Thursday, August 11, 2011

USA 1 - Mexico 1

The United States got a quick return after losing the Gold Cup final to Mexico in June, meeting in a friendly on Wednesday night in Philadelphia.

In front of 30,138 fans, it looked like the game was going to be all Mexico. The USA finished the first-half with no shots while Mexico went into halftime with a goal. Oribe Peralta scored in the 16th minute. The United States regrouped in the second-half, coming close to scoring just before Klinsmann used his first substitutions in the 60th minute. It would be a sub proving the difference for the US, with Robbie Rogers scoring two minutes after entering the game for Michael Bradley. Fellow sub Brek Shea had the assist on the Rogers goal.

"I think we stopped giving them so much respect and we put them under pressure," US midfielder Landon Donovan told ESPN following the game. "When they're under pressure, they don't do well. They don't like it."

The game was the debut for new National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who saw his squad regroup to get an equalizer.

"What we were lacking in the first-half was putting pressure on them, going into their half in the final third and creating chances," Klinsmann said.... "We kept the pace up and we expected them to struggle a little bit towards the end of the game. I think there are some players that can make a difference here. Landon, obviously, but Robbie Rogers and Brek Shea, they have the qualities to go one-on-one. Those qualities that Mexico have as well, but they are attacking midfielders. That is really fun to see. They’re taking people on and they’re going into the box. That’s what changed with them coming in as subs."

Ridge Mahoney writes of the persona of new USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann-

After a stodgy beginning, the USA took on the bright, energetic personality of its coach to push forward zealously, equalize and nearly steal a winning goal in the final minutes.

When Robbie Rogers equalized, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann jumped along the sideline, pumped his fists, and did everything he did as a goalscorer except launch into a full-length belly slide. He fairly bubbled in his postgame interview on ESPN2, and a string of sweeping attacks in the final half an hour certainly merited such enthusiasm.

Not so noticeable but just as vital was some resilient central defensive play by Carlos Bocanegra and Michael Orozco Fiscal, who blocked numerous crosses and picked off threatening diagonal balls after Mexico had breached the flanks. While Klinsmann has preached his devotion to attacking play, he is acutely aware of organization and discipline in the defensive third and despite a vast advantage in possession for much of the match, Mexico carved open only a few good chances, and were scrambling to hold off the USA in the final minutes.

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