Although the scoreboard read 0-0 when the final whistles blew on Tuesday, the United States' draw against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier feels like one of the biggest victories for American soccer in quite some time.
Walking out of the fabled Estadio Azteca with one point is nothing to scoff at either. The Mexican national team has played 76 World Cup qualifiers on their home turf. Mexico lost just one of those matches, and only seven others, including last night, ended in a draw.
The Americans were 0-13-1 in World Cup qualifying matches at Estadio Azteca, prior to earning a point that moved them up to third place in the group standings.
"We wanted to win, but we are pleased with the result," coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "They gave us everything they had."
The fact that Mexico outshot the Americans 19-1 makes the draw even more impressive. Mexico took it to the United States but failed to capitalize on several opportunities, which is a rare occurrence when it is playing at home.
This draw will help propel American soccer onto a larger stage as well come June. The United States' two home qualifiers against Panama and Honduras will be televised by ESPN. Do not be surprised if the ratings for those matches are fairly high.
Sports fans love to watch dominance and success, not teams that constantly let them down over and over again. Now that the American soccer team has proven it can hold their own in the most daunting environment in all of soccer, more fans will be hopping on the USA bandwagon.
Historically, U.S. soccer has been a disappointment. The Americans went 0-3 in the 1990 World Cup and posted the exact same record in the 1998 event. In 2002, USA made it all the way to the quarterfinals, but could not sustain the momentum four years later.
Despite shocking Italy by playing to a 1-1 draw, the United States dropped matches to the Czech Republic and Ghana, which prevented them from advancing in the 2006 World Cup.
Landon Donovan's extra-time goal against Algeria allowed the Americans to win their group in the 2010 World Cup. No U.S. national team has accomplished that feat since 1930.
Last night's draw should send the Americans into their matches in June, September and October with a full head of confidence. This should help the U.S. take care of business and potentially win the qualifying group.
As long as the Americans finish in the top three of the qualifying standings, though, they will enter the 2014 World Cup with the largest group of supporters to date.
Whether or not the United States will be able to carry this momentum all the way through to next year remains to be seen.
Still, American soccer looks stronger than ever, and the draw against Mexico appears to be a sign they have a legitimate shot to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for just the third time in 83 years.
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