Mexico vs USMNT final score: Huge wasted chances at Azteca
The United States men’s national team will rue a number of missed big chances from a scoreless draw with Mexico at Azteca in what was a superior display minus the lack of finishing.
Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa made four saves and Christian Pulisic and Jordan Pefok missed golden chances to give the Yanks a rare World Cup qualifying win away to Mexico.
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Goals matter and are the reason the Americans have not yet qualified for Qatar 2022. Lifting the lid on the defense or spraying in crosses remain the side’s best hope rather than ideas in possession, but that was going to be enough to get three points at Azteca on another day. The Yanks have now scored 0, 4, 0, 1, 0, and 0 goals in their six away qualifiers so far.
With Costa Rica beating 10-man Canada and Panama drawing Honduras, the Yanks will be fine with a win over Panama at home on Sunday. Failing that, they go to Costa Rica on Wednesday.
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The U.S. clinches a World Cup berth on Sunday by beating Panama with Costa Rica losing points at El Salvador, or drawing Panama and seeing Costa Rica lose at El Salvador.
Mexico stays on 22 points, level with the U.S. and three back of Canada, and finishes qualifying with Honduras away and El Salvador at Azteca.
Mexico vs USMNT final score, stats
Mexico 0, USMNT 0
Shot attempts: Mexico 11, USMNT 9
Shots on goal: Mexico 2, USMNT 4
Possession: Mexico 63, USMNT 37
Three things we learned from Mexico vs USMNT
1. A telling chance (or chances) missed by Yanks, but it’s encouraging: The United States men’s national team went into Azteca, did not look intimidated from Moment No. 1, and should feel aggrieved to not have left altitude with a 1-0 win or better. The Yanks weren’t just better than Mexico, but they’re clearly a superior side right now even without Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, and others. And it’s encouraging that while the most promising talents are figuring themselves out in the white shirt, players like DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta are just kinda doing their jobs when in the past they would’ve been asked to be key pieces.
The USMNT-Mexico rivalry has had big swings in momentum over the last decade but there is no question the Yanks are on the upswing now and the fact that the team leaves one of their houses of horrors feeling like they blew it is a bad-great sign. Christian Pulisic and Jordan Pefok should’ve had this in bed ages ago.
2. This Mexico side is not doing anything in Qatar: Tata Martino better sort out some new energy for his unit because Mexico looks like a side prepped to go group stage and out (presuming they arrive at the 2022 World Cup). Sure there’s talent there, but it’s all reaction and little plan. Truth be told, both teams displayed a lack of significant quality at times but Mexico’s only hopes on the night were when the Americans fell asleep. It’s cool to take advantage of mistakes, but when that’s your plan at home against a rival? Yeesh.
3. Berhalter shows his best and worst as USMNT boss: At his best, Gregg Berhalter picks out a sound but slightly surprising tactical plan that catches the opposition off guard, then hits them with clever subs. And it should’ve worked. In fact, if Pulisic beats Ochoa with his big first-half chance or Jordan Pefok doesn’t butcher a great feed from Giovanni Reyna (or both?), the Yanks are cruising out of Mexico City with Berhalter the undisputed king of this stage of our country’s biggest men’s soccer rivalry. Putting Pefok and Reyna in appears great even with the miss, especially after Reyna had one run of full Maradona through the Mexican defense.
But then came pulling off Tyler Adams -- who was a yellow away from suspension and has shown himself ignorant of yellow-card danger in a U.S. Shirt before -- and DeAndre Yedlin -- who may’ve been cramping -- for ice-cold center backs Erik Palmer-Brown and Aaron Long was baffling. Then Christian Pulisic was removed moments later. It appears Berhalter decided that it was time to go for a point instead of three and Mexico knew that, seizing possession. At that stage of the game, it feels like time to go for the throat. As Thomas Tuchel said in a much-bigger sample size last week, it’s the risk of losing a point versus taking two more.
The fact of the matter is that the U.S. refuses to believe in its own results. Taking off Tyler Adams in the 80th minute due to fear of another yellow card shows a lack of faith in the player and a lack of belief in the club’s big depth. This was, all told, an 80-minute investment in three points that was put at risk of being thrown away “just in case” Adams wouldn’t be available against Panama, who this side has beaten at home with much worse players at center mid.
Man of the Match: Tyler Adams -- What a player. Look at the game flow (green is Mexico, blue the U.S.) from the pretty much the first moment Adams left the pitch (final 10 minutes, via SofaScore).
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