New England Soccer Today

Second Half Surge Earns U.S. Draw

After a lackadaisical first half performance that saw U.S. Men’s National Team trailing Mexico 1-0, new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann brought the U.S. back to life with much needed substitutes after the hour mark, leading to an eventual 1-1 draw at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. on Wednesday night.

Klinsmann, making his debut as U.S. head coach, went with a 4-5-1 formation with Edson Buddle as the lone striker up top while youngsters Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco Fiscal got the start in defense next to the usual veterans. The lineup looked poor as the U.S. struggled to get anything going offensively and most of the opening 45 minutes were played in the U.S. half.

Mexico would grab the lead in the just 17th minute. A short corner kick eventually led to a cross from Andres Guardado towards the six yard box. Oribe Peralta, marked tightly by Michael Bradley, managed to get a foot to the ball and direct it past goalkeeper Tim Howard to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

But despite looking in complete control for nearly the first hour of the match, that 17th minute goal would be the only shot on target Mexico would have all night. And when Klinsmann went more attacking, introducing Juan Agudelo, Brek Shea and Robbie Rogers for Buddle, Jermaine Jones and Bradley, respectively, the U.S would finally get the visitors on the back foot.

It would be Shea and Rogers that would get the U.S. back in the game in the 76th minute. Shea, the 21-year-old midfielder from FC Dallas dribbled into the box from the left flank and sent a low pass across goal that eluded goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and found a wide open Rogers at the far post. Rogers easily tapped it into the empty net to tie the score.

Peralta’s goal was the only chance of note in the first half, but the action picked up in the second period. Mexico captain Rafa Marquez nearly doubled his nation’s lead in the 52nd minute, rising above his defender to get on the end of a Guardado corner. His header was just wide of the goal.

Things started going the U.S.’ way after that and the home side finally threatened Mexico’s net in the 57th minute after Buddle took advantage of a Mexican giveaway to earn a corner kick. Landon Donovan sent a good delivery into the box where Carlos Bocanegra rose up to power a header on frame. His effort was too close to Ochoa who did well to block the shot.

Klinsmann’s subs would then lead to the U.S. equalizing through Shea and Rogers in the 76th minute, but the subs were also actively involved in several other chances for the U.S. Agudelo and Donovan both had penalty claims denied and Shea was in the thick of the action again in the 82nd after Donovan found him on a run towards the box. Shea dribbled forward and delivered a low show to the far post that Ochoa just managed to tip wide.

Rogers looked to have another golden opportunity in the 87th minute after Agudelo played a long pass over the defense. Rogers used his speed to outpace the Mexican defense, but was dragged down from behind by Gerardo Torrado. Despite the blatant foul, Torrado escaped with only a yellow card from referee Raymond Bogle.

The match would end at 1-1, ending Mexico’s three game winning run against the U.S. and giving Klinsmann something to build on as he moves forward with the team.

Leave a Reply