USA-Mexico: Bruce Arena gets it right at the Azteca

A point at the Azteca doesn't make up for dropping three last fall in Columbus, where it had won the four previous meetings, but the USA's 1-1 tie with Mexico is a valuable result on many fronts, not least for giving the players confidence that if they're presented a good plan, like Bruce Arena gave them, they can execute.

The USA came out with three players in the middle of the backline, like it had done in Columbus in November but with different results. The USA was so unprepared and disorganized that midfield leaders Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones had to plead with Jurgen Klinsmann to abandon the 3-5-2 formation midway through the first half of a game that ended with a 2-1 Mexico win.

That and his decision to play the same starting lineup four days later in Costa Rica, where the Ticos crushed the USA, 4-0, were the final straws that cost Klinsmann his job.

Arena is not a big Xs and Os guy, but he is a great organizer. When he was given the national team coaching job a week after the disastrous loss to Costa Rica, he said there was nothing wrong with the team that could not be fixed.

"I really believe individually and positionally we have good players and we just got to get them working together as a team," he said right after he returned as national team coach. "There are no real secrets in how you build good teams. It takes a lot of hard work, it takes communication, it takes discipline and it takes some talent."

Possession: 26% / 74%.
Shots: 7/10.
Saves: 0/0.
Fouls: 21/13.

1. Formation change in the works since opening of camp.

Coming out with a 3-4-3 or 5-4-1 formation, or however you want to describe it, should have come as no surprise.

"We told the team on Day One of this camp that we would play that way in this game," Arena said.

And he tested the formation, finishing the friendly against Venezuela almost man-for-man in the formation the USA opened against Mexico.

Arena wasn't shy either about changing up his lineup. The USA had previously played double dates five times in the Hexagonal under Arena, and he never made more than three lineup changes from the first game to the second.

On Sunday, Arena made seven changes from the team that beat T&T, 2-0, giving Kellyn Acosta and Paul Arriola their first-ever starts in the Hexagonal and DaMarcus Beasley, at the age of 35, his first of the current qualifying cycle.

Hex: USA vs. Mexico at Azteca:
Tie 0-0
2001: Mexico 1-0
2005: Mexico 2-1
2009: Mexico 2-1
2013: Tie 0-0
2017: Tie 1-1

2. Veterans come through with big games.

Only four starters on Sunday had started for the USA at the 2014 World Cup and all had big games, none bigger than Geoff Cameron, who marshaled the backline and made several key stops to keep El Tri from breaching the U.S. defense in the second half.

It is no coincidence he was injured last fall and missed the two November qualifiers the USA lost. In the three qualifiers he's started under Arena, the USA has shutout wins over Honduras and T&T and a tie at Mexico.

Bradley gave the USA the lead in the sixth minute with a shot from more than 40 yards -- arguably the best of his international career -- and almost had a second goal, hitting an equally spectacular shot that hit the outside of the post in the 74th minute.

Omar Gonzalez and Beasley joined Cameron, Tim Ream and DeAndre Yedlin, who both just finished up seasons in England's League Championship, on the backline that limited Mexico to one shot on goal -- Carlos Vela's equalizer in the 23rd minute when El Tri caught Gonzalez and Ream up field on a counterattack following a corner kick.

Mexico had 74 percent of the possession but only a 10-7 edge in shots and 9-7 edge in corner kicks -- in sharp contrast to the 17-1 edge in shots and 15-2 edge in corner kicks it had four years ago when the Mexico-USA game in Mexico City ended 0-0.

Hex: U.S. race for top three
Matchday 1 (4th): -3
Matchday 2 (6th): -4
Matchday 3 (4th): -1
Matchday 4 (4th): -1
Matchday 5 (3rd): +1
*Matchday 6 (3rd): +2
*Two games to be played Tuesday.

3. Acosta makes case as Jones' successor.

Acosta had come on for Clint Dempsey at the hour mark of Thursday's 2-0 win over T&T and brought stability to the midfield next to Bradley. It was no surprise, then, that he got the start on Sunday, in the position often held by Jermaine Jones in the past.

But with Jones injured and relegated to broadcast duties on the Fox Sports studio crew, Acosta took advantage of his opportunity and showed why Arena is so high on him, covering lots of ground like Jones but offering a steadier touch with his passing.

No, the USA did not have a lot of possession but with the introduction of younger players like Bobby Wood, Christian Pulisic, Arriola, Yedlin and Acosta, it was enough to keep Mexico honest.

They provided, as Arena said afterwards, young legs, as well as in the case of Acosta, who played for FC Dallas against Pachuca, and Arriola, who plays for Tijuana, experience playing at altitude in Mexico.

And made the case that any progress the USA has made is as much due to the continued emergence of new talent as a change in approach.

