BRENT LATHAM - Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Mexico vs United States
World Cup Qualifying - Wednesday August 12, 2009
Estadio Azteca
The United States let an early lead slip away and conceded a late goal to fall once again at El Azteca and left themselves in the thick of the battle for qualification to the 2010 World Cup.

The Americans came out in a similar lineup to the one which brought them Confederations Cup success in South Africa, as head coach Bob Bradley included nine of the starters from the historic semifinal victory over Spain in Bloemfontein.

Veteran Steve Cherundolo reclaimed his right back spot from Jonathan Spector, and Brian Ching replaced Jozy Altidore alongside Charlie Davies in the attack.

The Mexicans looked dangerous in the very early going, with young Giovanni Dos Santos making a weaving run into the American half before being halted at the eighteen by defender Oguchi Onyewu.

But the Americans were the first to break through in the ninth minute, when Landon Donovan put his stamp on the match. The LA Galaxy midfielder collected a loose ball inside the Mexican half and threaded an inch perfect pass through the Mexican defense to a streaking Davies.

The recent Sochaux addition touched into the box and outran the closing Mexican defense to the eighteen, where he rifled the ball past Guillermo Ochoa into the back of the Mexican net, giving the Americans their first ever lead at El Azteca.

The lead would be short lived though, as just ten minutes later Israel Castro found space 25 yards from the American net and slammed a shot past a diving Tim Howard and off the bottom of the crossbar, tying the game.

Mexico continued to apply pressure, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco ended over a dangerous free kick when Jay DeMerit earned a yellow card on a foul just outside the box. Howard managed to punch Blanco's winding service away.

In the 34th minute the Americans had their next chance, as Cherundolo was tripped on an overlapping run into Mexican territory, giving Donovan a free kick 40 yards from goal which Onyewu just missed getting on the end of.

The half ended with Mexico streaming forward again and Dos Santos sending a ball down the right side for Castro, whose cross was dealt with nicely by Onyewu.

The second half would be much of the same, with Mexico applying pressure throughout, and the Americans growing progressively more tired in the thin air of Mexico City. After just ten minutes, Mexico coach Javier Aguirre went to his bench, bringing on Carlos Vela and Nery Castillo to liven up the attack.

Bradley countered immediately, replacing Ricardo Clark with Benny Feilhaber, and sending Stuart Holden on for Ching, with Clint Dempsey sliding up front next to Charlie Davies.

The substitutions steadied the weary Americans, but Dos Santos nearly managed to put the Mexicans on top in the 68th minute when Andres Guardado got free down the right side and crossed into the American area, where the former Barcelona playmaker controlled, only to see his shot turned away by Howard.

Three minutes later, the visitors nearly snatched the lead when Holden was sent down the right side and swung in an inch perfect ball for Charlie Davies, but the former BC Eagle lost the ball in the afternoon sun and was unable to get his head on it.

Just a minute later Davies had the ball in the net, but the goal was waved off when the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.

As the Mexicans became desperate for the go-ahead goal, the Panamanian referee began to lose control of the game. With Davies down on the ground with cramps, a number of Mexican players gathered around and pulled on him, instigating a fracas. Despite violent aggressions of the Mexican players, Moreno carded Felihaber and Castillo, and waved the game on.

With just minutes remaining, Mexico finally got the goal they so desperately needed. Dos Santos beat Bocanegra and Donovan down the right side and sent a dangerous ball into the six yard box. Demerit managed to deflect it, but the loose ball fell to substitute Miguel Sabah, who easily placed a shot past Howard and into the roof of the net.

"Imagine if we hadn't gotten the result today what the press would have said," Mexican forward Guille Franco told YA after the match. "They have been very hard on the team lately, and this result helps get us back in the fight for qualification."

Despite the loss, midfielder Michael Bradley said he didn't the loss was a letdown by the United States, but rather the Mexican team getting done what the needed to.

"I don't think you can call it a letdown or anything like that," said Bradley. "This is a hard place to play, we came in knowing that, and it's not anything you're not ready for."

Bradley said the US could have taken more advantage of their early lead, but the they did well to control the flow of the game in the second half.

"After the goal we let them in a little to quick, and the second half they had possession of the ball, I thought we did a good job controlling that."

The US now finds itself in a difficult situation in World Cup qualifying, in third place following Honduras' thrashing of Costa Rica Wednesday night, with Mexico also hot on their heels.

"You know coming in that these ten games are going to be hard games," Bradley said. "You know that you have to play well for ten games to get in the World Cup. It's not anything that we didn't expect coming in and now we come back in September for two more games."

