MEXICO CITY – Too many times the United States national team has come out of the Azteca Stadium boiling, at the wrong end of the score streak, they can’t be counted. Usually it’s because the visitors got killed by 1,000 passes, there was no match for Mexico’s systematic possession match, and they mocked “”first! ” crowd invitations. And on the rare occasions that the United States left Mexico City in a tie, it felt like it had survived and not thrived.
On Thursday, the 0-0 draw for the American team came from a much different place. It was the visitors who created the best chances at the Azteca, especially in the first half. It was Mexico that rode a goalkeeper’s hot hand, in this case Ochoa notefor survival. Mexico’s xG was 0.55 the lowest in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Yes, the US crossed the finish line, taking an approach anywhere you wanted to pass the last 15 minutes. Manager Greg Berhalter threw all his defenders at his disposal – both Eric Palmer Brown And the Aaron Long They got their first appearance in the World Cup qualifiers. It was enough for the United States to secure a valuable point on the road.
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So it’s hard to know exactly how you feel about the result and its impact on the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings. Heading into this match window, four points seemed enough to get the US into Qatar. This result puts the Berhalter team in a good position to achieve this goal. It did so missing the quartet of important players in Weston McKinneyAnd the Brendan AronsonAnd the Matt Turner And the Sergino Dest Added to the good feelings at the final whistle.
However, this sense of accomplishment went hand in hand with disappointment and for multiple reasons. This was one of the evenings of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers that offered a boon in the form of Panama’s 1-1 draw with Honduras, who are in last place in the standings. United States victory over Canaleros In Orlando on Sunday and the United States can hit their four-point goal and stop worrying about Panama dropping out of their World Cup spot as they did four years ago.
But here comes Costa Rica. The United States did not get the assistance requested from Canada, with Los Ticos Prevailing 1-0. Now Costa Rica has crawled inside three points from the United States and Mexico. There is a possibility that the United States’ final day game in San Jose against Ticos could have some meaning. Thursday’s win would have kept them an arm’s length away. Perhaps that is why Berhalter described Thursday’s result as a “positive disappointment”, although for the players it skewed towards the former rather than the latter.
“The group is so lively, they’re excited,” Berhalter said. We wanted to be the first [U.S.] Team to beat Mexico in the Azteca. We fell a little short, but the mood did not worsen at all. It’s the opposite.”
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Perhaps later, the American team’s collective thoughts will drift to the opportunities it failed to convert, and the remaining two points are on the table. Younes MusaIn the 13th minute the leadership of Ochoa forced a dive. No shame there. But Christian Pulisic He grabbed a great opportunity in the 35th minute, trying to hit his right-footed shot in Ochoa after getting close to the action before. Clean Acosta.
A more glorious opportunity appeared in the second half, with Jiu Rena It seems that tee up a fellow alternate Jordan Bivok For a chance wide open, only for the young striker to provide better clearance than an attempt on goal, all from just 8 yards away. Mexico was not without its opportunities either. The United States would be grateful for that don’t you seeTheir attackers either miss the goal or hit the ball directly at the goalkeeper zach steven.
Regardless, the opportunity now before the United States is somewhat similar to what it faced more than four years ago. Two matches and the fate of the US team remained in his hands. The match at home against Panama is good in the ability of this American team to achieve victory. Take care of business in Orlando and the trip to Qatar is about to come to an end. There’s still a chance it’ll be a party night if other results go the American team’s way. It would be fitting if El Salvador, with former US international midfielder Hugo Perez at the helm, could provide the United States with strength.
There are some reasons for concern. Reggie CannonPositive COVID-19 test with De Andre YadlinHis suspension for a second caution in the playoffs leaves the United States with a dearth at right-back. Shack Mor The team is already waiting in Orlando, but that only goes one way towards addressing the depth issue in this situation.
yellow card Tim Weah His selection would force him to pull out of the Panama match as well, but that was made up for by Reina’s return. The Borussia Dortmund striker scored his first World Cup qualifying minutes since last September after suffering an injury, and an intermittent streak in the second half showed his ability. He certainly deserved help for the way he established Pefok.
Another piece of good news was that Tyler Adams He made it through the match carefree, which made him available for the weekend. “I thought he was great, especially with his energy levels,” Berhalter said of Adams. “Maybe I’d like to see him on the ball a little more. But overall it was a really solid performance. Our goal was to get him out of about 60. [minutes]And I think we’re a little over that. But he should be good to go for the next match.”
That is if Adams and the rest of his teammates can make a move after the energy they put in against Mexico. Berhalter said his team will have plenty of time to recover. If the players do, the World Cup ticket could be theirs, without any ambiguity about how they feel.
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