Over the years, the USMNT has accumulated a deplorable 0-23-1 record against Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
On Wednesday night, the USMNT finally broke the curse, earning a 1-0 victory.
Here are six thoughts from the historic win.
Geoff Cameron had his best night yet in a U.S. jersey
While Geoff Cameron was a little dicey in the first 20 minutes of the game trying to deal with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Cameron settled in to put together a very solid game.
Cameron’s height and ability in the air were key to the U.S.’ effort all night long as he cleared service after service out of the U.S. box.
What’s more is that on multiple occasions Cameron worked the ball out of the U.S. defensive third while under heavy pressure.
This kind of center back, who can do the job both defensively and in possession, is something the USMNT has been looking for for years.
Edgar Castillo was much better than in his previous USMNT appearances
Although Castillo was beat early on on the wing resulting in an early chance for Mexico and he also had a very bad giveaway early in the second half, overall, Castillo’s performance was much better than his other outings for the Nats.
Castillo did well to keep the Mexican attack in front of him and came up with a number of key tackles out wide to stifle El Tri.
Tim Howard was huge late in the game
Once again, much of the credit for another USMNT win has to go to Timmy Howard.
Howard was big coming up with a number of punches on services into his box and made two game-saving stops in the dying minutes, one on a deflected shot and another on an open header.
Danny Williams was unimpressive as a wide midfielder, again
Williams, who plays his club ball as a defensive midfielder, was ineffective, yet again, on the right flank.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has played Williams on the right on a number of occasions, but Williams has yet to put in a worthwhile shift there. He is bereft of attacking ideas and contributes little at that position.
Thank God the Mexicans didn’t put their best foot forward
Many things went the USMNT’s way Wednesday night.
First, the Azteca was barely half-full, mitigating the oppressive noise visiting teams usually struggle with.
Second, pollution in Mexico City is not as bad as it used to be, mitigating the Mexican team’s usual double advantage of playing in a city at altitude with horrible air.
Third, the Mexican attack was missing the bite it has had over the past year. Chicharito, in particular, had a horrible game. He missed chance after chance after chance, he failed to get on the end of multiple services, and even lost the ball on multiple occasions with a poor first touch.
Brek Shea is the USMNT’s Mexico killer
Shortly after coming into the match, Brek Shea, who has endured a nightmarish season for FC Dallas, was the difference maker.
With a nice little touch around, Shea’s hard endline run set-up the game-winner in a very similar fashion to his run and service in last August’s friendly, also against Mexico and also coming into the game off the bench.
John D. Halloran