Mexico dominated Team USA in every facet of the game, putting to bed the infamous “Dos a cero” chants once favored by US fans.
Mexico has now beaten Team USA twice this year, winning both matches north of the border. The results have silenced the infamous “Dos a Cero” chants that used to resound from US fans after they beat El Tri in several World Cup home qualifiers by that 2-0 scoreline.
On Friday night, Gerardo “Tata” Martino drew up a brilliant game plan and his players executed it well. In El Tri’s starting line-up were several players who had missed the Gold Cup this summer, either due to injury or personal choice. The result was a confident 3-0 win that improved Martino’s undefeated record as Team Mexico coach to 10-1-0. “Tata” took over El Tri in January.
For the first 15-20 minutes of the game, both teams took turns pressing and creating opportunities, but neither could find the net. Jesus “Tecatito” Corona rewarded a nice overlapping run by right back Jorge Sanchez but his cross was blocked out of bounds. “Tecatito” later missed an open shot off a nifty feed by Carlos Rodriguez after “Piojo” Alvarado created a steal at the edge of the US box. Sergiño Dest cut in from the left and curled a right-footer toward the Mexican net but Jonathan Orozco was there to punch the ball out of danger.
Mexico opened the scoring in minute 21 when “Tecatito” beat two US defenders on the right flank, nutmegging Sergiño Dest and cutting in cleanly near the touchline. “Tecatito” had time to pick out a target and he lifted a perfect cross to Javier Hernandez, who was all alone near the back post. “Chicharito” headed home powerfully and El Tri led 1-0. “Chicharito” now has 52 goals for Team Mexico, the best in El Tri’s history.
The Mexico midfield was very effective throughout the first half. Disrupting US possessions and holding possession to create offense. Leading the way was captain Andres Guardado, who partnered well with Hector Herrera and poised youngster Rodriguez who played like a veteran.
More from Viva Liga MX
- Guillermo Ochoa is out 4-6 weeks
- The Clásico Regiomontano is Heating Up
- Pumas: In Search of Regaining a Top Spot
- Why the United States Is Set to Overtake Mexico on the World Stage
- Erick Gutierrez is out once again
US star Christian Pulisic was mostly kept in check. He had some success dribbling but was often double- and triple-teamed and his passing rarely found unmarked teammates who had trouble escaping the pressing defense. Pulisic nearly had one scoring chance in the first half when Diego Reyes misplayed a bouncing ball. His weak header was intended for goalkeeper Orozco, but Pulisic nearly chased it down. Orozco alertly raced out of his box to clear the loose ball before the Chelsea star could get to it.
Mexico had 57 percent possession through to halftime, but could not finish off offensive plays, failing to take advantage of their superiority. In the second half, the US showed more patience and extended possessions but could not find space in their offensive third.
In minute 70, Hirving Lozano came on for “Tecatito” and flashed his brilliance immediately. “Chucky” raced past a defender and collected a pass from Rodriguez but his shot was deflected by a US defender.
Mexico then took advantage of some sloppy passing as the US tried to clear their zone and midfielder Erick Gutierrez – a minute 77 sub for Guardado – was the beneficiary. “Chicharito” pressured US goalie Zack Steffen as he tried to play the ball out with his feet and Herrera disrupted the pass, knocking it right to Gutierrez. The PSV Eindhoven player cooly slotted home to make it 2-0 in minute 78.
Uriel Antuna – the surprise of the Gold Cup this summer – scored the final goal six minutes after coming on as a sub. Lozano gathered in a clearance on Mexico’s side of the midfield stripe, stutter-stepped around a US challenge, then was off to the races down the left side. He drew another defender to him and fed Antuna who was all alone in the right channel. The L.A. Galaxy star knocked it past Steffen and it was 3-0.
Credit also goes to Orozco although he wasn’t as efficient with his passing as he usually is. In minute 88, the Santos Laguna keeper blocked a penalty kick by US striker Josh Sargent to earn the clean slate. One wonders why Pulisic didn’t demand the ball in that spot.
Mexico next faces Argentina on Sept. 10 in San Antonio and though Lionel Messi is unavailable it will be a great test for Martino and El Tri.