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USMNT edges Mexico as youngsters shine


Tuesday night was filled with emotion in Nashville, as the U.S. Men’s National Team faced Mexico in the latest edition of Concacaf’s biggest rivalry. Not only was the USMNT facing their arch rival, it was on the anniversary of one of the worst attacks ever on American soil.

The US men took the field hoping to do their country proud, and that they did as they beat El Tri 1-0, thanks to the magnificent play of New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams.

The game got off to a bit of a slow start as the USA managed just one shot in the first ten minutes in the form of a Gyasi Zardes header over the bar. Shortly there after Mexico seemed to settle into the game and began to assert themselves in the attack, earning set pieces deep in USA territory. El Tri’s best chance of the first half was a corner kick in the 16th minute where Edson Álvarez redirected the ball on frame, but US goalkeeper Zack Steffen reacted just in time to push the header above the cross bar and out of danger.

Steffen almost made a grave error in the 32nd minute when he nearly handled the ball outside his box, but the Columbus Crew goalkeeper was able to just release the ball before it crossed the line in its entirety, saving what would have been a costly mistake.

Mexico nearly struck once again in the 37th minute when Diego Lainez made Wil Trapp stumble in the box and sent in a cross to Roberto Alvarado, who poked the ball toward goal. Steffen dove to his right and grabbed the slow rolling ball to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.

The back and forth continued into the second half with neither team getting a clear opportunity on goal, but the game took a stark turn in the 67th minute when Ángel Zaldívar went studs up into Wil Trapp on a hard challenge, earning a straight red card.

The USMNT seemed to have a renewed sense of energy after the red card, leading them to push numbers forward in an effort to get the go-ahead goal.

Just four minutes after Zaldívar was sent off, Tyler Adams broke through for the USMNT with his first national team goal. Antonee Robinson sent in a low cross on the ground that found Adams off a 35-yard run from the midfield who put the ball into the net to give the US a 1-0 lead.

While Mexico continued to push for an equalizer, the 10-man side never could break through the USMNT defense, and the Stars and Stripes went on to earn their 19th overall win against their southern rivals.


  1. I cant understate how big of an opportunity USSF is wasting by waiting this long to put a full time head coach in place. Kuddos to Sarachan for starting the youth movement but its all too clear that he is not implementing the right formations and has no clue what the best line-up is. Let the full time coach start putting his stamp/style in play. Whats the plan? Wait till after the great line-up of friendlies, give him January camp with no euro based players and then 2 games before the Gold Cup to get everyone on the same page?
    This team needs an AM or a #10 and Green seems most suited/capable with the current pool. He absolutely changed the game when he came on. We had at least 3 shots on goal in the 5 minutes to end the 1st half, not to mention the better movement in the 2nd. Hard to judge much after the red card but it was better.
    Lichaj was awful and it really had nothing to do with playing out of position. Too many speculative long balls off target, nothing going forward.
    Will Trapp is a serviceable back-up but not as a solo holding midfielder and i just dont understand the thinking in him being an auto starter, captain and 90 min guy every game. So what if hes mature. It seems all weve really accomplished was replace MB with MB v2. 2 of Adams/Acosta/McKennie/williams should play in that spot let Green or Pulisic (if we find a RW) play in front of them.
    Zardes offered absolutely nothing to the game other than some headers won that ended up at the feet ofthe Mexico defense.
    Serious question…when was the last time a US forward got ruled offsides for even attempting a diagnal run through the defense? Do they know thats ok to try???

    • I can wrap my head around everything you said except the Zardes part, he was one of our better, more consistant players on the night, a night where he got no service. When he did get the ball in good spots he connected with the midfield and he was the only one making dangerous runs in the box, creating he 3-4 chances on goal. Zardes looks like the best forward in the pool right now, and that may not be saying much but he deserves more call ups

      • All of our players have enough issues that if you look for any of them to make mistakes and that’s all you are looking for that’s what you see. Likewise, if they like a player they overlook all the errors in their game.

