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U.S. Men Continue Unbeaten Run at Home Against Mexico With Exciting 2-2 Draw in Houston

HOUSTON (February 6, 2008) — The U.S. Men’s National Team continued their dominating undefeated streak at home against Mexico this evening with an exciting 2-2 draw in front of 70,103 fans at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

The match was a high-paced affair, with the U.S. jumping out to a 2-1 lead at halftime, only to surrender the tying goal just two minutes into the second half to Mexico’s Jonny Magallón, who had both goals for the Tri-Colores. The U.S. goals came from defender Oguchi Onyewu and 18-year-old Jozy Altidore, making his first start for the United States.

“There were some good things that you need to see in a tough environment and in a tough game,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley, whose U.S. record now stands at 13-5-2, “and there were some things that you see that you still need to improve on. These kind of games are what the players look forward to and as coaches, we understand that we need this kind of games in order to look hard at our players and our team to find things that we need to improve.”

The U.S. is now undefeated in its last 10 home games against Mexico, compiling an impressive 8-0-2 record since 2000. The U.S. has outscored Mexico 17-3 in that stretch, including Wednesday’s match, which was the highest scoring game in the series in almost 11 years (dating back to a 2-2 draw on April 20, 1997, a span of 17 games).

The opening goal of the game came in the 29th minute after the USA’s first sustained pressure of the match, with Onyewu finishing a towering, precise header from eight yards out that left Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa helpless. Onyewu began the sequence with a long throw-in from the left sideline that the Mexican defense failed to clear, allowing Landon Donovan to alertly lift the ball back into the area from the right side of the penalty area and allow the hulking defender to expertly head home off the right post.

Mexico tied the match in the 35th minute on a close-range strike from Jonny Magallón, after a brilliantly played free kick from Pavel Pardo on the right flank eluded the U.S. defense and slid dangerously to the back post. Magallón eluded Drew Moor to slam his shot from four yards out into the upper left corner of the goal.

Mexico’s second goal also came on a close-range back-post strike from Magallón, who again beat Moor to the spot, this time finishing a deflected corner from Carlos Vela (by defender Carlos Salcido at the near post) just two minutes into the second half to even the score.

Magallón’s two goals were sandwiched around a stunning header from the young Altidore (18 years, 92 days), making his first start for the United States. Altidore’s 40th minute strike was slammed home from nine yards out after Moor had gotten forward on the right flank to hit a pinpoint cross into the area. The goal was the result of a strong U.S. counterattack led by Bobby Convey, who eventually fed Clint Dempsey, who in turn fed Michael Bradley to create the space for Moor.

With the goal, Altidore became the youngest player to score for the United States in the modern era.

Just two minutes after the USA’s second goal, Dempsey thought he had a goal of his own, hitting a 22-yard turnaround laser into the lower right corner of the goal. However, in controlling the ball off his chest on a long pass from Onyewu, the Texas native was whistled for offside.

Despite watching the U.S. surrender two goals to Mexico at home for the first time in nine years, goalkeeper Tim Howard was exceptional in the net for the United States, making a number of strong saves, and more importantly securely controlling every ball he was able to get his hands on. The Everton goalkeeper finished the match with six saves.

Overall, the testy match between the two old rivals featured six yellow cards, including four against the United States. Through 54 all-time meetings with Mexico, the U.S. has a lifetime record of 14-29-11 in a series that dates to 1934. However, the United States owns a dominating 12-6-9 advantage in home matches since 1957. Additionally, since the rivalry between these two teams began in earnest in 1990, the sides have played 27 times, with the U.S. holding a 12-7-8 advantage.

The 70,103 fans marked the fourth largest attendance for a USA-Mexico match in the United States (and the largest outside the state of California). It was also the second largest soccer crowd in Texas history. The U.S. wore their new home white Nike uniforms for the first time, and the match also featured the debut of the team's new game ball (the Total 90 Omni).

Next up for the United States is an away match on March 26 against Poland in a city to be determined. The U.S. last faced Poland on March 1, 2006 in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where a lone goal from Clint Dempsey provided a 1-0 victory in a match that included a heavy snowfall during the second half. In June, the U.S. will travel to face fourth-ranked Spain as both teams prepare for major international events in the summer, the United States getting ready for their first World Cup qualifier on June 15 in Carson, Calif., while Spain gets ready for the 2008 European Championship.

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Mexico
Date: February 6, 2008
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Reliant Stadium – Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. CT
Attendance: 70,103
Weather: Roof closed – 50 degrees outside

Scoring Summary:
              1    2    F
USA      2    0   2
Mexico  1   1    2

USA – Oguchi Onyewu (Landon Donovan) 29th minute
MEX – Jonny Magallon (Pavel Pardo) 35.
USA – Jozy Altidore (Drew Moor) 40.
MEX – Jonny Magallon (Carlos Salcido) 47.

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 21-Drew Moor, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Ramiro Corrales; 10-Landon Donovan, 13-Ricardo Clark (Maurice Edu, 79), 4-Michael Bradley (5-Benny Feilhaber, 63), 15-Bobby Convey (7-Eddie Lewis, 70); 9-Jozy Altidore, 8-Clint Dempsey (19-Freddy Adu, 63)
Subs not used: 11-Pat Noonan, 16-Michael Parkhurst, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa; 2-Jonny Magallon, 3-Carlos Salcido (14-Fausto Pinto, 59) 4-Rafael Marquez (capt.), 5-Israel Castro; 6-Gerado Torrado, 7-Fernando Arce (18-Cesar Villaluz, 90+), 8-Pavel Pardo, 11-Carlos Vela (16-Giovanni Dos Santos, 71); 9-Antonio De Nigris (15-Juan Carlos Cacho, 67), 10-Adolfo Bautista (17-Antonio Naelson, 71)
Subs not used: 12-Luis Michel, 13-Oscar Rojas,
Head Coach: Hugo Sanchez

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 3 / 13
Shots on Goal: 2 / 9
Saves: 6 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 19 / 13
Offside: 4 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Carlos Salcido (caution) 38th minute
USA – Michael Bradley (caution) 45.
USA – Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 69.
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 76.
USA – Ramiro Corrales (caution) 89.
MEX – Gerardo Torrado (caution) 90+.

Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
1st Asst.: Carlos Pastrana (HON)
2nd Asst.: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

Sierra Mist Man of the Match: Oguchi Onyewu