USMNT’s Pulisic, McKennie write new ‘Dos a Cero’ chapter in win over Mexico


CINCINNATI — The serenade rained down from the stand referred to as the Bailey at TQL Stadium. They phrases have been as acquainted as they have been uplifting.

“Dos a cero! Dos a cero!”

Sure, it was a brand new venue for the United States males’s nationwide staff, and the mantra was directed at a brand new technology of gamers, too, however the scoreline supplied the identical sense of satisfaction for the U.S. squad, which beat Mexico 2-0 because of objectives from Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie to present it three very important factors on the highway to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

It marked the sixth time because the flip of the century that the U.S. has received by that scoreline in opposition to El Tri in a aggressive fixture. Most of those came at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, however TQL Stadium proved a cushty match, with a boisterous crowd serving to the U.S. take pleasure in each ounce of home-field benefit. The end result additionally marked a uncommon three-game profitable streak in opposition to Mexico, the primary because the mid-2000s and first such streak to happen in a calendar 12 months.

“They perceive what we’re about and we perceive what they’re about,” stated Pulisic. “That is what makes a fantastic rivalry, and I am simply actually blissful that we might come out on prime once more tonight. We knew it was at all times going to be recreation in opposition to Mexico, and to get three factors simply helps us get so much nearer to qualifying for the World Cup.”

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Friday’s end result was the newest in an all too acquainted scoreline between the U.S. and Mexico. Kirk Irwin/Getty Photographs

However this win wasn’t a lot about historical past because it was the current. On an evening that witnessed some tightening within the Octagonal standings, the win stored the U.S. heading in the right direction for World Cup qualification. The U.S. is now prime, forward of Mexico on aim differential with 14 factors. That stored the U.S. one level forward of Canada — 1-0 winners in opposition to Costa Rica — and three forward of Panama, who got here again from 2-0 down to say a 3-2 highway win in opposition to Honduras. The U.S. is now able to achieve further respiratory room with Tuesday’s encounter at Jamaica.


1 – USA 7 14 +7
2 – Mexico 7 14 +5
3 – Canada 7 13 +7
4 – Panama 7 11 +1
5 – Costa Rica 7 6 -2
6 – Jamaica 7 6 -4
7 – El Salvador 7 6 -5
8 – Honduras 7 3 -9
1-3 qualifies; 4 into playoff

Essentially the most encouraging side of the night time was how this younger group of gamers took one other step ahead. This was not a state of affairs just like the Nations League last final June or the Gold Cup last in August through which the U.S. relied closely on its defending and goalkeeping and grabbed objectives on set items. On this match, the U.S. was aggressive with its press and held its personal when it comes to possession. Almost each participant on the sphere carried out nicely. The backline, led by Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson, stifled the Mexico assault. The midfield progressively seized management, with 18-year-old Yunus Musah proving extremely efficient in organising his attacking teammates. And Timothy Weah loved a banner night time by tormenting the left aspect of Mexico’s protection.

In every week through which the phrase “respect” was bandied about, and Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa urged that when the U.S. appears to be like within the mirror, it aspires to be like Mexico, this was one encounter through which the U.S. was full worth for its victory.

The USA’ method required persistence, nonetheless, in addition to surviving some scares within the first half through which some giveaways in midfield created alternatives for El Tri. Thankfully, goalkeeper Zack Steffen was sharp, particularly in denying Hirving Lozano within the 18th minute.

However coach Gregg Berhalter’s method was to put on Mexico down, and within the second half, the strain started to inform, with possibilities starting to emerge. Weah particularly put in a collection of harmful crosses from which the U.S. could not convert. Ochoa’s save from a McKennie drive within the forty ninth minute left the impression that it is perhaps a kind of nights in entrance of aim for the U.S.

“The second half was the place we began to tug away, notably the primary 20 minutes,” Berhalter stated. “And that is the impact that we now have on opponents. After we can press them and we might be that aggressive across the ball and with the ball, turning them round making them face their very own aim, it turns into actually difficult.”

The U.S. discovered its breakthrough within the 74th minute, and it was Weah who was on the coronary heart of the transfer, evading the attentions of Jesus Gallardo to place in a cross that was nodded house by Pulisic, who had entered the match simply 5 minutes earlier.

Simply how a lot Pulisic could be concerned within the match was a matter of pre-match hypothesis. He had performed a complete of 21 minutes for membership aspect Chelsea since injuring his ankle in opposition to Honduras again in September. However his presence supplied the U.S. with a close to instant increase, and as soon as Pulisic transformed, he made positive he despatched a message to Mexico, revealing a shirt that said, “Man In The Mirror.”

Christian Pulisic’s ‘Man within the Mirror’ shirt stunt will go down as one other colourful chapter within the rivalry. John Dorton/ISI Photographs/Getty Photographs

However it was a aim made by Weah, and the Lille attacker’s enchancment throughout World Cup qualifying has been key to the U.S. preserving its qualification hopes on observe. A gathering with Berhalter after the Panama defeat renewed Weah’s focus, and that was evident when he compelled the game-winner in opposition to Costa Rica final month. Mixed together with his dedication to serving to out on protection, has cemented his maintain on one of many winger spots.

“When it comes to my confidence, I am taking part in with my membership staff, so once I come right here and play, it is wonderful,” he stated. “To be with the boys, it is simply tremendous enjoyable and we executed tonight and that was crucial factor.”

Weah additionally revealed that the “Man In The Mirror” T-shirt was the brainchild of himself and DeAndre Yedlin.

“Earlier than the sport, Mexico was speaking loads of smack, and beating them simply shuts them up,” Weah stated. “We’ve got to proceed to win video games and proceed to beat them, and that is the one manner we will earn their respect and earn the world’s respect. However I believe we’re on a fantastic path proper now and the long run is vivid.”

The one downers on the night have been the 89th minute expulsion of middle again Robinson for 2 yellow playing cards, and a yellow card picked up by McKennie that can see each suspended for the Jamaica match. Pretty much as good as Robinson has been, the lack of McKennie figures to chop deeper. Regardless of his two-game suspension again in September for violating the staff’s COVID-19 protocols, McKennie stays the emotional middle of this U.S. staff, and he, together with Pulisic, are rising to nemesis standing because it pertains to Mexico.

However maybe these hiccups are what is required to keep away from a letdown in opposition to Jamaica, a staff that’s in desperation mode after conceding a late equalizer to El Salvador on Friday.

“To now win three in a row [against Mexico] is clearly wonderful. However that does not imply we might be complacent and assume we’re the perfect round,” Pulisic stated. “Now it is focus in Jamaica. So it is about simply preserve going actually, and we wish to proceed to show what this staff is about and what they begin to present the world what this nationwide staff is able to.”

There may be confidence rising inside this U.S. staff, one to match its expertise. Even postgame celebrations took on a brand new air. Because the “Dos a cero” cheers ebbed, Michael Jackson’s “Man within the Mirror” performed over the stadium PA system. A brand new technology is making its mark.


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