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New Look USA Draws with Mexico 1-1

Last nights USA vs. Mexico international friendly marked a new era of soccer here in the United States. With new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the helm and managing his first match only ten days into being hired as coach, soccer fans weren’t quite sure what to expect from the USA men’s national team. Who he would start, and what kind of formation he would use were still questions that had yet to be answered, but many people were excited to see what Klinsmann had up his sleeve against arch-rivals Mexico. His second half substitutes proved to be key in a match that didn’t see the US get their first shot on goal until the 56th minute, and the combination of Juan Agudelo, Break Shea, and Robbie Rogers, along with Landon Donovan gave them the spark needed to earn a well deserved draw by the games end.


There were many of the usual suspects in the starting lineup for the US, with Tim Howard in net, and Donovan, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones in the midfield, but we also saw many new faces in the squad that we hadn’t seen under the Bob Bradley regime. Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo started in defense which wasn’t a surprise, but two names that casual fans may not have known got the start as well. Edgar Castillo of Club America and Michael Orozco of San Luis, two players who are currently playing in the Mexican Primera Division, added some Latin flavor in defense. Between the two of them, they only had a combined three caps for the US, but they were chosen for the squad nonetheless. Castillo didn’t have a good game, and Orozco played okay, but as far as first impressions go, they didn’t make a great one. Another player who plays in Mexico, Jose Torres, also started in the midfield, but was largely unheard from the entire game. Torres is one of those attack minded midfielders who can be creative and go forward, but last night it seemed as if he was a little lost. It also seems like Klinsmann likes him, so don’t be surprised to see him in future US squads moving forward. It may just be a matter of who is playing around Torres that can make him effective.

 


Kyle Beckerman of Real Salt Lake got the nod to start as well in a midfield role, and Edson Buddle was chosen as the lone striker up top of a 4-5-1 formation.

 


The first half was a snooze fest for the most part, as the United States failed to get any shots on goal. They were playing with a lone striker up front, Edson Buddle, and he may have only touched the ball three or four times. He wasn’t getting much support from his midfield, and was basically left all alone on an island for the whole first half. He was later substituted in the second half for Juan Agudelo, who ended up making an immediate impact off the bench. Mexico did get their goal from an Andres Guardado cross that Oribe Peralta finished quite nicely in the seventeenth minute, but it was largely a goal that was made from nothing. From the goal however, and with Mexico dominating the entire first half, it looked as if US fans would be in for another long night.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

 


Things changed in the second half though, when Agudelo came in for Buddle, and FC Dallas forward Break Shea came in for Jermaine Jones. The pace picked up, and Shea and Agudelo linked up for some nice passing that led to the USA’s lone goal of the night. Robbie Rogers tapped in a Brek Shea cross to equal the score at 1-1, and give the Americans a well earned draw. Rogers almost had a shot at a second goal, when his speed allowed him to break past the Mexican defense and have a one on one with the keeper. But Gerardo Torrado pulled Rogers by the jersey and brought him down, earning just a yellow card. It was a clear scoring chance however, and should have been a red card.

 


At the end of the night it was nice to see the US get a draw against a Mexican team that had brought a strong side with them to Philadelphia. It was also different to see a US coach with such optimism and a happy go lucky personality. Klinsmann was all smiles in his post game interview, and looked like a little kid in a candy store. He’s pretty much the exact opposite of Bob Bradley, who was more conservative and didn’t show much emotion on the sideline. Even when the US scored the goal, he acted like he was the one who was on the field and scored himself, pumping his fist and jumping for joy. Maybe this is just the jolt of energy that the USA needs to get back into the thick of things in international soccer.

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