U.S. Soccer Week in Review: Men's National Team Defeats Mexico 2-0

February 17, 2009

U.S. Soccer has improved significantly over the past several decades, and on Wednesday they marked a decade of dominance that started in 1999, defeating their neighbors to the south, 2-0. Twenty-one year-old Michael Bradley scored both goals and became the first U.S. player in nineteen years to score 2 goals in a game against Mexico.

Mexico displayed some skillful soccer, but the athletic dominance and opportunistic finishing of the U.S. proved too much for the “El Tri.” Mexico had their chances, most notably in the 64th minute when Giovanni Dos Santos, of the English Premier League, received Pavel Pardo’s free kick at the far post. Dos Santos missed what should have been an easy finish, and then proceeded to somehow shoot his rebound wide from approximately one yard out.

In the 43rd minute, Bradley pounced on a rebound from Oguchi Onyewu’s header off a cross for his first goal. Again in the second half, a few minutes into stoppage time, substitute Jozy Altidore showed his post up game by receiving the ball, establishing his position against the defender, and sliding the ball through to a streaking Bradley, who then blasted a shot past the keeper from 25 yards out.

Aside from scoring twice, Bradley disturbed the Mexican midfielders all night long. At times he was seemingly everywhere on the pitch -- tackling, and on numerous occasions, winning the ball. The 6’2’’ Manhattan Beach, California native, who earns his living playing for Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany, was an easy pick for man of the match.

It was a cold, wet, winter night and this likely worked in favor of the U.S. side, but such strategic game scheduling has long been practiced in international competition. The old art of leading your enemy onto foreign turf to gain an advantage actually works, and this is one of the reasons why the U.S. team is already looking ahead to the seemingly insurmountable challenge of winning in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium. In Mexico, the air will be thin, the crowd will be large, the smog will be thick, and the temperature will be hot. A win at Azteca the next time these teams meet would mark a first for U.S. Soccer.

It should be noted that this game was one for the books in that it was viewed by a record-setting 10.7 million people on Univision. This match reached more viewers than any Spanish-language television sporting event in history, and is yet another case in point that soccer is growing in America, thanks significantly to the growing Latin community. During the game, Univision was the highest-rated station among total viewers in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

By Adrian Yeung
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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