MEXICO CITY — It did not get the historic win it was in search of, however the United States nationwide staff picked up an vital level on the Estadio Azteca, taking a big step towards World Cup qualification in a 0-0 draw with Mexico.
It may have been even higher.
The U.S. had the sport’s two finest probabilities, however Christian Pulisic and Jordan Pefok each missed from shut vary, both of which could have resulted within the staff’s first ever win on the Estadio Azteca in World Cup qualifying.
“We put ourselves ready to play on Sunday and win and go to the World Cup,” Pulisic mentioned afterward. “However after all I am upset I missed an opportunity, and I might have cherished to have gained the sport.
“I feel it is a sport that would’ve gone both means. I assumed we had the higher offensive probabilities and we had good spells, however a draw is honest.”
After speak about presumably rotating the aspect with a watch towards Sunday’s pivotal sport in opposition to Panama, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter chosen what seemed to be a first-choice lineup.
“We needed to place a staff on the sector that would win the sport in Azteca,” Berhalter mentioned. “That was crucial factor. There’s loads of time to recuperate.”
Regardless of the underwhelming and scoreless draw at dwelling, Mexico supervisor Gerardo “Tata'” Martino appeared content material with the outcome.
“We competed properly with the US,” Martino mentioned. “At this time we seeked to equal the rhythm of the sport in the course of the 90 minutes.”
The job was accomplished, to an extent, however questions remained about not solely the staff’s defensive worries that allowed the USMNT to check goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, but additionally Mexico’s inefficiencies up entrance within the assault.
“We have misplaced that calm within the final 25 meters of the sector. Not solely in the course of the instances when we have to rating a objective, but additionally when needing to make that move,” Martino mentioned. “It is clear that it is a topic that we have to restore.”
Giovanni Reyna, the 19-year-old USMNT midfielder who had missed 10 straight qualifiers with a strained hamstring, had a highlight-reel second when he dribbled half the size of the sector within the 77th minute, beginning about 10 yards from his personal penalty space and glided previous a number of Mexico defenders earlier than Johan Vasquez knocked the ball away.
Berhalter considered Diego Maradona’s second objective in opposition to England in a 1986 World Cup quarterfinal performed on the identical discipline.
“I had visions of that when Gio was dribbling,” Berhalter mentioned. “Sadly, he did not end it off.”
Reyna blushed when informed of Berhalter’s comment.
“It was a pleasant run,” he mentioned. “It did not actually quantity to something.”
With two video games left, the US and Mexico are tied for second place, with the U.S. forward forward on objective differential (plus-9 to plus-6). Each nations sit three again of Canada, which misplaced 1-0 at Costa Rica.
The Ticos’ win over the Canadians allowed them to leap Panama into fourth place and transfer to inside three factors of the U.S. and Mexico.
If the US wins in opposition to Panama, it could all however clinch a spot within the World Cup previous to its journey to Costa Rica subsequent week. In that case, if Costa Rica wins in opposition to El Salvador, it could stay mathematically in a position to move the US, nonetheless the present hole in objective differential (Costa Rica is plus-2) could be tough to beat.
If the US loses to Panama, all bets are off.
Previous to the sport, U.S. Soccer introduced proper again Reggie Cannon examined constructive for COVID-19 and was unavailable. It was already a place the place the staff was mild on depth — starter Sergino Dest wasn’t known as in as a consequence of damage — and the difficulty was compounded additional when DeAndre Yedlin picked up a yellow card in opposition to Mexico, rendering him unavailable in opposition to Panama.
Shaq Moore shall be added to the roster and is already in Orlando, Berhalter mentioned.
Ahead Timothy Weah may even not be accessible to play in opposition to Panama as a consequence of yellow card accumulation.
ESPN reporter Cesar Hernandez contributed to this report.