  2. It is pure delusion to think that we will have any success in this upcoming cycle if our senior midfield pool is actually a handful of 6’s and one 8. I really hope the tide is turning in how we foster the development of the often late-blooming creative kind of players needed to link a rather competent back line/ defensive midfield to a pedestrian but serviceable winger/striker group. I know this is repetitive, I get it, but we still put too high a premium on the physical and not enough on the technical; our relative age and size bias that is pervasive in our youth system comes back to bite us in the @ss every WC cycle, as our failure to play thru the middle ensures failure once we meet that team that can match our athleticism on the outside. Some of you think this is changing, but I don’t see it, at least to any meaningful degree. Look at last night. Tyler passes muster and is a decent box-to-box 8, but his kind of play needs others to play with and through. Julian Green is decent, but he didn’t evolve in our youth system.

  3. I can’t see why the headline is making this win sound like we dominated….we didn’t….the line up that sarachan put of there was crap….lichaj can no longer be a LB at the international level…acosta is not a winger…zardes is not a target forward….

    if it weren’t for the injury, he never would’ve made the changes that were needed…once we had 2 in front of the defense, it was a bit better…green provided a bit of the creativity that was needed (not saying he is a #10, just what the game needed at that point), novakovich should’ve been the target and zardes shouldve been on the left wing to cover for lichaj…i think robinson should’ve started but maybe sarachan wanted to save him for club minutes (not the right thing to do but oh well), acosta should’ve been in the middle with adams and trapp on the bench….

    mexico ran roughshod in the first half….they had no fear….they lost their composure and so we won…but if mckennie doesn’t get hurt, we lose the game….(not rooting for the injury but it forced the change)….

    sarachan needs to be out asap…he is not a good coach….if he were so good, mls teams would’ve had him on their short lists after last season….he was not….the time that it is taking to get a coach means the coach is from mls……not sure that’s the best option…..but oh well….

    done ranting…..

    • Zardes’days as a winger are over, and for good reason. Novakovich clearly didnt show well in camp or he would have played, and lets stop trying to pigeonhole players to a certain position. I said it once amd ill say it again, if the midfield continues to turn the ball over and is unable to sustain possession or create presaure on the opposing team, it wont matter who is at ST.

  4. I will always love a match where we beat Mexico. My whole problem with the entire evening is listening to Taylor Twellman rant about everything. He continues to rant about the forward pool not being able to produce at the international level when he is the poster child for this! Continual rants about not having a coach yet. He needs to calm down!

    • He has a point, though. I diagnosed a few months back that we are in transition at forward. Dempsey and Wondo are gone, and Jozy will be 32 end of this cycle. Wood is off the boil. Sargent is a kid. Green may be needed elsewhere. Novakovich didn’t see the field this set. Who are the forwards this cycle? I think we’ve been spoiled.

      • This isn’t a completely dissimilar time for the #9 position from the 07-08 time period. We were in the Post-McBride era. Jozy was seen as the heir apparent (much like Sarg now) but not quite ready. Eddie Johnson had basically fallen off the map in this period and we settled mainly for a target man/grinder in Brian Ching. He did an effective job in that role until Jozy matured and Charlie Davies emerged.
        I think Bobby Wood could play a decent Ching-like workhorse role, but we do not have 2-3 other guys to support him in the attack outside of Pulisic. We had Deuce and Landon, Beasley and Feilhaber who could provide solid midfield options at that time.
        Perhaps 2-3 years from now some of our younger attackers develop, but were going to continue to see a blunt attack from us for the next 18 months or so I would guess.

    • Not only was Twellman right about our forwards, or lack thereof, I think he and Hercules Gomez were right to question the delay in hiring a new coach. There’s really no excuse to wait for a year or more to name a new coach. I thought we should have picked one last March, which I’m sure people will critique. Certainly if you were going to pick an MLS coach, as looks likely now, there was no reason to take this long. This is a crucial period in the national team’s development and , while Sarachan has done a good job as interim coach, we need the permanent coach in their to establish his style and decide on who plays where and in what formation. It’s not all that long unt6il qualifying begins and, given the hole we have to climb out of, wasting a year is not something the US can afford.

