Mexico 1 United States of America 1: Yanks Earn Valiant Point at Azteca

Michael Bradley watched Hector Moreno's pass to Javier Hernandez in the center circle and thought back to the videos he had seen of the star pushing the ball back. As a result the players took the field comfortable and confident, which wasn't always the case under Klinsmann. The Hawaiian number 9 was presented with a golden opportunity to double his team's lead, but whiffed on his left-footed swing after chesting the ball down no more than six or seven yards from goal. Willy Roy, Rick Davis, Eddie Lewis, Charlie Davies and Michael Orozco are the other USMNT scorers at the stadium, dating back to 1972.

On the sidewalk outside Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, last fall, US captain Michael Bradley said self-examination and urgency was needed.

"To repeat the lineup we played on Thursday, we would have struggled big-time in the altitude", Arena said. With Jermaine Jones at age 35, the 21-year-old Acosta may very well be the future of the United States midfield. He's good with his feet. It was a fabulous display of instinctive ability. Even if Beasley had an outstanding game, the 35 year old is not good enough to be a first team fullback at the highest worldwide level. But one that caught me totally off guard.

Bradley's goal wasn't enough to give the USMNT a victory.

The U.S. lead lasted fewer than 20 minutes after Carlos Vela tied the game in the 23rd. His score came from 23 yards out. You dropped two points, but you earned one. "We had one or two chances", Guzan told the Los Angeles Times.

ALL'S WELL: After so many decades of heartbreak at the hulking venue, the USA can be proud to have taken a victory and two draws from their last three visits to Azteca. The 5-4-1 Arena employed - with a backline of DeAndre Yedlin, Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and DaMarcus Beasley - was tight, compact, and didn't allow Mexico much space to run, with the help of Bradley and Kellyn Acosta sitting deep ahead of them. He has one goal and an assist in 17 games this season for club and country. "I'm optimistic that we can be better in the next two games of qualifying". It marks the second straight World Cup qualifying cycle in which the U.S. have earned such a result, and constitutes another step forward in coach Bruce Arena's mission to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Hex play continues in September, with the United States hosting Costa Rica in a match that could flip the teams' respective positions in the standings before traveling to play a Honduras squad that the Americans have already soundly defeated 6-0. So these bonds they've acquired over the last four games [are] very important.

The other part might be the presence of a small militia in the form of Mexican police, who escorted American fans from the hotels into the stadium, where the USA supporters watched from mostly behind the aforementioned barbed wire fences. After all, they now jet off to Russian Federation to take part in the Confederations Cup, and remain the runaway Hex leaders, with little fear of stumbling on the road to the World Cup as they did so badly in the 2014 cycle.

  • Leroy Wright