Mexico and the United States ended with a scoreless tie in the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers at Estadio Azteca. Mexico dominated most of the possession while the United States had the best opportunities, but in the end neither team could score and the match finished with a 0-0 draw. Fans might not like the result, especially Mexicans, but in the end the result is a positive in that both teams could qualify for the World Cup with wins on Sunday, depending on other results. Mexico will have their final away match against already eliminated Honduras, while the United States returns home to face Panama in a key match.
The first half started with Coach Gerardo Martino finally giving what Mexico fans wanting and starting with Johan Vasquez and Gerardo Arteaga on defense instead of Hector Moreno and Jesus Gallardo. The United States started to play well and took the game to Mexico, which caught them off guard. A free kick in the area was just missed by Vasquez. Off of a good cross by Jesus Corona, Cesar Montes was able to get a header that was saved by US goalkeeper Zack Steffen. On the ensuing play, Yunus Musah got a wide open opportunity and his left footed shot was saved by Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa on a great play. Mexico had a great opportunity when Carlos Rodriguez found Jesus Corona, but he failed to control the ball and wasted a great chance. The United States wasted a great chance after Mexico’s defense allowed Christian Pulisic to get the ball wide open in the area, but Ochoa made a great save. It was clearly the best chance of the match thus far, although Corona had wasted his opportunity before getting off a shot. There was a scuffle after a foul from Timothy Weah on Raul Jimenez that ended with Weah getting a yellow card. Hirving Lozano got the ball from outside the area, but his shot went well wide. Musah answered back and got off a shot that went well wide. Hector Herrera made a great cross into the area that found Lozano, but his volley also went wide. It was a very intense half with Mexico having more possession, but the United States had the best chances in the half.
The second half started with both teams coming out with the same lineups they started with. The US had the first chance when Pulisic got the ball in the area and got off a shot that was saved by Ochoa. Jorge Sanchez got off a great cross that was just out of reach for Lozano. Later Herrera got a cross into the area that Sanchez couldn’t get to. Then Lozano got the ball into the area and got off a shot that went just wide. The United States subbed out Ricardo Pepi and Timothy Weah for Jordan Pefok and Giovanni Reyna. Jimenez got the ball in the area and tripped and fell, although no penalty was given. The US missed a great chance when Reyna lowered the ball in the area for Pefok, but he failed to connect wasting a great chance. After a great combination play, Jimenez found a wide open Lozano, whose shot went just wide in a great opportunity that also was wasted. Mexico subbed out Carlos Rodriguez and Jesus Corona for Erick Gutierrez and Alexis Vega. The United States then subbed out Deandre Yedlin and Tyler Adams for Erik Palmer-Brown and Aaron Long. Mexico had a great chance when Jimenez got to a ball, and his cross into the area was deflected past Steffen before a US defender cleared the ball almost off the line. The ball got back to Mexico and it ended with Lozano getting another opportunity, but his shot once again went wide. The US made their last substitution by subbing out Christian Pulisic for Jordan Morris. A great combination play from Herrera with Gutierrez found Lozano in the area, but he decided to pass instead of shoot and it was cleared by the defense. The United States started to sit back and tried to counter as Mexico finished with all the possession. After Vega got into the area he fell and made claim for a penalty kick, but not only didn’t the referee give it but he gave Vega a yellow card. A ball in the area got to Gutierrez but his shot was deflected by a defender. It was the last chance, and the match ended with a 0-0 score.
Mexican fans will once again leave disappointed with a result at home. Mexico got it’s second scoreless tie at home in three matches, in which they have only scored a single goal, coming off of a penalty against Panama. Still, Mexico had more possession and improved from past performances against the toughest squad on paper in CONCACAF. As their biggest rival and the fact that they lost three matches against them in 2021 however, Martino’s failure to get a win against the United States is another black mark for him. Mexico will now travel to Honduras, where they will be without Martino who will not make the trip because of medical reasons. The United States got another boost against their rivals with a tie at the Azteca, which means they won the series in the World Cup Qualifiers against them. Yet fans might not be happy with the bad misses as well as the fact that Mexico ended up being the better side in the second half and pushed them back. Several key US players also didn’t have the best performances. Still, they got a point in the toughest matchup they have to close out their qualification and look to be a win from returning to the World Cup after missing out on 2018. The United States and Mexico both sit with 22 points, three points over fourth placed Costa Rica and four points over fifth placed Panama, whose tie against Honduras is a serious setback.