JOHN KRETLOW - Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The US National Team stood tall in a dramatic and historic scoreless draw at the Estadio Azteca against their rivals Mexico.
Despite Mexico dominating possession throughout the match, a makeshift US defense, lead by Omar Gonzales and Matt Besler, stood tall in Mexico City.
The first half saw Mexico nearly get on the board with big opportunities from Chicharito Hernandez. In the 21st minute Javier Aquino sent in a cross that the Manchester United man was unable to keep low on a header.
Then in the 29th minute Jorge Torres Nilo stormed into the US final third and sent in a roaring cross that found a streaking Chicharito. The forward was first to the ball but his header again went over Guzan's goal.
Regardless of Mexico's pressure, the US came close to scoring in the 39th minute. Combination play between Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley nearly saw the Roma midfielder sneak a shot from close range, but a late tackle from Torres Nilo saved the day for the home team.
A key moment of the game came in the 76th minute as Mexico's Aquino was tackled from behind in front of goal by Maurice Edu. Despite Mexico's protest, the referee did not call the penalty kick.
Giovani Dos Santos came close to a spectacular goal in the 82nd minute, but the Mallorca man's rocket veered just wide of Guzan's goal.
The final minutes were frantic for the US defense and Guzan, as Mexico poured men to the final third. The Aston Villa ‘keeper however came up with big saves to keep Mexico from the board.
With four points in their last two games, the US is in third place in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. They take on Jamaica in June in their next qualifier on the road.
The draw was only the second result in World Cup Qualifying history where the US did not lose to Mexico on the road.