It was brutish, ugly and quite often unpleasant, but, it, somehow, happened. The U.S. Men’s National Team beat Mexico 1-0 in Azteca, to earn their first ever win on Mexican soil. A goal, set up by Brek Shea, pushed on with a backheel by Terrence Boyd and scored by Michael Orozco Fiscal against the run of play, made the difference. This will look better in the history books and few will disown them as the B-team.
This was the best an American back four has looked in a while (Well, the U.S. back four besides Edgar Castillo). Fabian Johnson is fast emerging as one of the first-choice U.S. players. Geoff Cameron was solid, and, given the dearth of American options in the middle, should be considered for a starting role. Maurice Edu out of position was athletic, which was at least a partial upgrade. It would be unfair, however, not to mention how that performance was aided by some terrible Mexican finishing. Chicharito may face a struggle to regain his place in Man United’s striker rotation.
As good as the back four looked, the midfield has to be better. With Michael Bradley absent, the U.S. was largely shut out of the attacking zone. When they did gain possession, they could not string together a pass. Jermaine Jones’ negative qualities have far outweighed his positive ones. Brek Shea was the one bright spot in his brief second-half interlude. He came on and did what most have expected him to do, blow by his marker and create opportunities on goal.
The U.S. needs to close the gap by winning games that count, but this lifted weight will give Klinsmann’s team an undoubted boost heading into the next round of qualifiers.
[Photo via Getty]