It was a match of a lifetime. It was something that maybe none of us thought was ever going to happen while we are on this earth. But for a full ninety minutes at one of the best home field advantages on this entire planet earth, the USA did the impossible and took a win at the Estadio Azteca.
The only goal of the match came in the 80th minute with substitutes working well with each other, and they eventually found a way to convert. Brek Shea on the far side looked to attack the area of Mexico and was surprised to find so much space. He attacked the net and juked to his left where it looked like he might have lost the ball.
But with some quick thinking Shea makes a hard cross in front of goal to Terrance Boyd who had his back towards goal and made a quick back heel to Michael Orozco-Fiscal who had a decent touch on the ball and put it behind Guillermo Ochoa for the lead with ten minutes left in regulation.
After a grueling final ten minutes with four added on in second half stoppage time, Costa Rican Referee Walter Quesada blew his whistle for full time and a historical victory was achieved at the Estadio Azteca with one goal and a fantastic game plan from head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Even though most of the match looked ugly and terrible on the offensive side of the ball, it was a great night for some defense as Geoff Cameron, who is Stoke City bound, marked and defended Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez all match long and did it well.
No matter how many times Hernandez found a way to get a call for a free kick just outside the area or how many times he was able to get close to the goal, all his chances went for naught as the shots went wide of the posts, high over the crossbar, or knocked away by the wall.
Too many times you saw the wide players for Mexico try to take advantage of the altitude by crossing and blasting balls near the touch lines and hoping for someone to head in or shoot hard in the US area. For some strange reason the shots never went in or threatened Tim Howard till late in the second half.
That big save in the 85th came from Tim Howard as a poor clearance found Hernandez and as he shot towards the near side, Howard went to his far post. But with his quick reflexes Howard found a way to preserve the clean sheet by putting a left paw on the ball and quickly crawling to the rebound and covering up.
Yes this was a friendly and it wasn’t during a World Cup Qualifier, but this was a sweet victory for US Soccer as it took them seventy five years to earn their first at the famed Estadio Azteca. But if you think about this first full season of Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure as the head man of the National Team, he has broken two droughts: the Leap Year win in February ending a ninety two year drought against Italy, and now this fantastic win.
How interesting that many have said there is a gap with the youth sides from El Tri winning the U-17 World Cup, doing well in the U-20 World Cup and celebrating the Gold Medal Olympic Winning team at half time. While there probably is a gap, this victory may close that gap a tiny bit, if only because this group of Americans now knows what it takes to prevail at Mexico’s fortress, Estadio Azteca.