June 11 in Mexico City
Mexico 1 USA 1. Goals: Vela 23; Bradley 6.
Mexico -- Ochoa, Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Alanis (Gallardo 31), Herrera, J. dos Santos (Pineda 77), Fabian (Aquino 53), Vela, Lozano, Hernandez.
USA -- Guzan, Yedlin, Gonzalez, Cameron, Ream, Beasley, Acosta, Bradley, Arriola (Nagbe 64), Wood (Altidore 79), Pulisic (Zusi 90+2).
Yellow Card: USA -- Yedlin 44, Arriola 56.
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).
Att.: 81,000.

99 comments about "USA-Mexico: Bruce Arena gets it right at the Azteca".
  1. cisco martinez, June 12, 2017 at 1:08 a.m.

    USA tactically did everything right playing a 5-4-1, taking advantage of a mistake, punishing Mexico when it mattered, defensively only gave up 2-3 shots on goal, Bradley whom never plays well, today played as a leader and defended tenaciously along with Acosta, Ream played well surprisingly, our wingbacks did well covering the space, Beasley did everything right on the Mexico goal by forcing his winger into pressure, however there was no cover or balance on the transition and perhaps Acosta should have fouled chicharito on the counter. Good overall performance and a tie is a win.

  2. Chris St. Hilaire, June 12, 2017 at 1:56 a.m.

    All the Bradley critics can take the night off...well done, Michael. Let's also take our hats off to Bruce, who isn't afraid to make changes, find the right mix of old and young to give the US the confidence it needs to get us to Russia.

  3. Paul Lorinczi replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:39 p.m.

    That goal now makes Bradley a legend. I am a critic of his back-passing ways, but even recognize that goal is legendary.

  4. John Lockwood, June 12, 2017 at 7:50 a.m.

    "Bradley gave the USA the lead...with a shot from more than 40 years"

    40 years? Light years? That's pretty impressive!

  5. Ginger Peeler replied, June 12, 2017 at 8:22 a.m.

    Auto correct is both a curse and a boon! As we move light years closer to each having our own AI, Bradley boots the ball years, not yards, down the field. Since auto correct has become so aggressive, it, more often than I care for, completely changes what I have intended to say. Whatever, I say hooray for Michael Bradley's light-years-length goal!

  6. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 8:29 a.m.

    That Mexican goal didn't have to be scored if Arena had posted another player who was right footed for the left footed Beasley, for Two Reason. One, The Mexican left- footed attacker on the right wing always cuts inside, which means you DON"T want an American defender, Beasley, with a left foot but a right footed one for only a right footed defender is able to tackle him. THE MEXICAN ATTACKER COULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED. Beasley couldn't do anything but only run alongside with him, but that's it for he couldn't tackle the Mexican attacker and that is the reason why he scored. Two, furthermore, it was big mistake on Arena's "braintrust" for not employing someone with a right foot on the left flank because it is a trend ,today, in soccer ,for some reason, to have attackers cut inside. Arena should have taken this tactical nuance into account for after all, it wouldn't have made any difference to the overall tactical strategy because of his "park the school bus in front of the goal" strategy. NOTICE, how many US defenders ,5, plus goalie, who were marking no-one and were directly in front of the Mexican attacker that scored. In other words One goalie and 5 defenders, of which, one tried to tackle him with his wrong leg, couldn't stop the goal. That is the problem when there are too many defender trying to cover one man for each defender thinks the other one has got him.

  7. stewart hayes replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:23 a.m.

    This type of diagonal run turns the defensive line into a series of 1v1's. While Beasley could have done a better job keeping up, Acosta moving in behind, could have have done a better job blocking the near post corner. In times such as this with the attacker in complete control the defense needs to decide what parts of the goal to block and what to leave to the goalie. Exposing a corner is fatal but often times we see very experienced defenders do just that.

  8. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:44 a.m.


  9. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:18 a.m.

    frank schoon
    Your rant is silly. It was a 100 fast break with emergency defending
    Beasley lunged in and he did not have good help inside because it was after a fast break.
    Have fun keyboard warrior

  10. Scot Sutherland replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:49 a.m.

    The Vela goal had nothing to do with the lineup choices. Wood whiffing on the shot started the play and Mexico was very, very good with the only quality counter-attack they had all game long. Mexico is too technical for any team in CONCACAF to handle when they are on the back foot. The US almost managed to return to shape, but they were too deep and Vela was too good. Wood needed to put a shot on frame, or even miss the goal for a goal kick. He whiffed and Mexico scored, simple as that.

  11. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:49 a.m.

    Ryan, really, a fast break...that is not the point. There are 5 defenders in front of him with one trying to tackle him. What kind of fast break is that it when the Mexican attacker runs square from the sidelines to wards the middle of the of the penalty, thereby giving the US defenders plenty of time to adjust as so aptly seen by the large number of defenders in front of the Mexican attacker, trying to stop....

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:55 a.m.

    Frank, I hear you, but almost every player has a weaker side, so I see your point as "six of one, half a dozen of the other." I think the primary problem was the lack of CB defensive support after Beasley was beat inside, not the fact that Beasley was beat inside. Bradley moved to stop the run, but not quick enough to prevent the shot. I would rather see 2 CBs step up rather than none. Mexico punished us for a mistake, just like Bradley punished them for a lazy back pass.

