Originally published on April 14, 2015.
History, geography and sociology have long dictated the soccer rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico. And while it’s always been somewhat heated, only in the last 20 years has it been anywhere near an even affair.
The numbers clearly reflect it as Mexico held a daunting 28-6-9 edge over its neighbors to the north prior to the turn of the century. And while the U.S. went winless against Mexico in the final seven matchups of the 1990s, one result in that span, the 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw at Estadio Azteca in 1997, set a course correction in the series that has pushed the U.S. to a 13-7-5 record against its rivals since the turn of the century.
In that match, the U.S. earned its first result in Mexico’s vaunted soccer cathedral, despite playing a man down for nearly an hour after defender Jeff Agoos was sent off for an altercation with Pavel Pardo in the 32nd minute.
“We showed a lot of resolve in that match,” said Cobi Jones who went 56 minutes that day. “Either at the youth or full team level, a lot of us had been part of tough results against Mexico, but the experiences gained built towards us earning a historic result that day.”
An unused substitute in that match as he was beginning to carve out his role in the U.S. team, forward Brian McBride says the result gave the team confidence, but also earned the team recognition where they didn’t have it before.
“The last 15-20 minutes the Mexican fans are jeering Mexico when they have the ball and actually cheering us on,” said McBride. “The first time we actually heard it in that game, we all looked at each other and said, ‘what’s happening?’ At that moment, we all said that Mexican fans respect U.S. Soccer, whereas before there wasn’t a lot of respect. I think that translates into our attitude, how we went about handling them. It affirmed it, once you get affirmation, we continued to grow.”
Under the guidance of former head coach Bruce Arena, the U.S. opened up the new millennium with two friendly wins against Mexico, building momentum towards a home World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 28, 2001, and the start of a great U.S. Soccer tradition.
The smaller confines of Columbus Crew Stadium (now MAPFRE Stadium) and a kickoff temperature of 28 degrees combined to give the U.S. a significant home-field advantage, but things didn’t go to plan early on.
Though not malicious, in his debut as a villain to American fans everywhere, Mexican midfielder Rafael Marquez clashed heads with McBride on a 50/50 challenge at midfield, causing the starting U.S. forward to make way for Josh Wolff early in the match.
There was little question about Marquez’s intent in the 36th minute, when in a sign of things to come, the future Mexico captain came through with a late, high challenge to chop down Wolff as he streaked through the midfield.
“I think I’m still feeling that foul,” Wolff joked. “Guys like Rafa and Claudio Suarez; there was viciousness with those games and violence at times.”
Though Wolff was alright, just before halftime, U.S. captain Claudio Reyna pulled up with a groin injury and Wolff’s childhood friend Clint Mathis also entered the match.
In what would become both players’ coming out party on the national team stage, Mathis sent a cutting ball over the Mexico backline and into Wolff’s stride. The 23-year-old ran on, evaded goalkeeper Jorge Campos who’d come well out of his box and tapped into an empty net to take the score to 1-0.
- READ MORE: All About the USA's Rivalry with Mexico
“I’m sure they weren’t that worried about me or Clint coming in as reserves,” said Wolff, who was making just his fourth U.S. appearance in the match. “I was younger, had played against the Mexican youth national teams and had a good experience with the Olympic team, but I wouldn’t expect them to know that much about me or Clint, outside us being young players that are just breaking in.”
Late in the match, Wolff beat two Mexican defenders on the right before breaking into the box and centering for Earnie Stewart who finished from 12 yards out, creating the first of four staple “Dos a Cero” score lines in home World Cup qualifying matches against Mexico.
The victories over Mexico and the belief Bruce Arena instilled in his team built towards the rivalry’s biggest match to date in the Round of 16 at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
“When we knew we were playing them, we were overjoyed,” McBride said. “We knew them and we knew we could beat them. Any given day, anyone can beat anyone, but we were very happy to see them.
“Bruce has a confidence,” he continued “The way he goes about himself, it rubs off on you. He made some changes, moved things around all with the idea we were going to get the result.”
Perhaps remembering Wolff’s breakout performance 14 months earlier, one of Arena’s changes was starting Wolff, who’d played just eight minutes in the group stage, up top with McBride.
