USA vs. Mexico: Biggest Standout Performers for USMNT in Epic Draw
The United States' recent 0-0 draw against Mexico might not have seemed like a huge result, but given the context and the implications, it's a result that Jurgen Klinsmann is no doubt be very happy with.
Having never beaten Mexico in Mexico in a World Cup qualifier—and only picking up one point ever before—the USMNT's ability to hold firm against everything that El Tri threw at them was a huge deal. They were resilient in defense and picked up a huge point from their road trip—which will no doubt prove invaluable as they carry on their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The gritty performance saw standout efforts right across the pitch from the USMNT, but there were several players that impressed the most.
Read on to see the biggest standout players in the United States' huge result.
Brad Guzan, GK
Continuing to fill in for the injured Tim Howard, No. 2 goalkeeper Brad Guzan again showed himself to be very strong in goals with a clean sheet here.
The Aston Villa goalkeeper wasn't called into action a great deal throughout the night, but when he was, he was strong and quick to respond to whatever El Tri threw at him—coming off his line well to shut down crosses or put pressure on incoming attackers.
Guzan's biggest test came in injury time, when he might have been forgiven for somewhat "clocking off," having not been tested that much on the night.
Yet he was ready—moving quickly to his right to block the shot and seemingly ending Mexico's chance at breaking the deadlock on the night.
Consecutive clean sheets for Guzan, who as a replacement has been very impressive.
Omar Gonzalez, DEF
With only a handful of international caps under his belt, Omar Gonzalez was superb against the Mexican attack and handled everything they threw at him.
The 6'5" L.A. Galaxy defender was excellent in cutting out crosses and blocking incoming through balls—restricting the supply to Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez at the top of the attack and thus not allowing Mexico to gain any real attacking dominance.
His combination with Matt Besler proved to be huge here, as it allowed the United States to maintain its strong communication together despite playing in the cauldron of noise that is the Azteca Stadium. Few other combinations could have done this, and it proved to be a huge difference for the USMNT, as they hung on for a huge point.
Michael Bradley, MID
Bradley has really come into his own in central midfield for the USMNT of late and understands his differing roles throughout various games well. Here, he understood the need to track back and pick up the incoming Mexican attackers, and it was his ability to break up their swift passing rhythm that completely changed the outcome of this one.
The box-to-box midfielder was superb in stopping Giovani dos Santos from getting forward and not allowing the midfielder's passing to gain the upper hand.
Moreover, his positioning on top of the box meant that Mexico was forced to spread their attack wide and not maintain their direction. The image below via MLS Soccer highlights this perfectly, with Bradley's presence eliminating the No. 9 role that Dos Santos was trying to play.
And in the end, that was all it took for the United States to hang on here and score one of their most impressive results in recent history.
Even if it was just a scoreless draw.
Who were your standout performers for the USMNT against Mexico?
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