  13. Kent James replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:02 a.m.

    Frank, good defenders need to be able to tackle on either side, and wingers can either go around the outside and hit a cross (or dribble the endline), or cut inside and take a shot; I think the "footedness" of the player is more important on the offensive end.

  14. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:40 a.m.

    frank - it is no wrong to play a left footed defender on the left?!?

    All you are doing is complaining about Arena. Please - Bruce did a great job and noticed all the little details that helped us get a vital point in a place where few vistors get any points.

    Mistakes happen all the time. Inexcuable - it happened on a fast break with the D scrmabling. US gambled by sending 3 CB foward for the corner. Mexico did a increidble job fast breaking. Beasley did an ok job but should not have lunged in. Cameron should have turned to help stnad Vela up but instead decided to continue back to position. Cameron had an amazing night besides this.

  15. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:13 p.m.

    Bob, as a coach you must look and find weaknesses of the opponents and know the weaknesses of your own players. Yes, every player has weaknesses but it is up to the coach to be able blend players together to hide their weaknesses. In this particular situation because it is on the flank it becomes a matter of a one on one situation. Then it is very simple to understand that Beasley was the wrong player for that position as related to his opponent he is playing against. For example, are you going to allow a slow player guard a real fast opponent, with the excuse of well everybody has weaknesses , so let it be. I don't think so. In this case it is not speed. This is a big coaching mistake for this whole situation of allowing the Mexicans to score could have been prevented. Not only
    that the first thing Beasley failed to do is to force the opponent to go to the outside forcing him to use his right foot, instead of allowing him to inside....This is basic 101 defense and tactics. I can't this believe this mistake was made at this level of soccer

  16. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:36 p.m.

    Kent, that is all nice but that is fairy tale land talk. For what you are saying about good defenders proves my point for obviously this description doesn't fit Beasley for he can't tackle with either leg. There are very ,very few defenders that can tackle with either leg, very rare. This is why great strikers like to go past the defenders weak leg because it forces the defender to tackle with the weak leg. That is one of the golden rules in soccer.

  17. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:42 p.m.

    Ryan, it all comes down to that Beasley ran all the way with the attacker to the center of the field for he couldn't tackle because his left leg is next to the defender. And when Beasley tried to tackle it was fruitless. The time that it took for the attacker to ran square towards the middle beginning from the sideline gave the US defenders enough time to set up and that is why there were 5 defenders in front of the Mexican attacker as he shot

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.

    Frank, while I value winning the 1v1 battles (and as a player this was my primary focus), as a coach I see my focus for defensive organization and training as being on what happens when the marker is beat. In my mind winning comes from anticipating and solving that tactical problem--not from reliance on winning the 1v1 battle. I am not sure but my impression is that the US system had the fullbacks and CMs as man markers while the 3 CBs defended space. I thought Arena's plan, if viewed horizontally rather than vertically, was extremely good. It matched Mexico's preference for 5 attackers using the width of the field with 5 defenders. The 3 CBs covered the possible lanes for through balls. The key to any system's success, however, is players recognizing the breakdowns and filling the holes. That is knowing when to break the rules. I am not saying that you are wrong about the Coaches responsibility to anticipate the opponent's game plan and counter it. I am just explaining how I see things. Regardless, I suspect that we both agree that for the most part the match was well played and well managed on both sides.

  19. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:02 p.m.

    your comments are getting slightly less crazy.

    couldn't tackle because his left leg is next to the defender.
    agreed he should have moved towards him differently. Doesn't have to do with what foot the guy uses to pass the ball.

    And when Beasley tried to tackle it was fruitless.
    agreed he didn't execute well and Vela rode the challenge very well.
    The time that it took for the attacker to ran square towards the middle beginning from the sideline gave the US defenders enough time to set up and that is why there were 5 defenders in front of the Mexican attacker as he shot
    no it didn't because they were scrambling back due to fast break. They were also trying to account for the 3 MNT attackers.

  20. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:04 p.m.

    by the way what right footed defender did he have available?
    Besler? prefer Beasley over Besler at LB
    Fabian Johnson? tired from Thur game

  21. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:07 p.m.

    Bob, I don't want to get into the weeds with all this but as Cruyff says 'soccer is a simple game' but people tend to make it difficult. One, the US played a "park the bus in front of the goal"defense. That means there is no shortage of US defenders. That often in games you will see good attackers going down the wing like the Mexican being marked by two defenders, we didn't do that and we had plenty of defenders . And in the US case we have plenty of defenders to help out. Bruce Arena and his staff totally overlook the capability of the Mexican attacker of cutting inside which is a standard play for all teams in the world, so this should not have been a shock. Arena should have known Beasley's weakness if the attacker decides to cut in and therefore if he decided to go with Beasley than knowing his weakness should have had
    backup support with a right foot...It is that simple, but Arena didn't do that and therefore I fault the coaching
    staff for this big oversight. This isn't rocket science, this have been obvious for Arena

  22. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:12 p.m.