It took the forward tandem just eight minutes to link up for the game’s first goal as McBride quickly played a restart for Reyna on the right. The captain charged towards the end line before playing a square ball for Wolff who used the outside of his right boot to lay off what McBride called “the most perfect ball for a first-time strike”, as the veteran forward buried it past Oscar Perez for a 1-0 lead.
Chief among players Mexico would deem a villain, Landon Donovan would score the most significant of his six against El Tri off a cross from Eddie Lewis in the second half to take things to 2-0.
As time went on, the U.S. style of play, sitting in then springing quick counter attacks, frustrated Mexico throughout the match, and that’s where Jones earned his hero status in the rivalry.
Having played a mostly substitute role in his final years with the national team, Jones’s fresh legs kept pressure all over the field in the mid-day sun. He hadn’t been on for 10 minutes before Marquez played U.S. villain again, this time as Jones went up for a free header, the Mexican captain led with his studs up into Jones’ torso, before delivering a vicious head butt to the veteran winger.
Marquez immediately saw red, one of five in his international career and the first of two against the United States, while the dismissal effectively ended any chance Mexico had at a comeback.
“That was the moment where that all started with him,” Jones said. “He’s the captain of the team. He’s played at big clubs before and since, but he’s never known how to handle the high pressure situation of playing his arch-rival on the international stage and losing. That was the big issue for him and we see how he reacted to it.”
Moments later as Jones took the ball into the corner to kill off stoppage time, both Salvador Camona and Sigifredo Mercado came through and stomped on both of Jones’ legs.
“You could see the frustrations in their players because they couldn’t find a way to beat us,” Jones said. “Luckily, the referee blew his whistle not too long after.”
While the U.S. players celebrated a first trip to the World Cup quarterfinals, sportsmanship didn’t exactly rule the post-match festivities, as most Mexican players walked directly off the field.
“We were also ticked off at the fact that they weren’t necessarily respectful in loss,” McBride remembered. “There were plenty of times where we lost games where we thought we should have done better in, but still we never tried to injure anybody, never tried to not shake hands. That part was disappointing. Having said that, it’s the heat of the moment - a huge game for them and for us of course, and I saw some of the guys a month later and they were awesome.”
Today, a younger crop of players has brought a mutual respect between the two teams that wasn’t there in the past. And while the U.S. has leveled the series over the last 17 years, Jones appealed to the younger generation to shake off any complacency heading into a match against Mexico.
“As far as the passion is concerned, I hope the younger players understand the history and tradition there,” he said. “I hope they take a look back to see what it’s about and have an underlying need and want to beat Mexico. If they take it too lightly, they have to understand that the other side will take advantage.”Read more
ussoccer.com: What were your overall thoughts on the performance?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “I think the overall performance was really positive. I think it was a great team effort. We showed a lot of spirit and we showed a lot of character in that game. They were working hard for each other. Everybody tried to follow our tactical principles, playing in a 4-4-2 diamond means there’s a lot of shifting. Obviously you need to have the fullbacks come out and attack the wingers, which we did really well, and we stayed really compact in midfield. We kept the distance between our center backs and our forwards in a good way in order to always be compact and work everybody together in a defensive mode, then once we had the ball we spread it out and went into attack. I think therefore, it was a very good performance with great energy, good spirit and a lot of positives to take from the game.”
ussoccer.com: What did you think the keys were to getting this result?
JK: “I think keys for winning against a squad as good as Mexico are that you need to be prepared for their way of going at you. They usually come in a 3-5-2 and with the wingers going forward, you need to be prepared to deal with them. They have individually very good technical players so they need to get pressured; they need to get their toes stepped on. We did this; we kept their back three very busy with Jordan Morris and Gyasi Zardes in the first half, and also with the guys coming in in the second half. Overall, everybody tried to implement his personal job in this game and those 90 minutes, and I think we deserved the result.”
ussoccer.com: Clearly the conditions were difficult. Are you able to learn things about players in terms of how they deal with a challenging pitch, an intense atmosphere ant the pressure of a USA-Mexico match?
