JAMIE HILL - Thursday, March 1, 2012
The US U-23 team defeated its Mexican counterpart by a familiar scoreline on Wednesday night in FC Dallas Stadium, two to zero.
The match was the last of three friendlies in the final U-23 camp prior to the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. US U-23 coach Caleb Porter assembled the strongest squad he could, although Timmy Chandler, Danny Williams, Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea, Terrence Boyd, and Josh Gatt were unavailable due to senior national team duty or injury.
The US dominated the run of play for much of the match, but scored both goals in quick succession late in the first half.
In the 34th minute, Juan Agudelo opened the scoring by heading home a Mix Diskerud corner after making a good near post run.
The US doubled their lead only moments later when Freddy Adu cut in from the right flank and smashed a low, driven shot from outside the 18. The shot was subtly deflected by Diskerud and beat the Mexican goalkeeper to the near post.
The Americans nearly extended their lead off another Diskerud corner when Ike Opara beat his marker to the ball, but his header was saved at close range.
In the opening stages of the second half, the Mexican team found itself utterly under siege, but the US failed to find a third goal.
As the half progressed, Mexico found more of the ball and enjoyed their strongest portion of the match. In the 72nd minute, Marco Fabian was controversially denied a penalty after he went down in the box following contact from Zarek Valentin. The referee instead issued Fabian a yellow card for simulation.
The US successfully staved off last-minute Mexican pressure as the team tired and adopted a more defensive stance in the final 10 minutes of the match.
The US will begin its CONCACAF Olympic qualifying campaign in Nashville on March 22 against Cuba.