Mexico come from behind to draw with US in World Cup qualifier

Ross Houston
June 13, 2017

United States coach Bruce Arena looks on during a World Cup soccer qualifying match between the US and Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Sunday, June 11, 2017.

Fans in Azteca Stadium, Mexico City made their dislike of the usa well-known Sunday night, booing and jeering as the American national anthem played before the two countries faced off in a World Cup qualifying match.

Afterward, U.S. coach Bruce Arena focused on his team, not the atmosphere: "We played 90 minutes to win, not 90 minutes to not lose".

"It's somewhat I think similar to club play in Major League Soccer, where you travel at times great distances in a short period of time and play two games", Arena said.

On social media, the rivalry also got political at times. It also gave the USA eight points in World Cup qualifying, equaling the total of second-place Costa Rica in the CONCACAF standings.

Three teams from the Concacaf region will qualify for next year's World Cup, while the team in the fourth place will play-off against Asia's fifth-placed nation.

Back-to-back losses at home to Mexico and away to Costa Rica in November have severely stunted the United States' qualification bid, which sees it relying on the latter and Panama to drop points in the coming months.

"It is going to be very challenging right until the end", head coach Bruce Arena said, after his team secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Mexico on Sunday night, "But I feel good about where we are". In the two decades since CONCACAF adopted the six-team hexagonal format for qualifying, it has taken at least 14 points to finish third in the standings and earn an automatic World Cup invitation.

With Estadio Azteca at 7,820 feet above sea level and just two off days between games, Arena paid close attention to recovery time.

And to think it could have been more. He said after the match that he "told the team on day one of this camp that we would play that way in this game". Hector Moreno passed to Hernandez, who passed back for Herrera in the center circle.

The Estadio Azteca in Mexico City has never been a happy hunting ground for the United States Men's National Team.

The effort was lead by captain Michael Bradley, who was able to catch Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa out of position after intercepting an errant pass at midfield. Several hundred fans from the American Outlaws were clad in red, white and blue, and chanted "U-S-A!" Guzan boomed a long kick out to Jozy Altidore, who headed the ball to 18-year-old Christian Pulisic, who in turn sent a shot just to the right of the goal.

Brad Guzan took over in goal from Tim Howard, and DaMarcus Beasley, Tim Ream and Omar Gonzalez joined the back line in a 5-4-1 formation.

Fans booed and whistled "The Star-Spangled Banner," as usual when the Americans play in Mexico, and there was an occasional T-shirt disparaging U.S. President Donald Trump. The one time the USA defencse came up short was on Mexico's counterattack goal, where the Yanks did not track back quick enough.

Paul Arriola - 5: Didn't do much going forward. Scoring a goal from near mid-field in a big World Cup Qualifying game on a ideal shot is something to behold.

The USMNT entered last night's game having just played Thursday night in Colorado, where it defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 2-0.

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