THE SANTA CLARA
April 10, 2014
After drawing 2-2 in its international friendly last week against archrival Mexico, the United States Men’s National Team still has a lot to work on prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Americans had a favorable 2-0 lead in the first half, but proved unworthy of maintaining the advantage. The United States owned the first 45 minutes of play. Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley blasted in a header following a corner kick in the beginning stages of the match. Shortly thereafter, the San Jose Earthquake’s Chris Wondolowski increased the lead with a goal in the 28th minute.
The match seemed promising for the United States. They dominated the Mexican side both in terms of ball possession and overall skill. Their passing and play creation looked solid thanks to Bradley’s play.
The American midfielder had a stellar first half. Not only was he able to score, but he also created dangerous offensive opportunities while maintaining a defensive edge. From top to bottom, the team looked compact and potent. Clint Dempsey added heavily to the attack while Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler looked formidable in defense. Jurgen Klinsmann and company walked into the locker room at halftime with their heads high.
However, they did not come prepared for a response from “El Tri.”
Mexican defender Rafa Marquez put his side on the board, scoring off a corner kick in the 49th minute. Alan Pulido was the man in charge of scoring the equalizer in the 67th minute, tapping in a shot that careened off the post.
The Mexican side seized control of the momentum, but the Americans reacted with a better defensive scheme to keep the score level.
United States fans’ hearts raced when forward Eddie Johnson netted the ball in the 85th minute. The celebrating crowd grew frustrated after realizing that the referee had nullified the goal because of an offside violation. Replays from different angles showed otherwise. But the match ended without a clear victor.
The U.S. played well in the first half of action and seemed to have a promising start going into the second. But they were unable to retain it. This lack of coherency and consistency is important to work on, especially with the World Cup being right around the corner.
Once in Brazil, the Americans will be situated in the so-called “Group of Death,” forced to play against challenging opponents in Germany, Portugal and Ghana. If they are to be one of the two teams that advances out of the group and into the next round, Klinsmann’s squad must fix defensive and consistency issues that were prevalent in the recent friendly. That is the only way they will be able to make a serious run.
Ivan Munoz is a junior political science and English double major.