1. Sydney Leroux makes strong case for a starting job.
Sydney Leroux came into the game with no goals in just 123 minutes in the first seven matches of the year. But in her first start, the former UCLA star may have won a starting job. She scored two and could have had a couple more, but it was her set-up work and runs off the ball that impressed. She twice timed her runs to break through and beat Santiago, and she had a hand in Abby Wambach's second goal, scored on a header off a cross from tricky Tobin Heath.
After Wambach and Amy Rodriguez started against Ireland a week earlier, Christen Press and Leroux started against Mexico. Off of Sunday night's performance, the likely starters up front against Australia in the Women's World Cup opener June 8 in Winnipeg will be longtime pals Leroux and Morgan, who led the USA to the 2008 Under-20 Women's World Cup title and are both married to Sporting Kansas City players.
Morgan Brian, the youngest player on the team, started on the right side of midfield, where Press has been playing. Press, who was subbed for Wambach at the half, still remains the likely starter against the Matildas, but Brian had a strong game with her service into the area.
2. The USA ups the tempo and is rewarded.
The USA is now 6-0-1 after opening the year with a 2-0 loss to France in Lorient, but its performance against Mexico was its best of the year.
Woeful finishing plagued the Americans against New Zealand and Ireland, but Santiago saved Mexico time and again, foiling Megan Rapinoe no less than four times from close range. Garciamendez cleared shots by Carli Lloyd and Brian off the line, and Lloyd also hit the crossbar.
The USA played at a tempo few teams in the world can match, pressuring Mexico throughout and combining well. It once again showed off its depth, getting three goals and two assists from players off the bench.
3. A big gracias to Leo Cuellar and El Tri Femenil.
Many have wondered if this is the end of the road for Leo Cuellar, the 1978 Mexico World Cup captain who built Mexico's women's program from scratch, beginning in the late 1990s. But after a poor showing in Concacaf qualifying -- Mexico qualified as the third-place team -- Cuellar went back to the drawing board.
Benefiting from an intense preparation that included heavy training on the beach and in the mountains, Mexico hung with the USA for more than an hour. It was rewarded with a goal by Californian Ariana Calderon, one of six Mexican-Americans Cuellar started.
The USA could have not asked for better sparring partners than El Tri Femenil.
TRIVIA. The goal Calderon scored was the first Hope Solo has allowed in goal in 536 minutes.
May 17 in Carson, Calif.
USA 5 Mexico 1. Goals: Leroux 28 (Rapinoe), Chalupny (Wambach) 46, Wambach pen. 58, Leroux (Brian) 61, Wambach (Heath) 72; Calderon (Sierra) 39.
USA -- Solo; Krieger (O'Hara 70), Johnston (Rampone 46), Sauerbrunn (Engen, 70), Klingenberg (Chalupny 46); Brian (Heath 62), Holiday, Lloyd, Rapinoe; Leroux, Press (Wambach 46).
Mexico -- Santiago, Sierra, Garciamendez, Murillo (Ruiz 64), Robles, Rangel, V.Perez, Calderon (Cuellar 42; Alvarado 69), Ocampo, Romero, Corral.