      • The problem comes from the hiring of the GM for the MNT. Everyone has screamed for years that there should be someone between US Soccer and the USMNT to manage the coach and help with player identification. You cant hire a coach before you hire the person responsible for hiring him? We are not under the pressure of qualification starting so why rush? The young players are getting a run out just like we all want. Allow the process to work. As it pertains to the forwards we have 2+ years until qualification heats up. Players like Sargent, Siebatcheu, Soto, etc have a chance to develop. You never know who will step up.

  5. I would like to see Novakovich start, but Novakovich was on the bench (what a waste).
    Zardes, is more CONCACAF level or C level team player.
    Moore was OK.
    Lichaj sucks in defending!
    Robinson was good at this level but improve Robinson leave English Second Div for Top Euro league (like Serie A, Lique1 , La Liga etc…)

    • Its a shame Novakovich didnt get a single minute.

      Lichaj may not be the best wingback we have, but he was also set up for failure being placed on the left side with little help defensively by Weah.

    • I thought it was a waste of time to call him up and not play him. However, I would have looked elsewhere instead. He’s scored in club, so what, start doing it for the USA. There is a long history of Twellmans and EJs and so forth who were club scorers but not international strikers.

      To be fair, same thing could be said of Zardes or a lot of the forward pool. The ones who produce in the national shirt will emerge.

      • You are right that there are guys out there who perform for their club usually MLS and they aren’t good enough to score in international play, but name me someone who doesn’t produce for their club and has for the national team?

      • jr: I don’t know if there are many Americans but Carlos Costly, who had a pitstop for my Dynamo, has like 32 international goals for Honduras (7 in qualifiers, including 1 on the USA) but if you count his club goals, not much more in 15 club years.

  6. Hey guess what? We beat those bums from down south again! and it was awesome! Unfortunately the bs brigade on this site is too busy apportioning who was “right” about what, and making sure they are on record about how this might impact the long term prospects of Dave Sarachan.
    Way to lose the plot, queeftards!!!!! Keep imagining that Anybidy cares!!!!

    • They looked horrific in the first half, and for all the momentum shift later on, I think the first half needs to be remembered if his application is being considered on the pile. You do that in a qualifier and an A team scores on you once or twice. And that to me was formation, selection, and tactics.

      • If he’s being considered sure, but I haven’t heard or seen anything to suggest he’s being considered. From what the announcers have been saying Dave doesn’t even think he has a chance.

      • jr: are you like going around posting negative thoughts on my posts for kicks. In terms of reality, “Stewart said that he would talk to Sarachan, whose contract as interim manager expires at the end of the year, but didn’t promise an interview.”

  7. It became pretty obvious in this one that Dave has switched over to managing to try and get the job. That explains waiting ’til after the 80th to make subs 3, 4, 5 and 6…and bringing on the vet Wood instead of Novakovich. Why are we calling him in if he’s not gonna get a look in a camp where we were shorthanded on forwards to begin with. What a waste. Thought the Green substitution (brought energy to stagnant offense) and Miazga taunting/immediate red card right after were the turning points of the match.

    • I don’t want him as the USMNT coach but I do think he has done a decent job as an interim and I hope he gets a chance to be a head coach for a low level mls team after we hire our real coach. Twellman mentioned Tata as a potential coach who I love but I worry if we actually have the attacking talent to implement his style of play.

      • I respect the adjustments he made during the second half. He pushed Green forward and that opened up the passing options (not just square but forward passing options) That changed the game. Suddenly we were turning and going at goal.

    • Whoa! He “let it slip” that he might think he is good at his job. Scandalous! Do you guys all work at temp agencies or something? If sarachan didn’t think he deserved a look as the long-term solution after 10 months in charge, I’d recommend he commit suicide because he would be dead on the inside.

    • I’ve been saying this a while, it explains why his selections have blended people like Acosta and Lichaj, arguably repudiated by last cycle, with real experiments like Sargent. Last night I think he sent out veteran starters after a stalemate and completely misdiagnosed what the game needed. He put in a real lineup and the game pivoted. What is most telling to me is like the past two nitwits he was actually playing to win and yet misreading what was necessary to do it.

  8. The team spacing and tactics were off in the first half. There weren’t any penetrating runs or passes. There were a lot of hopeful balls to Gyasi looking for knock downs. We also had trouble getting pressure on them when they were in possession. Individual players were OK, but the team as a unit was disappointing.

