Thoughts about the U.S. national soccer team’s 2-0 victory over Mexico on goals by Jordan Morris and Juan Agudelo (combined age: 42) before 64,369 at San Antonio’s sold-out Alamodome …
With so many nice outdoor, permanently grass-covered stadiums in our wonderful little republic, why was this match played indoors on temporary imperfect grass pieced together atop concrete? The USSF has lost the right to complain about playing World Cup qualifiers on potato patches in Central America and the Caribbean.
There are friendlies and there are junk friendlies. This was a junk friendly. Yes, I know, USA vs. Mexico is always meaningful. With numerous first-choice absences outside an official FIFA window for a game staged on a lousy field primarily for revenue purposes? Junk. That said, the second half was entertaining … and the outnumbered American supporters celebrated into the Texas night.
Referee Ricardo Montero did not add any first-half stoppage time. He didn’t want to work on that field either.
Good evening, Mr. Morris. This is El Tri, not El Tree.
Jurgen Klinsmann is a genius this week: a college sophomore scores the first goal, a long-lost prospect notches the second.
The U.S. back four kept its composure under periods of duress in the first half. Of course, recent history tells us the last 15 minutes, not the first 45, present the greatest concern. No worries on this evening.
It’s almost unfair to review players from a technical standpoint. Watching this match reminded me of Marco Etcheverry’s comments after the 1999 MLS Cup on the hard surface at Foxborough: “The ball was bouncing around like bunnies.”
Morris’s finish was clean and confident, notable for any American forward, particularly impressive by a college kid in his third appearance whose other recent goals came against San Jose State, San Francisco, Gonzaga and Washington. That last match was played in front of 63,000 fewer spectators than Wednesday at Alamodome.
In case you were wondering, and I know you were, Morris is aligned with the Seattle Sounders academy. So if he decides to play in MLS, he’ll join the Sounders.
Michael Bradley created the Morris opportunity by escaping pressure near midfield and charging into the heart of Mexico’s resistance. He is superb as a deep-lying central mid, but Klinsmann continues to play him in an advanced role. Bradley made the best of it against Mexico. His long ball to Agudelo led to the second goal.
Kyle Beckerman, who was terrific disrupting Mexico’s plans, left midway through the second half with what was either a knee or thigh contusion. For now, nervous Real Salt Lake Coach Jeff Cassar will await his return. D.C. United’s Perry Kitchen, a late call-up to the squad, replaced Beckerman for his second U.S. appearance. (United goalkeeper Bill Hamid did not play.)
Agudelo’s excellent strike makes you wonder: What witness protection program did he enter last year? Immense talent who just needed a stable club situation.
Dos a Cero. But of course. That is all.
Next: Netherlands on June 5 in Amsterdam, Germany on June 10 in Cologne.
USA: Jordan Morris 49th minute.
USA: Juan Agudelo (Michael Bradley) 72nd.
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders: DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Ventura Alvarado (Club America), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy), Greg Garza (Tijuana).
Midfielders: Joe Corona (Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC).
Forwards: Jordan Morris (Stanford University), Gyasi Zardes (L.A. Galaxy).
Subs: William Yarbrough (Leon) for Rimando in 46th, Brek Shea (Orlando City) for Garza in 46th, Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United) for Corona in 46th, Perry Kitchen (D.C. United) for Beckerman in 63rd, Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution) for Morris in 65th, Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) for Diskerud in 81st.
Goalkeeper: Cirilo Saucedo (Tijuana).
Defenders: Francisco Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Efrain Velarde (Monterrey), Gerardo Flores (Cruz Azul), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Carlos Salcedo (Chivas Guadalajara).
Midfielders: Luis Montes (Leon), Mario Osuna (Queretaro), Carlos Esquivel (Toluca).
Forwards: Eduardo Herrera (Pumas), Erick Torres (Chivas Guadalajara).
Subs: Oswaldo Alanis (Santos Laguna) for Mier in 46th, Julio Dominguez (Cruz Azul) for Salcedo in 46th, Luis Rodriguez (Chiapas) for Rodriguez in 61st, George Corral (Queretaro) for Flores in 67th, Antonio Rios (Toluca) for Montes in 80th, Marco Bueno (Toluca) for Herrera in 83rd.
Referee: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica).
Morris goal video:
Agudelo goal video: