster than we did.

    Like

  • bryan

    you are dumb dude. i’m not even a Beckerman supporter but he was good last night. nothing more to say. you were just blind.

    Like

  • beachbum

    I saw what yiou saw Klaus, and respect your reporting going forward. Cameron played some excellent ball btw, but he was imperfect as you state. He played well though

    Like

  • beachbum

    he was!!! All of the reports we heard about Barrera struggling were true, and Castillo helped keep that genie in the bottle. Great shift from him, my MotM. His play allowed Johnson to man the right back spot and blunt Guardado, which he did very well whereas if Castillo had struggled, who knows what Coach would have been forced to do

    Like

  • beachbum

    his was the surprise performance to me, the difference maker; Mexico wanted to attack him, tried, and basically failed. Huge matchup win for the US that most of us didn;t see coming

    Yeah baby!!!

    Like

  • beachbum

    I was there too! Crazy weather made for the perfect atmosphere. That game was AWESOME

    Like

  • Cory

    You have to realize that this Mexican team was very diluted, as a matter of fact I read in another story that 4 players are bench players in their respective teams, but the the Mexican coach wanted to try them out, and still dominated us in the game. I think the real test will be when Mexico comes at us with a full squad with all their stars.

    Like

  • Reil

    Not really, this Mexican team was put together 1 week before the game, many of the players are bench in their teams. The Mexican coach wanted to give some other players he thinks have potential a chance, but according to a report on univision.com, Mexico didn’t field 9 of their star players, with the exception to Chicharito and 2 other players, the rest of the team were fairly new, 4 of them were 18 yr olds and was their first appearance on the Mexican national team.

    Like

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