PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 10, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Team tied Mexico 1-1 tonight at Lincoln Financial Field in the first game under newly appointed head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Mexico scored in the 17th minute through Oribe Peralta, but three substitutes combined for a Robbie Rogers goal in the 73rd minute to earn the Americans the tie in the regional rivals’ first friendly match since 2008.
“I think we saw a real interesting game, and especially in the second half, a very exciting game,” said Klinsmann. “It was an amazing learning process the players went through in just 90 minutes. We gave them the task to move step-by-step more forward and get more confident the longer they were in the game and put Mexico under pressure. That’s what we saw in the last half hour where I think the players felt more and more confident. All of their defensive tasks were kind of under control and they challenged that Mexican side, which as I said before the game is a very, very good team that we have a lot of respect for.”
The match started with tremendous pace and Mexico earned most of the possession, but an organized U.S. defense kept the Mexicans from turning that advantage into dangerous chances, a theme which held up through the entire match.
Klinsmann started two highly experienced veterans in defense – Steve Cherundolo and captain Carlos Bocanegra (combined 165 caps coming into the match) – along with two young defenders in Edgar Castillo (who made his first start for the USA) and Michael Orozco Fiscal. The two had a combined two caps entering the match.
The quartet, aided by defensive midfielders Jermaine Jones (until he gave way to Brek Shea in the 60th minute) and Kyle Beckerman, locked down the USA’s defensive third for most of the match. Aside from the goal, Mexico fired almost every shot from distance and did little to trouble Tim Howard.
The USA started the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Edson Buddle making his first appearance in a year as the lone striker while Jose Torres and Landon Donovan ran the flanks.
The USA’s best chance of the first half came six minutes into the game. Donovan got free on the right wing and bent a cross into the middle where a sliding Jones arrived a second too late to get a foot on the ball as it skipped tantalizingly through the penalty area.
Mexico’s goal came after Bocanegra did well to slide and block a cross from Antonio “Sinha“ Naelson deep in the right side of U.S. penalty box. The ball ricocheted out for a corner kick, which Mexico took short and quickly to Andres Guardado. The Mexican midfielder then struck a powerfully driven cross from just outside the penalty area on the right wing. Peralta was tightly marked by Michael Bradley but somehow wrapped his right foot around the U.S. midfielder to re-direct the ball in the air and into the left corner from seven yards out, spinning his shot just inside the post.
The USA did not take its first shot until the cusp of the 57th minute as a Donovan corner kick found Bocanegra’s head just outside the six-yard box. The second-most prolific goal scoring defender in U.S. history powered a header at frame. It was struck hard enough that it would have certainly gone in had it been directed anywhere but right at Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who parried the shot back into the middle. Buddle looked to have a chance to swing at the ball, but the quick rebound caught him off guard and the ball was cleared out of danger.
The U.S. defended in numbers to stymie the Mexican attack but didn’t start to exert its own attacking personality until about the last 20 minutes. Truth be told, the teams created just one truly dangerous chance each through about the first 70 minutes, but the end of the game belonged to the Americans.
Klinsmann made his first two changes in the 60th minute, replacing Jones with Shea, who earned just his third cap, and sending 18-year-old Juan Agudelo on for Buddle. Shea moved to the left flank while Jose Torres moved into the middle. Both youngsters immediately injected some verve into the U.S. attack.
Agudelo shot high in the 61st minute and then latched onto a nice pass from Donovan inside the penalty area in the 73rd minute but couldn’t get his shot off as he was bundled down by the Mexican defense.
Rogers would come on in the 72nd minute for Michael Bradley, and one minute later Shea and Agugelo combined to set him up for his second career national team goal.
The USA earned a throw-in on the left flank and it was taken quickly by Castillo to Agudelo, who was almost on the end line. Agudelo touched the ball back to the charging Shea, who shrugged off the challenge of Israel Castro, burst to the end line, and then sent a pass on the ground through the six-yard box that evaded the diving Ochoa at the near post. The cross rolled right into the path of the totally unmarked Rogers at the far post, and he tapped in from four yards out.