JK: “I think those games are really crucial and very important to us even if you don’t maybe have your top roster at your disposal, because playing with difficult field conditions is something that we’ll always face in CONCACAF when we go away from home. We always have different environments, and in a game like that where the expectations are very high because you’re playing your main rival Mexico, you have an opportunity to prove to the coaches that you’re able to deal with that. I think after the initial hectic 10-15 minutes, the players started to settle into the game and they started to combine here and there with good passing sequences on a very difficult surface, and they felt more and more comfortable. I think the crowd was exciting. There was a lot of energy in the stadium and the players kind of started to take that energy in a positive way.”
ussoccer.com: You gave a college player the first start for the Senior Team in more than 20 years. How did Jordan Morris fare, and what message does that send to other players who may not be obvious choices?
JK: “When you develop players coming through the youth system going into the U-18’s and the U-20’s, then in the Olympic team at under-23 years of age, you always kind of see the talent and the potential of a player. If he’s playing in that moment with an MLS club, in Mexico, in Europe or for a college team, that’s not the key; the key is that he really gets ‘what is the demand for me going forward,’ and I think that Jordan Morris has the talent and the potential. I think what he needs to learn now is to pick up a higher rhythm to go to the highest level possible and become consistent. He has the talent to break through, but it’s easier to do that in one game than it is to do in 40, 50, 60 games in one year. So when we talk about the development of players, we always talk about the consistency that they need to continue to have to become really good players. I think it’s a great signal to everyone out there that no matter where he plays, that it’s one thing having the talent, which Jordan Morris has, and the other thing is to prove that talent on a consistent basis in whatever environment you are in. The national team program has a little more freedom to do that and to give you a chance, and also calculate the minutes that you’re on the field. Then in your club team, you have to provide week-in and week-out at your highest level.”
JK: I think what everyone felt for Jordan Morris the moment he scored that goal was, ‘Yes!’ He proved a point because it’s always difficult to imagine being on the stage for a game like USA-Mexico, with 65,000 people and a very loud crowd, and how to handle something like that psychologically. So he then ended up scoring that goal and you just kind of go, ‘Yes!’ He showed and proved that he can do it. Now for him going forward, it’s about staying consistent at Stanford and calculating his path and his jump into the professional world sooner or later to become a consistent element in our Olympic team that strives toward Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Obviously, when you don’t know all the answers before a game on how a player like him deals with all those things and then all of a sudden he scores a goal that is very special. I think everybody on the bench felt for him, all the players, all the coaches, and certainly his coaches at Stanford.
ussoccer.com: Also getting his first start was Ventura Alvarado, who has now said he is fully committed to the United States. How did you assess his performance?
JK: “We are very lucky that we have a lot of very center backs on our roster. Ventura Alvarado is now making that step to us and he’s another very strong player into our center back player pool. The way he came into Denmark and Switzerland was very impressive, and the way he played for Club America all season now being in the CONCACAF Champions League Final is very impressive, so we are really happy to have Ventura. We’re really happy because he’s the type of player that a coach looks at that’s almost complete. He’s technically very gifted and he’s obviously physically strong because you need to be that in that center back role. He’s strong in the air and he stays very precise and he’s very grounded, so having him in our pool means a lot to us and we’re thrilled.”
ussoccer.com: A lot of people expected the crowd to be almost exclusively pro-Mexico, but there was a significant number of people supporting the U.S. Do you see us making progress in converting fans with our performances?
JK: I think definitely that our crowd is getting unbelievably exciting no matter where we play. You saw that in Brazil. We had the biggest following of all of the nations that were a part of the World Cup, and now also in all of our home games, the following of the American Outlaws and all the fans streaming to our games. With Mexico, it will always be a mixture because of their fan base here in the United States, but for us it’s huge and it means a lot to us. We feel like no matter what stadium we go into, we have our fans and they’re giving us so much support and it’s adding so much fun to it and adding so much energy to everything we do. We know there are a big amount of fans behind us and they want us to do well.”
ussoccer.com: Did you get any answers from this game that will help you in the building of the roster for the Gold Cup?
JK: “Definitely we got a lot of answers to many, many little questions that we always have. This game gave us a lot of good stuff towards individual performances, players that knock at the door and are pushing to get in. It’s going to be a very, very difficult situation at the Gold Cup because European-based players are already done with their seasons at the end of May, so how do we bridge them into the Gold Cup which is in July and is not following up their season right away? We have MLS in full swing and Mexican-based players have a different schedule as well, so it was important for us to see how eager everybody is to get into that Gold Cup roster, and they are all hungry. It will start with the weeks before the Gold Cup with our 35-man preliminary roster, which we are very comfortable with already, and then obviously to bring in a group of 23 players. We also have a chance to switch six players after the group stage, which is a lot of work for us coaches but exciting work because we can kind of schedule things maybe a bit differently and we can bring players in at a later stage, or we can also bring the European-based players from the beginning of the tournament right away into it. It gives us more options, and with that performance for many players against Mexico, it’s going to be exciting for us to calculate everything in hopefully the right way.”
ussoccer.com: What are the messages to the players in the pool between now and the summer?
