The United States picked up a huge 0-0 draw against Mexico in their World Cup qualifier to put them in a strong position in their CONCACAF qualifying group.
Playing away at the daunting Azteca Stadium, the USMNT defended gallantly against everything El Tri threw at them and emerged with a very crucial point for their 2014 World Cup qualifier.
USA and Mexico end in a 0-0 draw. It's only the 2nd away point U.S. has ever gotten vs Mexico in World Cup qualifying history (0-13-2).— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 27, 2013
As expected, Mexico started the match with the majority of possession and attacking chances, as the U.S. struggled to keep control of the ball.
The home side received one of their best chances early after some magical passing down the right flank involving Giovani dos Santos, who saw Mexico with a great chance inside the box. Unfortunately, the cross would not find its mark—Javier Hernandez—and the Americans would survive.
However, it wouldn't come without controversy, as a foul was possibly caused by contact—something the referee did not agree with.
Dos Santos and Hernandez would continue to pepper the U.S. goal throughout the first half, with both having good efforts on goal but unable to beat Brad Guzan.
The Manchester United striker would have the best chance of the first half after 29 minutes. Some wonderful build-up play on the left flank saw a dangerous cross into the box, and whilst Hernandez was able to get on the end of it after it had beat Guzan, he could not keep it down.
That would be the best chance from either team in the first half, with both the Mexico and United States defense holding firm under pressure.
Matt Besler would have U.S. fans worried after nearly conceding an own goal straight after halftime, almost deflecting a Mexican cross into his own bottom corner.
Were it not for a save from Guzan, it may have well gone in.
Mexico would continue to press for the opening goal of the game, and Javier Aquino came very close in the 53rd, with his cross/shot hitting the bar.
Jesus Savala would come close as well in the 68th, with a corner fortuitously dropping at his feet in the box. His shot was blocked, however, and the United States continued to hang in there.
The USMNT would receive their biggest lifeline on 75 minutes when Maurice Edu's foul on Aquino in the box was not given by the referee. Replays showed a poor tackle from behind from Edu that should have resulted in a penalty kick for the home team, but it was not to be.
That is a PK 99.9 percent of the time. U.S. got lucky.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) March 27, 2013
Dos Santos would shave the post with his effort in the final 10 minutes, but he would not be able to break through Guzan's goal.
And in the end, nobody in the Mexican lineup was able to beat the Aston Villa goalkeeper on the night, with the U.S. holding on for a huge draw (its second ever in World Cup qualifying on Mexican soil).
With other results in the group falling their way, the United States are now in strong position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil later this year.
Mexico, on the other hand, are winless through their first three qualifying games and have plenty of work ahead of them.
Javier Hernandez, Mexico: C+
The headline striker for Mexico had a relatively quiet night, as he was unable to get any real attacking chances through the middle. The Manchester United man had two small chances in the first half, though his header and volley were both largely ineffective.
It wasn't necessarily a poor game from Hernandez, it was just a very quiet one that saw the Mexican attack struggle as a result.
Clint Dempsey, United States: B+
Similar to Hernandez, U.S. attacker Clint Dempsey didn't have any real opportunities to threaten his opponents' defense.
He played some nice through balls throughout the game and made a few strong runs as well, but simply didn't have the support to make an impact in attack.
Remember that time the U.S. almost got off a shot?— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 27, 2013
Giovani dos Santos, Mexico: B+
Having struggled in his past few international matches, Giovani dos Santos turned in a much better performance in El Tri's midfield.
He was electric with the ball at his feet and caused problems for the United States defense all night, but was unable to truly connect with any of his passes or shooting opportunities.
Dos Santos was let down by his poor crosses, which often stopped any potential attack from Mexico. Still, it was a relatively strong night.
Michael Bradley, United States, A-
Coming up against a Mexican midfield that saw the majority of attacking chances, midfielder Michael Bradley did a superb job in both attack and defense.
He held the American midfield together very well and refused to stop running on the night, seemingly doing the work of three or four players.
Most touches in the first half: Michael Bradley with 47. Fewest: Javier Hernández with 9.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) March 27, 2013
Bradley's ability to track back and stop dos Santos from getting further forward and connecting with Hernandez was crucial to the gritty draw from Jurgen Klinsmann's side.
What did you make of this thrilling 2014 World Cup Qualifier?
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