Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It feels as if it was eons ago that the U.S. Men’s National Team found itself amongst turmoil. That sky-is-falling mentality has since subsided after a historic week that saw the Yanks earn four points—none more important than the one earned in Azteca last night.
In total, there were 10 MLS players on the USMNT’s roster. But only Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler made significant contributions for the the Yanks.
Given the farcical conditions at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Friday night, there’s no way of measuring player performance. But Gonzalez and Besler were masterful last night—allowing the USMNT to earn only its second point at Azteca in 15 World Cup qualifiers.
Gonzalez went the full 90 in both matches, while Besler earned his first start at the senior level at Azteca. The pair of defenders—each named MLS Defender of the Year (Gonzalez in 2011 and Besler in 2012)—orchestrated a gritty performance that stymied a dynamic Mexican attack.
El Tri attempted 19 shots but only three managed to land on target. The Yanks’ shutout was assisted by timely blocks from Besler and Gonzalez. Besler saved a goal in the 69th minute with a timely block on a Carlos Salcido shot destined for the back of the net.
It may have taken mother nature and a missed call from Walter Lopez on a Maurice Edu tackle in the box, but four points are four points.
You’d be hard pressed to find an American soccer fan who wouldn’t be satisfied with that.