International Football

Mexico vs USA: Defensive Strategy Leads to American Victory

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - AUGUST 15:  Michael Orozco of the United States celebrates after scoring with teammates during a FIFA friendly match between Mexico and US at Azteca Stadium on August 15, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images
Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2012

Thanks to its defense, the United States Men's National Team left Mexico with a victory for the first time in 75 years.

The Americans pulled out a 1-0 victory over Mexico (stats via USSoccer.com) because of a goal in the 80th minute by Michael Orozco Fiscal. It took 25 tries, but the team finally left the country with a win.

Both teams were without key players, but it counts as a victory nonetheless. 

Defense won the game for the USMNT. Goalie Tim Howard played a great game, and he made saves with the game on the line. As good as he was, the defense was even more important.

The United States could only manage four shots all game, while Mexico got 11 shots. Not only did Mexico have the advantage in shots, but the team also had nine corner kicks compared to zero for the United States.

Orozco Fiscal, Geoff Cameron and Edgar Castillo prevented Mexico from getting clean looks on goal for most of the game. Despite having 11 shots, they only managed to get two shots on target. 

Midfielders helped the defenders slow down Mexico, and the strategy paid off with a victory. 

Under coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the team has focused on defense. Since losing to Mexico 4-2 in June 2011, the team has allowed more than one goal only twice in 16 matches.  It has only occurred once in 2012.

Klinsmann is turning this team into a very good defensive unit. The USMNT missed the 2012 Olympics, but it is on the rise. The team is in the middle of trying to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, and it will continue to rely on defense.

While the offense is still a question mark, the defense keeps the team in games. Once the offense improves, the United States will become a contender in major tournaments. 

Howard is continuing to be solid in the net, and he gets help from the defense. Teams like Mexico get shots off, but they fail to get many on goal with the tough defense. 

The Americans are turning into a good team, and Klinsmann's defensive strategy is the biggest reason for the improvement.

Now that the USMNT has won in Mexico, the team needs to continue to play defense as World Cup qualifying progresses.

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