    Ryan, In the end there were 5 defenders in front of the shooter, that is the proof in the pudding....we can argue about this and that but in the end We had 5 defenders there in front of him

  23. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:23 p.m.

    Ryan, remember player play defense and offense. That is why offensive players come back to help out. But in this, let us say we right footed defenders which is hard to believe but anyway, it could have a right footed midfielder to be used as back up to Beasley...Remember teams who play very defensively like the way the US did will often have 2 defenders going at the flank attacker...

  24. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 4:36 p.m.

    Bob, on this lazy back pass Bradley took advantage of is something the coaches can't control but the mistake with Beasley the coach could have been controlled that. That is the difference between the two mistakes..

  25. Paul Cuadros, June 12, 2017 at 8:39 a.m.

    USA did well, got an early goal and held on to win defensively. Arena showed he's tactician but is he a strategist? Klinsman was a strategist but didn't have time or talent to implement. That all said, the MEX goal is as much Guzan's fault for drifting too much to center and not covering that left post to where Vela's cutback shot found its mark. A couple of steps to his left and he makes the play.

  26. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 8:51 a.m.

    This was Beasley's man, no matter how you look at it. Beasley followed him all the way to the center of the penalty box and didn't attempt anything to stop for he wasn't's that simple...

  27. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:03 a.m.

    Paul, at this level it is all about the 'little details" of the game, as I stated about Beasley, not the overall strategy.
    It doesn't take much brains or strategy to play' park the bus in front of the goal and blast it long". Just like the goal we scored, for it had nothing to do with brains or thinking, it just fell into our lap. What takes brains it to look at all the little details that can decide a game. Defensive organization "park the bus strategy" is so much easier to implement than an offensive one, which takes so much more brainwork.

  28. Wooden Ships replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:23 a.m.

    Paul and Frank, I'm certainly giving credit to Arena. He had the team ready and focused. I wouldn't have started Guzan, for several reasons, nor would I have started Beasley. As the match wore on I was applauding Demarcus and his toughness gutting it out. I enjoy watching our elder statesmen play hard. Happy for Bradley, great shot(s) but why does he struggle so with consistency from game to game. We were fortunate to get the point and I was on the edge of my seat when I thought CP might steal the game near the end. Had that happened, USSF would had to have held its first ever coronation. Chemistry is back.

  29. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:45 a.m.

    So now according to Frank it's a tactical error not to play a right-footed guy at left-back?

  30. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:54 a.m.

    Ships, I don't know if the chemistry is back,that is too soon to tell. But even if we have perfect chemistry ,let us say, what good does it do when you allow a Beasley mistake which was inexcusable at this level for anyone with half a soccer brain could see this was a glaring tactical mistake.

  31. Ginger Peeler replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:58 a.m.

    Paul and Frank, don't forget that Arena was hired to make sure we qualified for the World Cup. And while we all hoped for at least a tie or a win (after all, any given team can be beaten on any given day, right?), I would say most fans expected to lose...while, hopefully, making a good showing and a decent defense for the USA. And then we would have to win out on our remaining games, but it was doable. Almost all goals can be traced to someone's error or mistake. Don't try to tell me that those Mexican defenders realized Michael Bradley could blow by them and chip over the goalkeeper to score.

  32. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:16 a.m.

    Ginger, goals happen by mistakes ,sure, like Bradleys goal which came because of terrible passing mistake. The Mexican goal didn't have to happen if the coaching staff had taken into account that attackers today cut inside. Therefore to counter an attacker to cut inside and become a threat you prepare ahead of time,for that eventuality...that is good coaching. . And the way that is done is to have right footed defender play on the left side

  33. Kent James replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:08 a.m.

    Vela's move on Beasley was good offense, not bad defense (at least on Beasley's part). Beasley came very close to stopping it (and Vela had fended off his challenge before shooting, and on the shot, Beasley made a good last ditch effort to block it). The problem on the play was that though there were guys back, no one stepped up to help Beasley. I think Cameron had gotten back in position, but inexplicably did not challenge Vela as he cut across. Acosta tried, but he was too far away. It was a good shot, but from that distance, I was a bit surprised Guzan did not have a better play on it (he may have been screened for a second).

  34. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:11 a.m.

    So now it is a tactical mistake to play a left-footed player at left-back (and presumably the same is true on the other side?

