The United States showed that Honduras’ first half performance against Mexico was no fluke and that it was indicative of severe problems as they defeated Mexico 1-0. Mexico, who arguably had been the best team in the tournament up until now, was outplayed for most of the game, especially after the opening goal as Tab Ramos completely won the strategic battle over Marco Antonio Ruiz.
The US coach established an effective game plan where they pressed Mexico at every turn. At the start, though, the game was close and Mexico had a great chance to open the scoring when they missed a header off a corner.
The US then got a corner and Erik Palmer Brown headed in the goal. The score really hurt Mexico, who started unraveling as sloppy passes and bad decisions became constant for El Tri. Mexico completely lost the physical battle and the 1-0 score at halftime looked to flatter Mexico.
The second half had Pablo Lopez subbed in for Kevin Magaña, but unlike with Honduras, the switch didn't help Mexico at all. The US had a better game plan and physical response and were able to keep their pace for almost the entire second half. Mexico’s overly dependence on Uriel Antuna was well read by Ramos and the total lack of response in the middle had Mexico not being able to create much of anything.
If anything, the US deserved more goals and actually had a couple of free counter attacks that were stopped by the goalkeeper Jose Hernandez
This defeat severely hurts Mexico’s World Cup chances. El Tril will now need to beat El Salvador on Wednesday. A draw will mean that El Salvador and the US both qualify with a draw, and a defeat will flat out eliminate Mexico.
A victory, however, especially with lots of goals, would most likely give Mexico the ticket to South Korea. Unfortunately, El Salvador will have more days to rest than Mexico, who will also go in with the emotional hit of today’s defeat. That being said, El Salvador doesn't have the physical prowess that either Honduras or the United States possess, which was the key to disrupting Mexico’s tactical approach. Mexico coach, Marco Antonio Ruiz, will need to really get to work immediately to change the tide because this result has Mexico's tournament in a tail spin.