The goal energized the U.S., and seconds later Torres had a crack from 23 yards out but curled his chance wide right of the goal.
In the 77th minute Donovan raced into the penalty area from the left wing after a long dribbling run and was taken down in the box, but the USA’s shout for a penalty kick went unheeded.
Rogers had another chance in the 81st minute but fired high after a blocked pass high rolled to him at the top of the penalty area. One minute later, the USA was away on a counter and Donovan fed Shea into the left side of the penalty area, giving him a good look at the Mexican net. The 21-year-old Shea fired a shot with his preferred left foot that seemed headed into the lower right corner, but Ochoa managed to stab the ball with a dive to his left.
The drama was not over, however, as with about five minutes left in regulation Agudelo sprung Rogers on a breakaway. As Rogers burst into the open, Mexican defender Gerardo Torrado took him down, first stepping on his ankle while tugging him to the ground by his jersey. Torrado amazingly escaped being sent off as the card that Jamaican referee Raymond Bogle produced was yellow, not red.
The USA then created a flurry of attacks in stoppage time that led to several shots and an exciting last few minutes, but in the end had to settle for the draw against a Mexican team that featured almost all of its players from its CONCACAF Gold Cup Final victory over the USA about seven weeks ago.
“I think now we can be very satisfied with that performance,” said Klinsmann. “It’s great to see some young players stepping into this team and being guided by the experienced ones. It was really enjoyable to see how they then kind of expressed themselves. This is what we want in this team. We want them to express themselves and have fun, and I think that’s what we saw.”
With the draw, the U.S. maintained its perfect record at Lincoln Financial Field, now boasting a 3-0-1 all-time record.
Klinsmann, the 35th head coach in Men's National Team history, earned a draw in his first match at the helm of the program less than two weeks after being hired. His starting lineup featured six players with 12 caps or fewer: Castillo, Orozco Fiscal, Beckerman, Jones, Buddle, and Torres.
Three players who featured for the USA -- Castillo, Orozco Fiscal and Torres – play for professional clubs in Mexico, and the match saw the only two men ever to play for both Mexico and the USA at Lincoln Financial Field tonight. One is Castillo, who played several times for Mexico before choosing to represent the USA, and the other is U.S. assistant coach Martin Vasquez.
Ricardo Clark and Torres made their first appearances for the USA since the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. For Torres, who holds both U.S. and Mexican passports but chose to represent the United States, this was his first match against Mexico at the international level.
-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --
Match: USA vs. Mexico
Date: Aug. 10, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear and warm, 80 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
MEX 1 0 1
MEX – Oribe Peralta (Andres Guardado) 17th minute
USA – Robbie Rogers (Brek Shea) 73
USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 5-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Edgar Castillo; 7-Kyle Beckerman 4-Michael Bradley (16-Robbie Rogers, 72), 8-Jermaine Jones (17-Brek Shea, 60) ,10-Landon Donovan, 11-Jose Torres (15-Ricardo Clark, 84); 9-Edson Buddle (18-Juan Agudelo, 60)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13-Zach Lloyd, 14-Heath Pearce
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa, 16-Efrain Juarez (22- Paul Aguilar, 75), 4-Rafael Marquez (2-Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 69), 15-Hector Moreno, 3-Carlos Salcido; 7- Pablo Barrera (21-Christian Bermudez, 72), 6-Gerardo Torrado, 17-Antonio Naelson (10-Giovani dos Santos, 55), 8-Israel Castro, 18-Andres Guardado; 19-Oribe Peralta (9-Omar Arellano, 62)
Subs not used: 11-Javier Aquino, 12- Alfredo Talavera, 13-Jesus Zavala, 20-Jorge Torres Nilo
Head coach: Jose Manuel de la Torre
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 6 / 7
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 16
Offside: 0 / 4
MEX – Efrain Juarez (caution) 42nd minute
MEX – Rafael Marquez (caution) 67
MEX – Gerardo Torrado (caution) 86
Referee: Raymond Bogle (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Antonio Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Dion Neil (TRI)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar (USA)