  35. Eugene Chang replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:36 a.m.

    Frank, if you watch the replay carefully you will see that Bradley began to move with pace into position to intercept the back pass even before Chicharito received it. He was well coached to anticipate that Chicharito would pass the ball in that situation and in fact he saw it coming from a mile away. This reflects good coaching and preparation along with MB's skill! The goal was not the result of a `terrible passing mistake' as you claim but rather an outstanding play by the U.S. team. Secondly, putting a right-footed player at left back might have proved useful on that single play -- however, what about when the left back is expected to move into attack and cross the ball? Both Beasley and Yedlin were pushing up the field all game long, that was a big part of the plan. Not to mention, the U.S. doesn't exactly have an abundance of left backs, so where is this right-footed left back that Arena should have started? While we should give Mexico credit for an excellent counter-attack, in my opinion, the real missed opportunity to shut down the attack was by Acosta around midfield when he completely failed to slow down Chicharito. Arriola in the second half was faced with a similar counter attack and he brought the attacker down -- granted he earned a yellow card but he halted the threat.

  36. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:46 a.m.

    Beasley can't make a tackle with his right because he is primarily left footed?
    he is a pro player and should be able to tackle with both feet.
    Vela is a hell of a player and fended Beasley off well.
    No on helped Beasley inside. But Vela did a great job staying tricky across the box and creating a little space for himself to rip a heck of a shot.

  37. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:50 a.m.

    frank schoon - Bradley goal came becuas of a terrible passing mistake?
    Maybe - more has to do with great read by Bradley and a ridiculously good awareness and finish.

    Bradley has been quoted as saying they watch video on Chicarito and what he does when he comes back deep to get a touch on the ball. Camerson stepped up very high to cut his turn to 1 side. Bradley read this and didn't close the man but jumped the space. Not a great pass by Chicarito because if Bradley doesn't get it then maybe Pulisic gets it or it is a 50 50.

  38. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:26 p.m.

    Kent , it was poor defense on Beasley's part for he allowed the attacker to cut inside instead of forcing him to the outside thus forcing the attacker to use his right foot.
    Next it was poor defense, team wise, for Beasley had no back support which to me was unreal for the whole US team except for one player is in their own defensive third since they played 'park the bus". In other words there were no shortage of defenders to help out Beasley. Yes, Beasley ran with the attacker all the way to the center of the field, I guess maybe sharing a cup of coffee and a donut
    Beasley's last ditch effort was useless for he has no right leg and that is my point...

  39. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:41 p.m.

    frank schoon
    does not make sense to reduce the whole game to playing an inverted defensive left back.
    Silly to slame Arena when the guy obvioiusly made so many correct choices on the night and in leading up to this night in training.
    Got a result at Azteca which is a rare once per decade occurence even on longer rest with weaker MNT opponents.

  40. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:50 p.m.

    Eugene, it has nothing with to do Bradley or whatever, for in the end there were 5 defenders in front of the Mexican attacker when he shot the ball. And that is all you need to know for there were plenty of defenders of which was one ,Beasley, tried to tackle him. Not only that the fact that the Mexican attacker ran square from sideline towards the middle of the penalty box gave the US team plenty of time to set up and that is why there were 5 defenders in front of the Mexican many defenders do you need, besides none of the defenders weren't even guarding anyone.

  41. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:11 p.m.


    Kent , it was poor defense on Beasley's part for he allowed the attacker to cut inside instead of forcing him to the outside thus forcing the attacker to use his right foot. Next it was poor defense, team wise, for Beasley had no back support which to me was unreal for the whole US team except for one player is in their own defensive third since they played 'park the bus".

    Not during this play. The US was gambling (heavily) sending all 3 CB into the box to get a knock down to Wood.

    In other words there were no shortage of defenders to help out Beasley.

    Yes on freeze frame it would look that way but if you watch the highlights you would realize they are spriting back to position and scrambling.

    Yes, Beasley ran with the attacker all the way to the center of the field, I guess maybe sharing a cup of coffee and a donut Beasley's last ditch effort was useless for he has no right leg and that is my point...

    Beasley - showed him the outside and Vela took it inside. Vela could have easily cut it back to the outside. Coffee and donut? he lunged in a bit (strangely with his left) but we are talking tackling not cm perfect pass.

  42. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 4:08 p.m.

    Ryan , the game came down to a goal that should have been prevented. To say he made other good decisions ,well I can say the same for Klinsman in his stint. But a coach gets evaluated and according to you since he made a lot of good decisions more than bad than most coaches would never be fired. But this particular situation its is all about soccer, it was clear, it is not rocket science but if you elect to play defense like the US did than he has to cover all bases ,especially this particular one which was a very easy one

  43. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 4:21 p.m.

    Ryan , it was a terrible pass. First of all it was way too slow if it was a hard pass it would not have mattered if Bradley had anticipated it would not have been a problem ,then.

  44. Eve Montgomery, June 12, 2017 at 8:56 a.m.

    Paul, as you say "Klinnsman didn't have the time or talent to implement...."??? Pray tell me Who plays now who was NOT available to Klinnsman? How many more YEARS (!!!!!) of his random, disorganized, nonsensical (but according to you "strategic") position and player choices (leading to a string of pitiful results and a demoralized team) would you have liked to see? Hilarious to hear some still hanging on to Klinnsman's ghost.

  45. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:47 a.m.