The US next takes the field in mid September at home against El Salvador. Mexico will host Honduras that same day.
Friday August 14, 2009 10:48 pm
this is for Gulati ,, change the coach now ,, first JJ, them Bruce ,, and now BB ,,please we already waste a generation w/ bruce ,, same mistake again,,,people go to de stadiums if they see their team win,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
,new coach now
Friday August 14, 2009 7:14 pm
What in the heck is wrong with coach Bradley? Please explain to me Brain Ching over Jozy Altidore, WTF?.... Cherundolo over Spector WTF? After a great showing at the confederations cup with the perfect lineup.

you change it... WTF? Please lets replace this coach Bradley. JUST HORRIBLE IN NOT STARTING ALTIDORE AND SPECTOR...... I AM REALLY MAD
Friday August 14, 2009 2:04 pm
who knows how we could contact this gulati dude so he could get an idea how anger fans are. in other countries the fans could influence the decision as to who the coach is. but not in the US... the is no really passion to the sport and that is the problem. americans look at football as a political tool. because if anyone of you writing on this forum loved the game as much as you say you do. we will not accept this under performance of our national pride. we would do everything to let our voices heard. BB is not the guy now and will not be the guy then.
if england tat has one of the pro leagues in the world and world class coaches has an foreigner as head coach what about the US.
Friday August 14, 2009 4:44 am
The lineup i think we should have the rest off the way:
Dolo Gooch Boca Spector......WE can also put in Demerit for Boca (LD) DEmpsey Jones CAstillo
Donovan (FEilhaber)..LD should be use almost like a third forward
Altidore DAvies.....Cooper can come in for either one.
Thursday August 13, 2009 8:59 pm
Carlos Bocanegra was the cause of both Mexico goals. He didn't continue to apply pressure on the first goal and let the forward split between him and Donovan on the second goal. Awful performance for him.

Ching brought absolutely nothing to the game.

Dempsey was invisible most of the game as well.

I think Bob Bradley should have started Altidore and brought on Davies later when everyone was fatigued, more bang for the buck (although can't argue with the early goal).

The early goal may have caused the US to back into a shell and not keep pressing like they were prior to the goal.

A pretty good effort in a very hostile environment. The 12th man was very helpful to Mexico and, oh yeah, the crowd was too.
i like tuesday
Thursday August 13, 2009 6:14 pm
I think Jose's line-up just might work. We can probably beat anybody if we have an extra player on the field.
Thursday August 13, 2009 5:26 pm
like i said Davies ,,or cooper
Thursday August 13, 2009 5:23 pm
cherundol gooch spector boca

torres jones

donovan holden dempsey

davies cooper

kinsman (coach) thats al we need...
Thursday August 13, 2009 5:09 pm
Mr. Gulati don't care...and don't read this articles, i wonder if he ever play football (soccer) before...please change coach now... don't waste another generation of good players because they want to put in our head that American coaches are good... we need word class coach to put better tactics there and our players show the best of them,,if coach BB care about our future and don't waste this generation step the under 20's that's all he is capable...everybody send e-mail to the federation,in any other country the coach would do be fire at this time and don't tell me this is a slow process... why waste this good players,we can do better than this w/another coach
Thursday August 13, 2009 5:04 pm
The question of whether or not to replace Bob Bradley, begs the point of just whom it is that would be making this decision... because if the program as a whole isn't also rethought, we are liable just to see a new variation on an old theme.

It goes to the thinking of many in the US Soccer community, that bigger is always better, that speed is more important than touch or vision... if any of you have ever been to an ODP selection and training session and actually watched how we identify and choose just which players to use, you will so often see that it is not middle class or poor kids but rich white suburban kids AND THEIR PARENTS... we get what we look for and that is the staus quo.

Then later, usually in a colegiate setting, those very same players are molded into cookie cutter "Work Rate" wonders and passed through a wholly inadequate short season of play and... well, the vast majority don't go or do anything! Then the few that are left, tend to be drafted by our MLS people where they might see the field some, but are no more likely to develop into the next Platini or Cruyff... then they either grow stale and quit or get injured and cut... and we start this farce all over again!

Just Firing Bob Bradley and replacing him with another member of his clique won't really change the situation and bringing in a Top level foreign coach without changing the feeder system, while it might improve us in the short run... still won't change this equation.

And look, if you actually have touch players like Torres, like Feilhaber or Holden ... you have to use them, but that's a whole other rant.
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