    • He put out there way too many disruptors and underestimated the necessary finesse to get the ball possessed and downfield on the night. To be fair this has been a running theme of the US the past cycle or two, is going completely “clog.”

  9. I know the red card made a huge difference, but there is no denying that the huge change previous to that was Julian Green coming in to the game. Time after time the center backs and mids were able to play balls in to him without fear that he was going to lose it. It didn’t take long before the Mexican defenders had to respect him and give him some space.

    Ten minutes in to the second half I was asking myself how he’s not a lock starter, but then, to Gary’s point below, he was getting in to dangerous positions but nothing was coming of it. Rather than being to slow to act, though, I believe it was more of a case of trying to make an extra touch to get in to a better position and just not being good enough to pull it off. He did misread a couple of situations where I thought he could’ve played through balls to Zardes and Wood as well. You have to think that maybe this is why he just hasn’t been able to stick in the Bundesliga because he just isn’t consistent enough. He also needs a better motor. Maybe Ancelotti was right and striker is his best position. It seemed like his first thought was was always to shoot.

  10. I don’t understand why Novakovich wasn’t given a run out. Second, if we want to score, we don’t have any forwards who are good enough to score when they have no strike partner or any good attacking mids. As I wrote before the game, we really needed two up top. Hurry up Sargent. And we really need Pulisic to provide some lift to an anemic attack. Green is a puzzle. He would look good as we entered the Mexico third and then as he got around the box he was too slow to act and some promising attacks petered out.

  11. first, it must said that nobody “attacked” the usa on september 11, 2001. the wtc buildings were brought down in controlled demolitions (explosives were set inside the buildings and detonated in a sequence from top to bottom). the usa wanted war with iraq/iran/afganistan – had been unsuccessful with gas pipeline talks – and attacked itself and faslely blamed the arabs in order to start the war.

  12. Some random thoughts
    -The midfield before Green came on had no idea of how to possess and move the ball. Can McKinnie get there, I think so but the idea that he is ready to do that now is pretty clearly false.
    -Trapp was poor, but he got little help from the four in the midfield who were quite literally standing still and watching for most of the first half. Started reading the game much better in the 2nd half.
    -CCV was solid, maybe as solid as he’s been for US, but Brooks passing against Brazil was actually giving us a chance.
    -What’s with Nova that Wood got the cameo at the end?
    -Moore wasn’t picked on much, but he looked like a guy who has played most of his matches in the 4th division. His club has played two actual matches over the break, so hopefully, he can get his situation with the transfer ironed out so he can get some time there.
    -Taylor and Ian kept saying we need some vets to show the young guys how to get open and hold possession, but when we played poorly in the last cycle it was because our midfield was stagnant and unable to connect, much like the first half.
    -The Miazga teasing Lainez will be one of those images in the prematch marketing for USvsMexico for years to come.

    • Trapp was a non factor last night who has not impressed me in the “world class” contests so far. I also question some of the premise of how many players like him we need on the field at any one time, and whether he would be the best option as the 6.

      Personally I felt like the mistake was simply not enough offense on the field to start, that you can’t string a bunch of legbreakers in the midfield and expect much. However I am going to be curious which older players mix in with this bunch, at least as subs if not more.

      We beat Mexico and lost to Brazil. We allowed 0 goals to Mexico and 2 to Brazil. What I remember from Brazil was the guy who earned the PK was about to split Trapp and Brooks.
      One might consider that in trying to elevate passing backs over defenders.

      • I think people get too caught in the 6 has to be a DeJong type player. Sane for France is not an enforcer, obviously more athletic and technical than Trapp by 1000 percent. Julian Wiegl is similar for Dortmund when they used the 4-1-4-1, read the game, distribute the ball, break up plays. Acosta, McKinnie, and Adams are all more athletic, but they are more impulsive and put themselves out of position, which leads to good things at times, but could be a critical mistake as the 6 in the 4-1-4-1. Trapp is plenty good enough against Concacaf including Mexico, but you right he isn’t going to help us beat Brazil, but none of our 6/8 hybrid players are. The next manager will have their own system, they may not use a 4-1-4-1 so Trapp should be evaluated by them at that point.

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