US hangs on for point against Mexico
MEXICO CITY (AFP) –
USA survived a second-half onslaught by Mexico to hang on for a 0-0 draw at the Azteca Stadium, picking up a crucial qualification point on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The United States was on the back foot for much of the second 45 but weathered the storm thanks to goalkeeper Brad Guzan who made a string of impressive saves.
“It was a bit hectic and crazy late in the game but you never come to Azteca and expect to have it easy,” Guzan said.
Mexico had 15 corner kicks but failed to capitalize as the US claimed just its second away point against Mexico in World Cup qualifying history.
Heading into the match the United States had a 0-13-1 record in World Cup qualifiers in Mexico.
“Many people doubted us but we came together as a group,” USA forward Herculez Gomez said. “It’s really impressive. This is a great group of guys.”
American manager Jurgen Klinsmann was forced to make a couple of changes to the starting 11 that beat Costa Rica in blizzard conditions last week, but the switches paid off.
Maurice Edu was inserted into the midfield in place of Jermaine Jones who suffered a foot injury in Friday’s 1-0 win.
Defender Matt Besler was given the nod ahead of Clarence Goodson, who is nursing a hamstring injury.
Mexico was the more aggressive team throughout. They had their first great chance just eight minutes into the game when Carlos Salcido was taken down just outside the box. But the free kick sailed over the crossbar.
In the 77th minute Mexico felt it should have had a penalty when Javier Aquino was dragged down by Edu but the referee waved away the claims and the players complained vehemently to the officials during and after the match.
Guzan made a diving save in stoppage time following a thunderous drive by Diego Reyes from just outside the penalty area and the US held on for a draw.
The result leaves the United States in third place in the group with four points, while Mexico has three draws from three matches and sits in fifth place. The Americans next qualifying game is June 7 against Jamaica.
Panama is top of the group with five points after beating Honduras 2-0 on Tuesday with goals from Luis Tejada and Blas Perez.
In the other match, Michael Umana and Diego Calvo scored as Costa Rica earned its first win of the round with a 2-0 victory over Jamaica.