It was the United States Men’s National Team who took center stage at the world renown Azteca Stadium and drew against Mexico, 1-1. A completely different look for the United States saw them travel South to Mexico City and earn a much-needed point in the Hex Stage.
Upon the lineup announcements, it was noticed that FC Dallas and Plano, Texas native Kellyn Acosta earned himself a spot in the starting eleven for Bruce Arena. The young midfielder played an incredible game while wearing his country’s colors. He looked both calm and composed as well as if he had been there before. A strong and competent workmanlike performance from the FC Dallas star.
Once the kickoff whistle blew, it didn’t take long for the game to get exciting. The United States long-term captain Michael Bradley silenced the Mexican City fortress only six games into the match. After picking off Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Bradley took a touch past midfield and chipped a long direct ball over the top of Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (who has been rumored with FC Dallas as a potential signing). Bradley stunned the whole Azteca crowd – scratch that, the whole world! The beautiful chip saw the United States go out in front early. A testament that reflected on the rest of the match.
But it didn’t take long for Mexico to bounce back. Only 17 minutes after Bradley’s goal, a breakdown in defense between DeMarcus Beasley and Tim Ream saw Mexico’s Carlos Vela dribble towards the eighteen and fire a low ball near post right past U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The goal was a classy response from the opposing side.
The rest of the match remained exciting and thrilling. Both Mexico and the United States had a shot ring off the crossbar/post in the second half. Fans at the stadium were loud from both sides and Twitter continued to blow up with tension and nerves.
The match ended even at 1-1 with Vela’s goal being the match decider. With this point, the United States seem themselves remain third in the Hex Stage, which is enough to give them a ticket to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. With the U.S. and Mexico playing their match two days early, the U.S. do have a game in hand over Panama, who sit fourth in the Hex Stage with six points. A win against Honduras could see Panama take over the United States, potentially knocking them out of contention.
The United States will return to play on July 1st in an international friendly against Ghana at the Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Renschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The match will be aired live on ESPN, UniMas, and UDN (pregame 4 pm ET).