Mexico exercises its demons in 2-1 victory over USA to begin Hex

USA tastes defeat to begin the Hex in loss to Mexico.

Mexico exercises its demons in 2-1 victory over USA to begin Hex
Mexico defeats USA in Columbus. | Photo: USA Today Sports
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This Friday, in the familiar surroundings of Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, and unfamiliar scoreline flashed on the scoreboard when the full time whistle blew. It read 2-1. But, for once it was not the US Men’s National Team with the two goals, it was Mexico. El Tri won for the first time in the Midwest city as they take all three points with them in a hard fought victory.

Head coach Juan Carlos Osario had this to say after Mexico’s win, "How do I take the victory? For Mexican soccer and the national team it's something extraordinary. It generates confidence and more credibility in the process we're going through. Like all the games, I have some things to take away from it. But I'm happy and share this happiness with all Mexicans. We've got to keep working toward the game with Panama."

Mexico started the match in high gear, looking for that early opening goal. They were given space to run at the USA backline because Jurgen Klinsmann had his side set up with three at the back. It was clear from the start that the defense looked lost and unsure of themselves. The three USMNT central defenders invited pressure early and often.

Mexico applies early pressure

Seven minutes in, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez had a good look from the middle of the box, but his attempt missed just to the left. Three minutes, later, Tim Howard came up huge save to prevent Mexico from scoring. Jesus Corona sent a curling effort towards the far post. Howard did magnificently to get his fingertips to push the ball onto the woodwork.

Finally, in the 20th minute, Mexico got the goal that they were looking after. USA could not clear their lines out of the final third before Miguel Layun for the ball around the box. Layun took a rip, albeit a weak one, from outside of the area and it somehow made its way behind a diving Howard.

Five minutes after Mexico’s first goal, they nearly scored a second. Hernandez got his head on a Corona cross, but the ball bounced back off the crossbar. Had Chicharito found the back of the net, Mexico’s confidence would have skyrocketed.

USA finds an equalizer

To begin the second half, Mexico looked lost and the USA took advantage. The USMNT played the ball deep into the final third and looked to tie the game straight away. They nearly did that, although, thanks to some last ditch defending.

Bobby Wood scores USA goal. | Photo: US Soccer
Bobby Wood scores USA goal. | Photo: US Soccer

In the 49th minute of match, the USA leveled the match at 1-all. Jozy Altidore turned away from a Mexico defender after receiving a pass from the back into space. Then, Altidore laid the ball off to Bobby Wood who proceeded to dance by a couple more defenders before slotting a left-footed shot past Alfredo Talavera.

Marquez wins it late

Mexico had one corner all night long, but they made the most of their opportunity when the chance finally did come. Layun whipped in an inswinging corner and found the head of Rafa Marquez. No one from the US was sitting on the far post and Marquez’ header found that part of the net, securing the victory in the 89th minute.

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