U.S. Soccer

U.S. Men vs. Mexico

Matt Besler

Castrol Index: Besler, Guzan and Gonzalez Top the Index as the U.S. Men's National Team Earns Historic Point in 0-0 Draw at Azteca

The U.S. Men's National Team earned a point in FIFA World Cup Qualifying for just the second time ever at Estadio Azteca, coming away with a 0-0 draw against Mexico on Tuesday night. The youthful back line proved to be the difference for the MNT as Mexico launched attack after attack but failed to find the back of the net after 90 minutes.

Playing in the first World Cup Qualifier of his career and earning just his second cap in one of the sport's most intimidating atmospheres, reigning MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler found himself at the top of the Castrol Index with a score of 1,020. Besler and his teammates along the back line were tested by the Mexican attack all night but never allowed their southern rivals to find the winner.

While Mexico outshot the U.S. 17-1, the U.S. defense never allowed El Tri any comfortable shots on goal (Mexico only had three shots on goal), a fact that highlights the impressive play of the U.S. back line that along with Besler, included DaMarcus Beasley, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez playing together for the first time. Besler and Gonzalez started alongside each other in the USA's scoreless draw in an international friendly against Canada on Jan. 29, receiving the two highest Index scores for that match with scores of 744 and 718, respectively.

Coming in behind Besler with the second-highest score was goalkeeper Brad Guzan with an Index of 986. Guzan made three saves on the night, none bigger than his diving save on Angel Reyna's strike destined for the bottom left corner deep into stoppage time. The Aston Villa star remained poised all evening, coming off his line to gather several through balls and got his hands on many of Mexico's 15 corner kicks. The clean sheet held by Guzan and the U.S. defense marks their second consecutive shutout and Guzan's fifth career shutout in seven World Cup Qualifying appearances.

Posting an Index rating of 917, Gonzalez comes in third place for his performance against Mexico. Gonzalez is one of just two players to appear in all four fixtures in 2013 and has finished in the top three of the Index in every single one. His 917 score bumps him up to 2,470 overall, good enough for the top spot on the aggregate index. Gonzalez replaces Clint Dempsey, who had been in first after the USA's first two qualifiers. Dempsey finished in the top half for the U.S. against Mexico, posting an Index score of 699.

Coming in a spot behind Gonzalez for Tuesday night's match was midfielder Graham Zusi, whose defensive efforts kept Mexico at bay for his 82 minutes on the pitch. Zusi made several key plays in the defensive half, none more important than his header on a dangerous cross in the area from Giovani dos Santos in the 72nd minute. Dos Santos found Angel Reyna standing by unmarked moments after he checked in, but Zusi made a spectacular run from 40 yards behind the play to head the ball harmlessly out of bounds for a Mexico corner kick.

Castrol Index
Rank Player Name Position Minutes Played Index
1 Matt Besler Defender 90 1020
2 Brad Guzan Goalkeeper 90 986
3 Omar González Defender 90 917
4 Graham Zusi Midfielder 82 721
5 Michael Bradley Midfielder 90 700
6 Clint Dempsey Midfielder 90 699
7 DaMarcus Beasley Midfielder 90 661
8 Geoff Cameron Defender 90 652
9 Maurice Edu Midfielder 90 618
10 Herculez Gomez Forward 70 245
11 Brad Davis Midfielder 20 99
12 Brek Shea Midfielder 8 35
13 Jozy Altidore Forward 55 28
14 Eddie Johnson Forward 35 0