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Postgame Observations: Roles reversed as Mexico beat the United States in Columbus

Mexico v United States - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Dos a cero is no more! Mexico went into Columbus, Ohio and pulled one of their most memorable victories in recent memory, defeating the United States dos a uno.

Here are my three takeaways from Mexico’s historic win over the United States:

Oh, the irony.

Perhaps it was particularly cruel on the United States, but as the Mexico players ran in celebration after scoring the winner, there was a sense of small irony in Columbus, Ohio. Set pieces we knew already were always a problem area for Mexico against the United States. So the news here was the team that historically wins games off set-pieces was the team that lost from one.

The cruelty doesn’t stop there, though. The scorer of Mexico’s winner was none other than Rafael Marquez. The Mexican captain is now 37 years old, and while he didn’t have the brightest of games, he delivered when it mattered most.

Mexico still looked vulnerable at times

This game could roughly be divided in three parts. In the first, Mexico dominated and could have scored more than two goals. After that it was the United States’ turn control the game. The match then closed out in anarchic fashion with Mexico getting the eventual winner in the 89th minute.

For coach Juan Carlos Osorio, it is the last two that has to have him a bit worried. In particular, the United States looked much more dangerous after the removal of Andres Guardado through injury. Hector Herrera has often looked ponderous and one-paced under Juan Carlos Osorio. Here, Herrera had the chance to step up in the midfield, and instead, gave his coach more incentives to bench him for the next game.

Beyond that, Mexico still looked wobbly defensively. There is little to show from both Hugo Ayala and Diego Reyes that they deserve to be starters, but with Nestor Araujo struggling at Santos Laguna, Osorio might have no choice but to stick with Reyes against Panama.

Finally, there is the goalkeeper position. Alfredo Talavera has been struggling with things as basic as ordering his markers in set-piece situations. Should Talavera have looked more confident on Friday, his start against Panama would have been a no-brainer. Now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we see Guillermo Ochoa get the start.

Make no mistake, this win was huge for Mexico

We knew already that Columbus was a difficult setting for Mexico, and to come away with a win like that is huge. Of course, this win and performance doesn’t necessarily mean Mexico will cruise to Russia. Nobody thinks this stage of World Cup qualifying will be easy, but this win should no doubt imbue Mexico with optimism and a sense they can do well in this Hexagonal. For now, they made a great start on Friday.