USMNT Earns Historic Win over Mexico at the Estadio Azteca

August 15, 2012

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

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9 Responses to USMNT Earns Historic Win over Mexico at the Estadio Azteca

  1. DE Dupuis on August 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    OK, it was a whole lot of fun to win. We had most of my son’s varsity soccer team over to watch with something called Mexican pizza, which always makes a game somewhat of an occasion – usually we only have such a crowd for a Classico.

    The game reminded me a whole lot of the Italian game, except that the Italians looked more dangerous. Basically we were very much outplayed, and more or less parked the bus – which completely seemed the thing to do under the circumstances. And thank goodness the Mexicans looked completely stale.

    To your well made points I would add two things. One, the talent pool is deeper than we thought. Even though we kept changing to new players we didn’t fall apart – far from it. Some of these guys are going to be keepers – maybe JK knew what he was doing after all.

    Second, lets not get carried away with the victory, we won the game with one of 2 or 3 possible attempts going in and having almost the entire rest of the game played in our half. So the victory was good news but not great news.

    • John D. Halloran on August 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

      Our possession was awful. 66%-34% was the ratio with Mexico having 490 passes to our 248.

      I know you hate this, but we seemed to play better when we went to a 4-4-2.

      I would say we had two chances. One off the service from Torres early in the 1st half and the game-winner. That’s it.

  2. Bud on August 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Were any of your pregame roster questions answered by the play on the field; or, alternatively, were any of them reinforced?

    • John D. Halloran on August 16, 2012 at 7:33 am

      I was really happy to see Cameron have a good game. He has struggled in a number of his other USMNT appearances. For me, Edu is still not a center back, despite the shutout. Too many times players got away from him for dangerous chances. I still like Fabian Johnson on the left, he gives the team a lot going forward. He didn’t do that at all when played on the right. I thought Jones, Williams and Beckerman in the middle left a lot to be desired. Having Bradley surely would have helped, but I am not sold on the three that played. Jones has one good game, then two or three “eh” games in a row. He needs to be good consistently, or at least more consistently. I would still like to see Williams as the defensive mid instead of wide where he is lost. If someone could play d-mid, it would allow Bradley and/or Torres to play through the middle up and back which could be very dangerous. I don’t understand why Beckerman gets called up. I am not a fan. I was glad to see Shea provide the spark, but he seems to be MUCH more effective off the bench than as a starter and is still immature as evidenced by his problems at FC Dallas this year. Beasley should not be called up again. He falls down if he is running into a stiff breeze and he gave away possession A LOT last night.

    • John D. Halloran on August 16, 2012 at 7:34 am

      I am very happy for the win, but I think this game was more about Mexico playing poorly then us playing well.

  3. Alan Brommel on August 16, 2012 at 6:40 am

    It was an amazing win considering how bad we played. I think Beckerman is color blind as half his passes were to the green team, Castillo got beat many times on the wing, I’m not sure what Jones brought to the game if anything, unfortunately Torres was non-existent. The second half subs however did bring new life to the game and took care of business. So glad to see Cameron have a great game in the back.

    • John D. Halloran on August 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

      100% agree about being outmatched and how bad Beckerman is and how Jones is just so-so. Torres is beginning to get to that point where he needs a good game. He started out great this summer, then faded as the matches went on. He can be very, very good, then goes games where he is not involved at all.

      Very happy about Cameron.

      • DE Dupuis on August 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

        I thought Cameron was going to have a very bad night when early on he flailed at a through ball that sweet pea just didn’t quite get to – however the Mexicans mostly decided to play cross to the box ball, and if there is one thing Cameron is going to be really good at, and he was, its clearing headers – I’ve never seen a clearing header stat on zonal marking, who scored, or the observatory sites, but if they did keep it I’m sure Cameron had a career night. The corollary question is, what were El Tri thinking, they kept trying the same thing and getting the same result – yup maddness. Maybe I was right about that hang over thing.

        I still think the best thing about the game was how many different players stepped up, played pretty well, kept the team together, and didn’t blow it. Also, last night sure looked like a changing of the guard for Donovan. We played much better once he was out.

        • John D. Halloran on August 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

          Did you see Donovan said he is considering retirement?

          I think he needs to go back to Everton, right now. His passion for the game is clearly gone.

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