The USA-Mexico game was decided on Rafa Marquez
's goal in the 89th minute, but the tone of the game, won by El Tri, 2-1, was set early when Mexico came out and befuddled the USA with its
interplay. U.S. captain Michael Bradley
admired how they pulled the U.S. defense in an early blitz.
"Tactically, they do some interesting things," Bradley said, "and they space
themselves out in a really good way. So you have to have clear ideas about how you’re going to deal with that and how you’re going to close them down, because if you don’t, then
it’s easy to get pulled around, and it’s easy to have guys who step out of one space trying to close something down, and that’s exactly the space they’re going to end up
That's what happened repeatedly in midfield -- where U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann
lamented the inability of Jermaine Jones
and Bradley to win one-on-one
duels -- and on the outside, particularly on the side of the field with Timmy Chandler
, the wide player in the USA's 3-5-2.
After one goal and two shots off the woodwork in the
first 25 minutes, the USA adjusted, going back to its traditional 4-4-2.
“I think ultimately it was [decided] amongst us all,” Bradley said. “It was clear that it made
sense to change. Look, specifically, they overloaded our right side, which meant that Timmy Chandler could never step out, because [Jesus] Corona
was staying very high and very wide. So it
wasn't easy for Timmy Chandler to ever step out to [Miguel] Layun
. And then the other one that was floating over there was [Giovani] dos Santos
a lot, and Chicharito [Javier
] coming over. So they had a clear idea in terms of how they wanted to overload that side. It meant that Timmy Chandler got pinned back and ideally we wanted him to be able to step out
and press Layun."