    Yeah that was an odd statement. JK was coach for five years which is longer than most international managers get. He had good big picture ideas about the game in this country and I would have been happy for him to stay on as technical director but he's a poor coach and awful tactician.

  46. Walt Pericciuoli, June 12, 2017 at 9:06 a.m.

    Guzan,should have been able to save that goal. He moves like an elephant. Credit all goes to the USA defenders for playing a smart tactical game and not giving Guzan that much to do other than wave his arms, yell at everyone and waste time before he boots the ball upfield losing possession.

  47. Wooden Ships replied, June 12, 2017 at 9:28 a.m.

    Agreed Walt. Unless there was an injury, I can't for the life of me see how he picks Guzan over Howard.

  48. Paul Stierle, June 12, 2017 at 9:32 a.m.

    2 good results in a short turn around. I have been very happy ever since Arena has been back. He is showing us we have more depth than in the Klinsman era. I hope Mexico can get to the finals for the confederations cup. They are a great team. But we were able to secure a point. Maybe Tim could of done better in goal. But it is not trying to sacrifice players to injuries. Now to September. Okay the Gold cup.

  49. Joe Linzner, June 12, 2017 at 9:33 a.m.

    the godlike brilliance if Arena will make us Russia 2018 World Cup Champions. I most certainly will say that his perfect version of park and boot is tactically and strategically perfect.

  50. Kent James replied, June 12, 2017 at 11:12 a.m.

    While I'm generally not a fan of hunkering down and playing for the counter, if ever there is a place to do it, it is Azteca, and we did it well (we had at least as many good chances to score as they did). WC qualifying is the place to play for a result (and even given the tactics, it was a good game to watch).

  51. K Michael replied, June 12, 2017 at 12:17 p.m.

    Broken record, Joe. Joe, broken record. Mucho gusto.

  52. Brian Kraft replied, June 12, 2017 at 12:59 p.m.

    Joe, I don't know how your team has been lately but ours is doing great, thanks. In fact, just last night we left Azteca with a point!

  53. Fire Paul Gardner Now, June 12, 2017 at 9:49 a.m.

    Anyone know why Timmy didn't play? Even if he was only able to play one of these games I would have thought Bruce would play him in this game rather than against T&T.

  54. Ginger Peeler replied, June 12, 2017 at 10:25 a.m.

    Not sure if I read it in Soccer America or read/saw video of Arena commenting on B/R or MLS apps...he felt Howard is still not 100% and, following his particular surgery, his body's not yet ready for the stretches, etc, required by his saves. Also, Guzan has played in goal in Azteca before, so he knew what to expect. Certainly, Azteca can be overwhelming for any visiting team...the way Arena interspersed the newbies with the old folks was brilliant! Everyone stayed calm and we scored first! How often doesnTHAT happen? Arena did a great job preparing the team. Someplace, I read that this is our first competitive (non-friendly) tie in Azteca!

  55. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:08 p.m.

    The article was wrong. 1997 final qualifying round, 0 to 0 tie. US hung on for 58 minutes with 10 men. US won over the home town crowd by the end of the match. Does that bring back some memories? Thomas Dooley was outstanding. The match story is still available at

  56. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:35 p.m.

    We also drew there 0-0 in the qualifier last cycle.

  57. Ginger Peeler replied, June 12, 2017 at 6:20 p.m.

    Guys, I apologize for misspeaking. I realized my error after I hit submit and figured somebody would catch it. What I meant to say was that this was the first tied game where both teams scored!!! No cero a cero, but uno a uno! I'm curious if this is the first Mexico/USA game where the USA scored first.

  58. Brooks Cochrum, June 12, 2017 at 10:43 a.m.

    Jesse Gonzalez at the Gold Cup please please please please please.

    He is the best shot at keeping our long running high level keeping for the USMNT. It is extremely imperative and he MUST be capped at the Gold Cup. Bruce has to know how good he is and how great he can be.

    He also very impressively accepted a benching last year for his teammate that was so hot and in form last year. was very impressive for such a young player to handle himself this way...speaks volumes to Arena I trust.

  59. Ginger Peeler, June 12, 2017 at 11:01 a.m.

    Everything I've read/heard about Jesse is that he is our best up-and-coming goalkeeper. That he may grow into our best keeper ever! Last I had heard, he'd chosen to play for Mexico, and then decided to make himself available to the States. He's already on out initial roster submitted for the Gold Cup. I believe he still has to sign a paper stating that he wants to make a one time transfer from the Mexican team to the USA. Exciting!

  60. metro metro, June 12, 2017 at 11:25 a.m.

    frank schoon

    PLEASE - yes a fast break is the point as the defense was not set at all and way out of position not able to lend support
    3 defenders in front of him - 2 running hard to get back into position and decided to get behind the ball rather then confront the player moving inside.
    3 seconds is the cut from outside to shot

  61. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:17 p.m.

    Ryan, I don't how to put it any further but at the time of the shot there 5 men in front of him of which one trying to tackle him....That I think says enough....