JK: We had a transition phase from the World Cup into 2015 and a lot of friendly games where we tried different stuff within our player pool and we found new players that we’re excited about, but now it goes into to the real deal and the real deal is winning the Gold Cup. The message to the players has become consistent: prove your point week-in and week-out within your club environment. For the European players, finish the season on the highest note possible and you might have a shorter vacation because we need you to be a part of that Gold Cup team as well, so we’re asking now from them that they be spot on, that they be sharp, that they be leaders in their club environments and that they stand out and not take things easy and make sure that they keep their performance going into July and show it most excitingly in the Gold Cup itself.”
ussoccer.com: You’ve said there are significant challenges in putting together the roster for the games in June as well as the Gold Cup, and we also have the FIFA U-20 World Cup and Olympic Qualifying. How do you now go about piecing that puzzle together?
JK: “It’s a very, very busy year for all of us. We had the U-17’s qualify for the World Cup and the U-20’s qualified for the World Cup and they are right now in Austria playing friendly games. We are building a U-23 pool to go ahead to the Olympic Qualifiers later on this year. It is very, very important that these players, especially the U-20’s right now in camp, know that we’re watching them and we talk to each other. All the coaches are connected. We talk about every talent coming through the ranks and we try to find even more talent. They need to understand that in this very early stage of their career that they are the drivers and that they are the decision makers. They have to make the right decisions on the field, but also especially off the field. This is something that we tell our youth teams more and more, that they become personalities and that they take things into their own hands and they become accountable for what they’re doing. So it’s a huge year for U.S. Soccer with all the teams in their different tournaments and their goals. It’s always important that as coaches we send the same messages over and over again.”
ussoccer.com: How helpful is it to have the U-23’s also face of with Mexico this week?
JK: “It’s very helpful that the U-23s have that game against Mexico coming up at StubHub Center on Wednesday because we urgently need to try and build this pool and try to build a team that is getting together on every possible occasion; trying to find a chemistry, trying to find a spirit within the group and hooking them up with each other. So you try that with the opportunity against Mexico with the U-23s, and it’s a clear message to take that opportunity because there are not many before we have to play the qualifiers, and if you want to go to Rio De Janeiro in 2016, you’ve got to show that to us right away.”Read more
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (15 de abril, 2015) – La Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos derrotó a su rival de la CONCACAF México, presentado por AT&T, con el famoso marcador de 2-0 el miércoles en la noche frente a 64,369 aficionados que llenaron el Alamodome en San Antonio, Texas.
El único jugador universitario en la nómina, Jordan Morris, tuvo su primera participación como titular y anotó su primer gol con la selección mayor en el segundo tiempo. Juan Agudelo, quien no había anotado para EE.UU. desde el 26 de marzo del 2011, se encargó de añadir el segundo.
El partido resultó en la octava victoria para EE.UU. con un marcador de 2-0 contra México desde el año 2000 y novena en total con el famoso marcador, la sexta decisión sin derrota frente a sus rivales (3-0-3), y el partido número 21 (18-0-3) en casa sin derrota para los estadounidenses. Estados Unidos ahora mantiene un récord de 18-32-14 contra México en su historia.
Estados Unidos viaja a Europa a jugar contra una potencia mundial cuando se enfrente a Holanda el 5 de junio en Amsterdam. El partido iniciará a las 2:30 p.m. ET.
