[MEXICO-USA] The USA held Mexico to a 0-0 tie to earn only its second point ever in World Cup qualifying against the Tri at Azteca Stadium. The scoreless draw
was the second for Mexico in two Hexagonal home matches and dropped it to fifth place in the standings after three games.
WASTED CHANCES. Brad Guzan will return to England, surely thinking the job of U.S. national team goalie is a cushy one. At least compared to what he faces each weekend with Aston Villa. It wasn't until stoppage time that Guzan had to make a tough save, parrying Angel Reyna's shot from distance.
Mexico finished with a 19-1 edge in shots, but only three were on target. The Tri's frustrating evening was never more evident than on Javier Hernandez's wide-open header from close range that missed in the 28th minute. Chicharito remains scoreless against the USA.
BACKLINE OF THE FUTURE? Before the game, Clarence Goodson, who had started against Costa Rica Friday, told U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann his hamstring could hold out, so Klinsmann went with Matt Besler alongside Omar Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and Besler looked like they have played together all their lives. Fact is, they played together once -- in the 0-0 tie with Canada in January, which also happened to be Besler's only previous cap.
Their communication was excellent as they took turns breaking up Mexican attacks. The Tri didn't help itself with its predictable approach. It insisted on trying to break through from the wings, but it was not able to take advantage of Geoff Cameron on the right and DaMarcus Beasley on the left.
Beasley is the fifth player to start for the USA at left back in World Cup qualifying, but no one has played better. He took a knock to his jaw in Colorado, was stepped on the arm in Azteca and looked to be favoring his hamstring for part of the second half, but again played very well.
With the possible exception of the right back position -- which Steve Cherundolo will likely regain if he is again 100 percent -- we could have seen the U.S. national team backline of the immediate future on display Tuesday night.
WHERE'S THE ATTACK? Before anyone jumps overboard about the U.S. performance, it shouldn't be forgotten that the USA was only credited with one shot on Tuesday night.
For all his work, Jozy Altidore left Tuesday night's game early in the second half with his record intact of having yet to score for the USA during the Klinsmann era.
Herculez Gomez again did a yeoman's job but it was almost entirely in the U.S. half -- not the kind of work you're used to seeing him do in Mexico, where he has been one of the most consistent scorers over the last three seasons.
HEXAGONAL WATCH. After three games, the USA is tied with Costa Rica and Honduras for second place, a point behind surprise leader Panama and a point ahead of Mexico.
The four points tied a U.S. record for its lowest output after the first three games in the history of the Hexagonal, but Klinsmann and Co. will certainly take it. After the 2-1 loss to Honduras, the USA was looking at the possibility of opening with just three points, if not less.
Mexico's late collapse in San Pedro Sula, where it blew a 2-0 lead and had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Honduras on Friday, looms large in the Hexagonal race -- very much a win-win situation for the USA.
Either Mexico will get back in the hunt by starting to pick up points on the road -- and taking points from the USA's other rivals -- or it will fade in the standings. For the first 170 minutes of the Hexagonal, Honduras looked like the team to beat, but the Catrachos still dropped five of six points in the last two games -- two points against Mexico and then three in a 2-0 loss at Panama on Tuesday night.
Here's how the Hexagonal will turn out, if teams hold serve at home the rest of the way: USA, Costa Rica 16 points; Panama, Jamaica 14; Honduras 13; Mexico 12.
March 26 in Mexico City
Mexico 0 USA 0.
Mexico -- Ochoa; Meza, Reyes, Moreno, Torres Nilo (Reyna, 73); Salcido, Zavala, Aquino (Bravo 82), Guardado; Dos Santos, Hernandez.
USA -- Guzan; Cameron, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Bradley, Edu; Zusi (Shea 83), Dempsey, Gomez (Davis 72); Altidore (E.Johnson, 56).
Referee: Walter Lopez (Guatemala).
PTS TEAM W-T-L +/-
5 Panama 1-2-0 5-3
4 Costa Rica 1-1-1 5-4
4 USA 1-1-1 2-2
4 Honduras 1-1-1 4-5
3 Mexico 0-3-0 2-2
2 Jamaica 0-2-1 1-3