  62. Charles Stamos, June 12, 2017 at 11:31 a.m.

    Well done recently, now get the roster and starting 11 right during the Gold Cup! This is imperative going forward and Arena's next task. This will be a perfect time to use the 1st round games to weed out the pretenders and then keep the core together in the knock out rounds to get some team work.

  63. Brian Kraft, June 12, 2017 at 11:37 a.m.

    What would frank schoon say if Vela had beaten Beasley around the corner and run at goal along the byline? THAT is the most dangerous situation in soccer. Beasley did his job and didn't get the help that should have come. Team fail.

  64. metro metro replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:14 p.m.

    agreed - most dangerous was Vela driving hard to the goalpost. There was huge space that way. Beasley made a clumsy attempt to win the ball BUT did not get help when his man turned to the center of the field.

  65. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 2:29 p.m.

    Brian, First there is no guarantees in soccer. Second if Vela did beat Beasley around the outside that means he can't shoot for he has no angle and he would have to employ his weak leg. Next, I rather face that situation than having Vela facing the full mouth of the goal and shooting with his best foot which he was successful at.

  66. John Hofmann, June 12, 2017 at 11:43 a.m.

    I believe there was a quick comment about Guzan/Howard by one of the game announcers early on - that Arena remained concerned about Howard's overall condition (was afraid of the possibility of another injury and quick exit/goalie exchange, as took place last year) because of the faster than normal turnaround. That if it had been the full no. of days between, and the U.S. had been playing on Tuesday vs. Sunday, that Howard would have started.

  67. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 2:46 p.m.


  68. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 2:50 p.m.


  69. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.


  70. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 3:02 p.m.


  71. frank schoon, June 12, 2017 at 3:07 p.m.


  72. Nick Daverese, June 12, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    Frank you said he could not tackle the dribbler because his left leg was closest to the attacker. Do you remember US soccer player Bobby Convey. He was a small player. He would draw level with a bigger player and slide on the player using the foot closest to the player and get the ball and sweep the ball away from the dribbler then get up and wind the ball. So you can definely win the ball on a slide tackle using the near foot and not the far foot to win the ball, it is just another skill to be learned by a defender or any other player.

  73. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 3:43 p.m.


  74. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 3:47 p.m.

    Nick, sorry ,I didn't realize I answered you in caps...would you believe yesterday when I was tanking up my car , I left the car running...Unbelievable

  75. Nick Daverese, June 12, 2017 at 3:28 p.m.

    On tip 39 yes absolutely right. That is how smaller players score on headers. I think the first run a receiver should make is the near post run so they can see the ball with no defender in their way. If you can see the ball you can score. Why the big print?

  76. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 3:40 p.m.


  77. metro metro, June 12, 2017 at 4:46 p.m.

    frank schoon sees Arena doing a poor job in getting the US out of last place in the Hex. LOL
    Arena picked up 4 of 6 points which is exactly what you want. Win at home Tie on the road. Advance to the next round.

    Frank - who should have been playing instead of Beasley? From the available player pool? From the possible player pool?
    Not just TIPS but actual comments.

  78. frank schoon replied, June 12, 2017 at 5:42 p.m.

    Ryan, I'm just stating a point about the game and why the Mexicans scored and how we could prevented it. I stated my reasons, nothing more, nothing less. I respect everyone's opinion and I will answer very respectfully without getting into personal attacks and suppositions.
    I wish you a good day.....

  79. metro metro replied, June 13, 2017 at 9:08 a.m.

    you stated 1 possible tiny consideration amoung dozens of consideration but slammed Arena and his team. Stating your point is not what you are doing.

    You consistently state their were 5 defenders behind the ball but that is a freeze frame comment and doesn't consider any context.

  80. frank schoon replied, June 13, 2017 at 10:12 a.m.

    Ryan, my criticism was on Arena's and his coaching staff on what had led up to this particular Mexican goal. So in other words any particular criticism of Arena in your fantasy mind automatically infers that Arena is doing a poor job...Brilliant deduction, WOW, keep it up...

  81. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 13, 2017 at 11:13 a.m.

    Frank says he will be respectful and in the next post starts name calling like a school boy. Typical of this guy unfortunately.

  82. Bob Myers, June 12, 2017 at 5:03 p.m.

    Once he collected the ball, Vela easily beat Beasley who briefly stumbled and failed to catch up as Vela left-footed it in for Mexico's only goal. And to make matters worse Guzan did not close down the near post.

  83. Brian McLindsay replied, June 12, 2017 at 7:29 p.m.

    Bob, I've watched the play a few times and it appears to me DaMarcus intended to turn the play inside (almost certainly expecting some inside help that didn't materialize). I would have thought taking a lefty to the byline would have been his normal decision, so it would be interesting to know his thoughts. I think trying to avoid anyone turning a play inside by putting our second best left backs in (all right footed), is folly as what the left footed back brings to that position is significant game long and not just on one play.

