After 80 minutes of disciplined defensive soccer, the United States broke through Mexico, scoring a brilliant late goal that ultimately sealed the nation’s first ever win on Mexican soil in 75 years.
Heading into tonight’s contest at the Estadio Azteca, the U.S. had played away to Mexico 24 times but fell short of a win on each of those occasions.
With the Mexicans also celebrating their recent Olympics championship, few pundits gave a youthful United States squad much of a chance against the hosts this evening.
However, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann kept his composure throughout the preparations, laughing off talk that the U.S. was incapable of winning in Mexico.
For much of the first half in Mexico City, El Tri looked very confident about maintaining the status quo, pushing Klinsmann’s men back into their own half with relentless attacks.
Fortunately for the visitors, Mexico lacked clinical finishing in front of goal, with Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez a repeat offender throughout the evening.
Through Stoke City’s summer signing Geoff Cameron and former Rangers star Maurice Edu, the United States kept it tight defensively nonetheless, offering Tim Howard strong protection for much of the contest.
But without the likes of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, the U.S. midfield relied heavily on the likes of Schalke’s Jermaine Jones and Pachuca’s Jose Francisco Torres to create scoring opportunities.
With the final quarter of an hour kicking in, Klinsmann made a bold move to send FC Dallas starlet Brek Shea into the match off the bench despite the youngster lacking top form at the moment.
Shea repaid his manager’s trust instantly, taking on the Mexican defense with a sizzling run that led to a brilliant Terrence Boyd back-heel inside the box and was subsequently turned in from close range by San Luis defender Michael Orozco Fiscal.
It was a memorable goal for the 26-year old, particularly as his teammates hung on for a nervy 1-0 win following two brilliant saves from Tim Howard against a frustrated Hernandez.
Klinsmann smiled proudly at the final whistle and the United States players embraced in an emotional moment of joy that finally secures them a famous win in Mexico.