Mexico defeats USA in CONCACAF Cup playoff, 3-2

October 11, 2015

Chicharito heads the ball / Photo by: Tri Le

Pasadena, Calif. -- Paul Aguilar scored a brilliant goal in the 118th minute to give Mexico a 3-2 victory over the United States in the CONCACAF Cup on Saturday night, earning the Tricolor a berth at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup champion qualified for its seventh Confederations Cup.

Aguilar's dramatic winner provided just one of many memorable moments in this end-to-end thriller marked by its great intensity. After the U.S. cleared the ball out of the penalty area, Raul Jimenez lifted it in the air to the right side. With near inch-perfect technique, the Club America star maintained remarkable concentration to drill a right-footed volley past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

As expected, the Rose Bowl had an electric atmosphere as the game started with an emotionally-charged capacity crowd of 93,273 at the iconic stadium.

The Tricolor struck first in the 10th minute through forward Javier Hernandez, who tallied his first-ever goal against the USA. In a quick succession of pin-point passes that pried open the American defense, Jimenez found an unmarked Oribe Peralta on the right side of the penalty area. As he zeroed in on Guzan, Peralta shuffled a short pass to the center of the box for Hernandez to knock in at the left post.

It did not take the USA long to equalize. Midfielder Michael Bradley sent a free kick from the left side into the area. An onrushing defender Geoff Cameron got a step on his marker and headed the ball past goalkeeper Moises Muñoz to knot the score at 1-1 in the 15th minute.

Although both sides had additional chances, the 1-1 score line would hold for the rest of regulation.

Bradley came close on a couple of occasions. As he charged towards the net, the U.S. captain fired a 16-yard attempt wide right in the 32nd minute and placed another left-sided free kick around the two-man wall towards the near post that forced Muñoz to make a diving save just before halftime.

In between those misses, the Mexicans were involved in a controversial play in the 34th minute, when they were called for an offside while Peralta slammed into Guzan after the play. A shoving match between the teams ensued and Peralta was issued a yellow card by referee Joel Aguilar.

The Mexicans held the ball for huge stretches of time in the second half, forcing a fatigued U.S. side to exert substantial energy on defense.

Mexico took its second lead in the first extra-time period as Peralta – the 2013 CONCACAF Player of the Year – slotted the ball home off an assist by Aguilar to break a 1-1 deadlock in the 108th minute.

The Americans again equalized in the second extra time. Substitute Bobby Wood, who has shown a penchant for scoring vital late goals off the bench, lived up to his reputation. The 22-year-old Germany-based forward latched onto a DeAndre Yedlin pass, beating Muñoz from seven yards to make it 2-2.

The loss was the first for the U.S. against Mexico in the last seven matchups (3-1-3). The U.S. is 13-6-5 against Mexico since 2000.  The loss was the first for Jurgen Klinsmann against Mexico in 12 matches as a player and coach. (5-1-5)

The U.S. will next travel to New Jersey for a friendly against Costa Rica on Tuesday, October 13, which will serve as preparation for November’s World Cup Qualifying matches against St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Scoring Summary

MEX – Javier Hernández (Oribe Peralta)           10th minute
USA – Geoff Cameron (Michael Bradley)           15
MEX – Oribe Peralta (Paul Aguilar)                    96
USA – Bobby Wood (DeAndre Yedlin)              108
MEX – Paul Aguilar (Raul Jimenez)                   118

Stats: USA / MEX

Shots: 13 / 20
Shots on Goal: 5 / 10
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 1 / 6
Fouls: 14 / 17
Offside: 2 / 4


USA: 1-Brad Guzan; 23-Fabian Johnson (3-Brad Evans,111), 20-Geoff Cameron, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 15-Kyler Beckerman, 13-Jermaine Jones, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 9- Gyasi Zardes (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey, 17-Jozy Altidore (11-Bobby Wood, 98)

Subs Not Used: 6-Tim Ream, 10-Danny Williams, 12-Tim Howard, 14-Ventura Alvarado, 16-Michael Orozco, 18-Chris Wondolowski, 19-Graham Zusi, 21-Jonathan Spector , 22-Nick Rimando

Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 12-Moises Muñoz; 22-Paul Aguilar, 15-Hector Moreno, 5-Diego Reyes, 7-Miguel Layun; 18-Andres Guardado (17-Javier Guemez, 80), 4-Rafa Marquez (capt.) (3-Arturo Rivas, 76) 16-Hector Herrera; 9-Raul Jimenez, 14-Javier Hernandez (10-Jesus Corona, 97), 19-Oribe Peralta

Subs Not Used: 1-Alfredo Talavera, 2-Israel Jimenez, 6-Jorge Torres Nilo, 8-Jonathan Dos Santos, 11-Carlos Vela, 20-Javier Aquino, 21-Carlos Esquivel, 23-Elias Hernandez

Head Coach: Ricardo Ferretti

By Staff of and news services

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