  84. Bob Ashpole replied, June 12, 2017 at 7:33 p.m.

    Even with the goal, Beasley and Cameron both had excellent matches. Just not perfect.

  85. Zabivaka Sobaka, June 12, 2017 at 9:36 p.m.

    Quarterback where are you?.....Please come back!!!!!

  86. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 13, 2017 at 11:14 a.m.

    Looks like QTD created a new name under which he'll beg for his own return. Then he'll return with his usual batch of inanities and negativism.

  87. don Lamb replied, June 13, 2017 at 2:36 p.m.

    RIP, Sobaka. Shameful...

  88. Zabivaka Sobaka, June 13, 2017 at 6:32 p.m.

    wolves love lamb...tasty

  89. Zabivaka Sobaka, June 13, 2017 at 6:41 p.m.

    It is awesome...just follow schoon's tips and win the World Cup

  90. Zabivaka Sobaka, June 13, 2017 at 8:18 p.m.

    Ginger, you seem to be the only person here who makes sense. Check out this site, you will find it interesting.

  91. beautiful game, June 14, 2017 at 11:42 a.m.

    Both goals were well executed...pondering over the Tri-goal is the usual could have, should have, would have whining. Give credit to the executioner.

  92. Kent James replied, June 15, 2017 at 9:56 a.m.

    Yeah, that was my point. Bradley's anticipation (born, we learn, of studying Mexico's tendencies) was great defense (he took an appropriate risk), and then the composure and technique (a low, relatively hard, chip) were superb. Vela's strong move got him by Beasley (though not by much); sometimes defenders get beaten, which is why they need support. The problem was, especially given the defensive orientation of the 5 back line, that the support (I think Cameron was the one who should have helped), was not forthcoming. But that too was a function of both the US being aggressive offensively (sending up their defenders on the corner kick), and Mexico's quick counter. Unless you think all goals are a result of defensive errors, sometimes you just have to credit the offense. To blame Vela's goal on Arena's use of Beasely at left back is quite a stretch (how often was he beaten? Yedlin was much more suspect on the other side, though he improved throughout the game).

  93. frank schoon replied, June 15, 2017 at 10:21 a.m.

    KENT, it had nothing to do with a strong move beating Beasley. As a matter of fact there was no strong move at all when cutting inside. Vela, cuts inside ,dribbling with his left foot, thus keeping his body between the ball and Beasley. Beasley just ran along with him, all the way towards the middle of the field because he can't tackle him with his left leg. He might just as well have drank a cup of coffee running along side Vela,because he can't do anything. This was a big mistake on Arena and his staff. Every team in the world has a flank attackers cut inside with the strong foot because you have a better chance at shooting a hard shot on goal. Robben of Bayern is a perfect example of it. Once Arena decided to play 'park the bus in front of the goal, the next step in tightening up the defense would be how to stop or neutralize flank attackers cutting and shoot with the strong foot. Arena FAILED providing that particular aspect of defense. It has nothing to do with how well Beasley played or not. It is about taking advantage of Beasley's weakness which Arena did not take into account. It is that simple

  94. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 15, 2017 at 11:21 a.m.

    Complete nonsense Frank. Playing a left-footed player at left-back is not a tactical mistake.

  95. Zabivaka Sobaka replied, June 16, 2017 at 9:02 p.m.

    It was a moment of excellence by Vela and blaming Beasley or coachis retarded

  96. frank schoon, June 14, 2017 at 1:04 p.m.

    I W, these 2 goals, nice in themselves were the result of two egregious mistakes in soccer. One was a technical mistake that you can't do anything about but the other was tactical which was preventable....In another situation the importance of this tactical mistake could have cost a team relegation, a championship ,a qualification or a world cup trip. I hope Arena has learned from this faux pas.

  97. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 14, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.

    It wasn't a mistake by Arena and I guarantee that left-footed players will be at left-back the rest of the campaign and if they aren't (i.e. Fabian Johnson) it won't be for the reasons you set forth in your comments.

  98. Bob Ashpole replied, June 14, 2017 at 10:26 p.m.

    FPGN, you misunderstood Franks comments. He did say that the LB should be right footed, but he wasn't saying you cannot play left-footed players at left back. He said you need to have a supporting right-footed player if the LB is left footed. It is all about covering weaknesses, i.e., what if the attacker cuts inside (the cover should be right footed). Another way of putting it is: a roster is stronger if all the player pairs include both strong right and strong left feet (2 footed players are few and far between). Generally speaking the first defender wants to push the first attacker into the strong foot of the second defender.

  99. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, June 15, 2017 at 11:24 a.m.

    I don't think that's what he said but I also don't agree with your interpretation. In any event, I believe every other player on the field other than Ream and Guzan are right-footed. Cameron probably should have stepped forward to challenge Vela and Beasley could have made a greater effort to force Vela onto his right foot down the flank. Both are mistakes by those players, not tactical errors by Arena. It's total Monday morning quarterbacking by Frank in an effort to blame a coach he doesn't like.

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