A frenetic start to the match saw Mexico apply heavy, high pressure for much of the opening 30 minutes. The USA defense was up to the task, keeping Mexico from generating threatening plays in the final third. The best chance for the hosts came from Manuel Mayorgo, who broke in on goal but was denied by a fantastic sliding tackle from USA center back Mauricio Pineda.
The U.S. slowly began to get more comfortable dealing with the press and finding teammates between lines. Djordje Mihailovic was a frequent outlet, though he was often quickly fouled to prevent any build-up play. The USA had more possession over the last quarter hour, leading to a handful of free kicks from wide spots, though none resulted in opportunities on frame. On one chance, Mexico’s starting goalkeeper Luis Malagon was injured and had to be replaced by Sebastian Jurado.
With the game leveling out, Mexico’s Uriel Antuna pounced on a misplayed pass just before the break and scored from the top of the area past diving U.S. goalkeeper David Ochoa.
The USA’s first shot on goal came just before the hour mark, when midfielder Johnny Cardoso– from his knees – headed down a corner kick from Mihailovic that made its way through the bodies in the area but fell right to Jurado.
Needing a spark, the USA made all five substitutions after the half and continued trying to apply pressure, though couldn’t find an equalizer. In a physical, tightly-contested game, the teams combined to commit 40 fouls on the night.
The U-23 USMNT will next play the crucial semifinal match versus the winner of Group B, which will be decided by Friday evening’s match between Canada and Honduras. The winner will earn a spot in the 2020 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament and advance to the Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship Final.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
MEX– Uriel Antuna, 45th minute: Pouncing on a misplayed pass, Antuna advanced to the top of the box, cut to his right and fired a low shot past diving U.S. goalkeeper David Ochoa to open the scoring. USA 0, MEX 1
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS
USA – Mauricio Pineda, 28th minute: After defending well as a team for the first half hour, Pineda made a fantastic individual play to keep the game scoreless. Mexico’s Manuel Mayorga beat his defender at the corner of the box and advanced towards goal. Just as he was about to shoot with his left foot from 12 yards out, Pineda made well-timed slide to kick the ball off Mayorga’s feet for a corner kick.
USA – David Ochoa 83rd minute: Mexico’s Alexis Vega’s free kick from the left just outside the box was whipped in with pace, leaving Ochoa to measure whether it would be flicked on or make its way through. He made the right call and caught the ball on the goal line to keep the game within reach.
The U.S. is now 2-2-0 vs. Mexico at Olympic qualifying since it became an Under-23 competition in 1992. This was the teams’ first meeting since 2004, a match also played at Estadio Jalisco.
After making six changes between the first two games, head coach Jason Kreis also made six changes to the starting line-up that defeated the Dominican Republic in the last match: Ochoa returned to goal, Mauricio Pineda and Aaron Herrera replaced Justen Glad and Sam Vines on defense, Djordje Mihailovic came on for Jackson Yuell in midfield, and Hassani Dotson and Sebastian Soto replaced Jesus Ferreira and Jonathan Lewis up top.
Mihailovic wore the captain’s armband in place of Yueill.
While no player started all three matches, 11 players appeared in the three group stage matches: Araujo, Cardoso, Dotson, Ferreira, Lewis, Michel, Mihailovic, Perea, Saucedo, Soto, Yueill.
Soto made his first start of the tournament, becoming the 18th different player to start a match for the USA at Olympic qualifying.
Mexico’s goal was the first conceded by the U.S. in this tournament.
- U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team vs. Dominican Republic
Date: March 24, 2021
Competition: Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship – Group A
Venue: Estadio Jalisco; Guadalajara, Mexico
Attendance: Limited attendance
Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. local
Weather: 75 degrees; fair
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
MEX 1 0 1
MEX – Uriel Antuna 45th minute
USA: 20-David Ochoa, 2-Julian Araujo, 3-Henry Kessler, 5-Mauricio Pineda, 17-Aaron Herrera, 15-Andrés Perea (6-Jackson Yueill, 61), 16-Johnny Cardoso (7-Jonathan Lewis, 61), 8-Djordje Mihailovic (capt.), 10-Sebastian Saucedo (14-Benji Michel, 71), 18-Hassani Dotson (11-Tanner Tessmann, 75), 19-Sebastian Soto (Jesus Ferreira, 61)
Substitutes not used: 1-JT Marcinkowski, 12-Matt Freese, 4-Justen Glad, 13-Sam Vines
Head coach: Jason Kreis
MEX: 1-Luis Malagon (12-Sebastian Jurado, 39), 2-Vladimir Loroña, 3-Manuel Mayorga, 4-Gilberto Sepulveda, 5-Johan Vasquez, 9-Jose Macias (19-Jesus Ricardo Angulo, 70), 10-Alexis Vega, 11-Roberto Alvarado (8-Carlos Rodriguez, 70), 14-Erick Aguirre (capt.), 15-Uriel Antuna, 16-Jose Esquivel
Substitutes not used: 20-Carlos Moreno, 6-Alan Cervantes, 7-Santiago Muñoz, 13-Alan Mozo, 17-Sebastian Cordova, 18-Jesus Alberto Angulo
Head coach: Jaime Lozano
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 7 / 13
Shots on Goal: 1 / 3
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 18 / 22
Offside: 1 / 2
MEX- Johan Vasquez (caution) 84th minute
USA - David Ochoa (caution) 84
Referee: Daneon Parchment (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Nicholas Anderson (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Walter Lopez (HON)
Fourth Official: Said Martinez (HON)