Apr 2, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; USA and Mexico fans wave their countries flags prior to a friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The United States men’s national team continued their heated rivalry against Mexico on Wednesday night, as the two met in an international friendly as they begin their final preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The game was being held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, but the USA squad decided to wear their new rocket pop away kits despite being on home turf.
After jumping out to an early two goal lead and dominating the first half, it appeared that the USMNT would cruise to victory over their rivals. However, the second half was a completely different ballgame and El Tri stormed back to tie the game with a dominating half of their own to force a 2-2 final score.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s team wasted no time getting off to a hot start, thanks to a beautifully executed goal from Michael Bradley off of the set piece. El Tri has consistently struggled with their defense against set pieces over the past year, and their weakness was exposed once again as they fell in to a one goal deficit at just the 15th minute.
United States kept the pressure on El Tri and was able to net a second goal just 13 minutes later thanks to Chris Wondolowski, who put the ball in the left corner after an assist from Bradley.
The United States dominated Mexico for the remainder of the first half and finished out the first 45 minutes with 61 percent of the possession. They were also the more physical team with 16 tackles compared to the 7 from El Tri.
While the first half was all Team USA, the Mexican squad was able to make things interesting by netting a goal of their own when Rafael Marquez headed a corner right past the keeper to make the score 2-1.
Mexico was finally beginning to find their rhythm and was closer to evening out possession as they picked up their aggression.
In the 67th minute, El Tri continued their up-tempo attack and showed some beautiful ball movement as they got the ball inside of the United States box after gashing the defense and got an easy second-chance goal off the foot of Alan Pulido.
It was stunning to see the change of momentum after the half , with Mexico taking complete control of the game and coming away with quality scoring opportunities.
In the end, it was the tale of two completely different halves that determined the outcome of the game — a 2-2 tie.