Información de transmisión: ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMás, univisiondeportes.com
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer, @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
Resumen de Goles:
USA – Jordan Morris, minuto 49: Michael Bradley mandó el balón al centro de la defensa mexicana hacia Gyasi Zardes quien tuvo su pase desviado por un defensa. El desvío le cayó a Morris quien lo aprovecho para dirigir al arco y anotar su primer gol internacional con la selección mayor. USA 1, MEX 0 (VER GOL)
USA – Juan Agudelo (Michael Bradley), minuto 72: Pocos minutos después de entrar al partido en el segundo tiempo, Agudelo controló un balón elevado de Michael Bradley en la parte superior del área grande. Con el balón a sus pies, Agudelo se fue hacia su derecha, pasó a su defensa y envió un disparo al poste izquierdo para concretar el famoso dos a cero. USA 2, MEX 0 (VER GOL), FINAL
En la Mira y Notas Adicionales:
- El delantero Jordan Morris y el defensa Ventura Alvarado tuvieron su primera aparición como titulares con la selección mayor. Ambos ahora tienen tres participaciones y Morris tiene su primer gol internacional con la selección mayor.
- Kyle Beckerman, Joe Corona y Omar González jugaron en su primer partido con la selección en el 2015. El ultimo partido en el que Beckerman había jugado fue el 18 de noviembre del 2014, mientras que Corona no había participado con la selección desde el 14 de noviembre, y González desde el 10 de octubre del 2014.
- Este fue el partido número 96 para Michael Bradley quien ahora está a tan sólo cuatro de llegar al centenario. Bradley sobrepasó a Brian McBride en la lista de mas participaciones y esta empatado con Alexi Lalas en el lugar número 16.
- La asistencia de Bradley en el gol de Juan Agudelo fue su número 13 y está ahora empatado en el octavo lugar en las lista de mas asistencias con la selección junto a DaMarcus Beasley y Clint Dempsey.
- El partido fue el primero en que Bradley y Beckerman aparecieron juntos en la alineación desde el 26 de junio del 2014 cuando Estados Unidos se enfrentó a Alemania en la Copa Mundial de la FIFA en Brasil.
- Bradley ha jugado todos los minutos en los cinco partidos de la selección este año. Adicionalmente, el aquero Nick Rimando ha sido titular en los cinco, mientras que Gyasi Zardes y DeAndre Yedlin han aparecido en los cinco también.
- Resumen de Juego de la Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos -
Encuentro: Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos vs. México
Fecha: 15 de abril, 2015
Torneo: Amistoso Internacional
Sede: Alamodome; San Antonio, Texas
Inicio: 7:30 p.m. CT
Asistencia: 64,369 (lleno completo)
Clima: 73 grados Fahrenheit; bajo techo
Resumen de anotaciones: 1 2 F
USA 0 2 2
MEX 0 0 0
USA – Jordan Morris minuto 49
USA – Juan Agudelo (Michael Bradley) 72
USA: 1-Nick Rimando (22-William Yarbrough, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar González, 19-Ventura Alvarado, 14-Greg Garza (11-Brek Shea, 46); 15-Kyle Beckerman (21-Perry Kitchen, 63), 10-Mix Diskerud (6-Brad Evans, 80), 7-Joe Corona (9-Miguel Ibarra, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 20-Gyasi Zardes, 8-Jordan Morris (17-Juan Agudelo, 65)
Suplentes no utilizados: 5-Matt Besler, 13-Lee Nguyen, 16-Julian Green, 18-Chris Wondolowski
Director Técnico: Jurgen Klinsmann
MEX: 12-Cirilo Saucedo; 21-Hiram Mier (3-Oswaldo Alanís, 46), 2-Francisco Rodríguez (8-Luis Rodríguez, 60), 13-Carlos Salcedo (4-Julio Cesar Domínguez, 46); 7-Efraín Velarde, 17-Mario Osuna, 18-Carlos Esquivel, 15-Gerardo Flores (6-George Corral, 67); 10-Luis Montes (capt.) (5-Antonio Rios, 79), 9-Erick Torres, 20-Eduardo Herrera (19-Marco Bueno, 83)
Suplentes no utilizados: 1-Jonathan Orozco, 16-Adrian Aldrete
Director Técnico: Miguel Herrera
Resumen estadístico: USA / MEX
Tiros: 6 / 13
Tiros a Gol: 4 / 3
Atajadas: 2 / 2
Tiros de Esquina: 5 / 4
Faltas: 13 / 13
Fuera de Lugar: 1 / 0
Árbitro: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Árbitro Asistente 1: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Árbitro Asistente 2: Octavio Jara (CRC)
4th Oficial: Walter Quesada (CRC)
Jugador del Partido Budweiser: Ventura AlvaradoRead more