The United States qualified for the World Cup late Tuesday night on the strength of, what else, a 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. Could it be any other way than Dos a Cero? It’s now four straight wins over Mexico in qualifiers played in Columbus that have ended up 2-0. The results in 2006 and tonight were World Cup clinchers, too.
These U.S. matches in Columbus have also turned into some sort of American soccer gathering every four years. This gathering is, naturally, BYOB — Bring Your Own Beard, or alternately — Bring Your Own Bandanna. (Take your pick.)
The U.S. win on its own wasn’t enough to officially lock up a seventh straight World Cup spot. The United States needed help from Honduras and it got it in the form of Wilson Palacios and his utterly audacious chip vs. Panama, which put Los Catrachos ahead 2-1. The match finished 2-2, but it was enough for the U.S. to celebrate. Honduras, too, remains in solid shape to qualify for its second straight World Cup.
As an added bonus it looks like Mexico is headed toward a playoff with New Zealand if it wants to qualify for Brazil since it will likely finish in fourth place in CONCACAF qualifying.
Tuesday night isn’t a night to worry about breaking down the U.S. game from a tactical standpoint since Jurgen Klinsmann used a lineup he’ll likely never use ever again.
The U.S. was its usual pragmatic self. After a listless first half, Klinsmann’s team did just enough to ensure another 2-0 win against a truly hapless Mexican outfit which looks lost.
If anything tonight’s result did a lot to show last week’s loss at Costa Rica can be chalked up to the shock of losing Michael Bradley minutes before kickoff. The U.S. certainly didn’t look like worldbeaters at Crew Stadium, but they didn’t have to since Mexico seemed to deflate completely following Eddie Johnson’s goal broke the deadlock early in the second half. Without four important players — Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron — the U.S. did what it had to do.
Players filling roles like Alejandro Bedoya and Fabian Johnson gave commendable, solid 90-minute performances. They weren’t flashy but flash doesn’t always win international matches, especially of the CONCACAF qualifier variety. Jermaine Jones too showed his continued worth, playing a blessedly incident-free game.
For one night at least, all is is right with the soccer world. It’s time to go party! U-S-A a-okay! Dos a Cero! We are going to Brazil!
Don’t think this result matters all that much? It was enough for Tim Howard — who made three important first-half saves — to crack a goofy smile.
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