Originally published on October 9, 2015
Leading up to the U.S. friendly against Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Aug. 15, 2012, Michael Orozco told himself he wanted to make history.
“If I get five minutes or 90, I was going to give it my all,” he told ussoccer.com.
Orozco would get around 13 minutes, entering the match with the score locked 0-0 and around the time ESPN commentator Ian Darke mentioned that the U.S. would be pleased to get a draw out of the friendly fixture.
Stormy skies gather over Estadio Azteca ahead of the USMNT's first win on Mexican soil.
A result wouldn’t have been bad. It was something that had only occurred once before for the MNT, coming in a 0-0 draw during 1997 World Cup Qualifying.
Shortly after Darke’s declaration, Brek Shea nutmegged a Mexico defender, got to the end line and centered for Terrence Boyd. A clever back heel from the U.S. forward put the ball on the doorstep for Orozco, who sneaked in to poke home some U.S. history.
The U.S. would play out the final 10 minutes and stoppage time to earn the 1-0 win, its first victory on Mexican soil in 25 tries (11 of which came at the vaunted Estadio Azteca).
“It was an honor to get to play and make a difference in that game at Azteca,” the Mexican-American defender said this week. “I got the chance to score and help us get the first win, and I did it with a lot of honor and pride in front of my family.”
The son of Mexican parents, Orozco has played all but one of his professional seasons south of the border. In his time with Puebla, Chiapas and now Club Tijuana, the goal has earned him a special nickname among his Mexican club teammates.
“They call me the ‘Historical Gringo,’” he joked. “We all laugh about it. Despite me playing for the U.S., my club teammates have always supported me.”
And while he’s a defender, the goal has followed him around the last four years. It’s something he’s fine with being known for.
“People always talk about that goal,” said Orozco. “It’s a historical one and it’s something people will always remember me for. To be a part of that history is an honor.”