By Ridge Mahoney
Mexico rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit to earn a 2-2 tie Wednesday night, as concerns about the USA’s central defense resurfaced. Goals by Michael Bradley and Chris Wondolowski forged the lead, but a renewed Mexican team took the initiative after halftime and after tying the game nearly went in front. Eddie Johnson helped spark a late American revival that apparently snatched a winning goal by the D.C. United striker, but an erroneous offside call annulled it.
USA Player Ratings
RATING PLAYER (CLUB) GP/G
6 Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) 14/0. Didn’t face any difficult shots in the first half so he controlled the box well with strong punches and clean catches. Much busier in second half, and several times thwarted Mexico with athletic saves both up high and down low.
5 Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake) 3/0. Looked poised and polished getting balls up the wings and moving up field to hit crosses. Showed a deft touch on short passes. Lost his legs a bit in the second half and had trouble containing Miguel Layun a few times.
4 Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) 18/0. Lost the mark on Rafael Marquez on first Mexican goal, reacted slowly to rebound off post on the equalizer. He then regained some of his composure but really struggled at times to deal with Raul Jimenez and Luis Montes. Bounced a header on frame that forced a save.
6 Matt Besler (Sporting KC) 18/0. Not called upon to launch balls over distance, so he kept his touches and passes tidy and simple. Stopped a few attacks early in the second half but wasn’t able to latch onto second balls at other times, and caused some panic in the penalty area by sending a header into dangerous territory.
6 Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew) 25/0. Strong and secure in first half, stretched a few times by Jimenez as Mexico reversed the momentum. Worked a clever read-and-run near the touchline that narrowly missed sending him free into the corner.
6 Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) 35/1. Screened the back four securely, moved intelligently in all directions and passes crisply at the base of a diamond similar to that played by his club team. Struggled to gain possession as Mexico turned the tide but regained a foothold in midfield for a late push.
8 Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) 83/11. Scored at the back post from a Zusi corner and flicked Beltran’s cross to set up the chance for Wondolowski. His influence wavered as Mexico took command, yet he reasserted himself late and worked hard at both ends right to the final whistle.
6 Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) 20/3. Curled a corner kick to the back post for Bradley to bang into the net, and set up a couple of chances for Clint Dempsey with slick touches.
5 Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) 14/0. Flipped sides with Zusi as the U.S. overran Mexico in the first half, served a few effective dead balls with his left foot. Lost track one-v-one of Miguel Layun, who got inside him to shoot high from about 25 yards.
6 Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) 103/36. Wound up on the ground a few times after bamboozling the Mexicans. He sent the ball wide that Beltran crossed and Bradley flicked on for Wondolowski. He launched a couple of shots that were blocked and much of his best work was off the ball to open up space for others.
7 Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) 19/8. He’s been the reverse of Miroslav Klose, who scored more consistently for Germany than he did for his club team, but by sliding in at the back post to score his ninth goal in the last 10 internationals he’s edged into the picture. He worked some nice combinations and swung over a dangerous cross the Mexican keeper Moises Munoz barely got a hand to.
6 Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) 156/57. Fed a nice ball up the wing to Yedlin to earn a corner kick, which he delivered right to Gonzalez for a header at goal. Stood up and stopped one-v-one by Marquez but he kept driving and played a perfect through ball that produced a wrongly disallowed goal.
5 Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes) 46/5. Thrown into the cauldron as Mexico rallied, he dug into a few vital tackles and played solidly as the USA tried to claim a winning goal.
5 Julian Green (Bayern Munich) 1/0. Gained confidence with some clean touches after coming on, barreled 1-v-2 courageously a few times, slipped and lost a ball in a bad spot, got his head to a goal kick to flick it forward.
5 Eddie Johnson (D.C. United) 62/19. Brought energy and won a free kick on the right flank shortly after replacing Wondo, and was later flagged for his obligatory offside call. But he soldiered on and wasn’t offside when he scored a disallowed goal, and also laid a ball back that Edu ballooned into the seats.
5 Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union) 46/1. Brought some needed energy to the middle of the park and plugged up the middle while also moving the ball forward. Took a very bad shot with his first touch.
5 DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC) 2/0. Flew up the right wing to play a nice ball that Dempsey took into the penalty area, lofted a deep cross that the goalkeeper fumbled.
(1=low; 5-average; 10-high.)