U.S. National Team draws with Mexico 2-2 in thrilling encounter

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Dos a Dos.

The United States and Mexico played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in front of 59,066 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday.

The U.S. National Team scored twice in the opening 30 minutes as Michael Bradley and Chris Wondolowski found the back of the net while defender Rafael Marquez and Alan Pulido tallied for El Tri. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando shined as well making three saves on the evening.

Both LA Galaxy players saw action in the CONCACAF rivalry as Omar Gonzalez started and went the full 90 minutes while Landon Donovan was brought on by Jurgen Klinsmann in the second half for a 31 minute spell. Donovan is now only eight appearances shy of Cobi Jones’ all-time USMNT appearance record of 164.

Led by the midfield tandem of Kyle Beckerman and Bradley, the U.S. controlled the tempo in the first half as their movement in midfield overwhelmed Mexico.

Just before the 15 minute mark, Gonzalez nearly opened the scoring as he got his head to a Brad Davis cross that was saved by Mexican goalkeeper Moises Munoz. Moments later the U.S. pulled in front when Bradley smashed home a right-footed volley off a corner kick from Graham Zusi. The USMNT doubled their lead after 30 minutes when Bradley set up Tony Beltran who delivered a cross that was tapped in by Wondolowski.

However, it was a tale of two halves in Arizona.

Down two goals, the Mexicans roared back in the second half as they countered the American’s midfield dominance by pushing numbers into the center of the park and El Tri head coach Miguel Herrera’s strategy paid off just four minutes into the second half.

In the 49th minute, former New York Red Bulls center back Rafael Marquez exploited lackadaisical defending by Omar Gonzalez and Kyle Beckerman to pull El Tri back to within a goal. Fueled by the mainly pro-Mexican crowd, the Mexicans continued to push and found the back of the net again in the 67th minute as Alan Pulido caught Gonzalez out of position for the close-range finish. 

The Americans had two chances to equalize in the dying minutes as Eddie Johnson had a goal called back for offside in the 85th minute while Clint Dempsey sprayed a free kick from beyond the box just wide in the last kick of the game.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider  and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com