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Last time the US soccer team faced Mexico they went home with a lost in the Gold Cup Final. Months have passed and changes needed to be made, first change coming with the termination of Bob Bradley as coach. Now Jurgen Klinsmann has taken over as coach, former player and coach of Germany and their first match came to day against Mexico, their main rival on this side of the world.
The US is missing main players who have been around in the past and Mexico’s full squad is also not out there playing in today’s game. Much remains to be seen if Jurgen Klinsmann can in fact build this team up, one day becoming a major player in national soccer around the world.
As for today’s game, the first half was relatively uneventful and the US team doesn’t seem to have an identity as of yet. They play and run around not sure of themselves or what is asked of them from the new coach, who has stated that he doesn’t really believe in one particular approach. The first half was not played with much passion, at the same time though, the Mexican team squeezed in one goal out of nowhere by a player who was being guarded by the son of former head coach Michael Bradley.
Throughout this game, it is important to keep in mind that this is a friendly game between the two teams, much left to be determined in how both teams will look in the future. Both coaches are trying out different players to see what they have and who will contribute in the future.
The 2nd half showed us much of the same on the American side that can’t hold on to the ball. They finished with no shots on goal in the first half and Mexico continued to dominate in the onset of the 2nd half. In the 55th minute, Dos Santos was brought in as a substitute and the action picked up for a while after that change was made.
The first sub on the American side came in the 59th minute when we saw an 18 year old player by the name of Agudelo, he then proceeded to bring a little bit of excitement with a 40 yard run towards goal. Maybe this will be a youth movement for the American team trying to cultivate talent with an eye to the future. Tim Howard at the age of 32 still remains the guy at goal for the American side; he has not been tested much aside for that early goal in the first half.
In the 73rd minute, the youth movement made an impact with a goal by Robbie Rodgers. A beautiful sequence starting with Agudelo, then a brilliant play by another young sub named Brek Shea, finished off by Rodgers who scored on an empty net.
The intensity picked up tremendously after the equalizer by the American team who seemed to have settled down. Torres and Donovan are playing like the best players on the field along with Agudelo and Brek Shea.
In the 86th minute, Robbie Rodgers got behind the defenders of the Mexican team in a play in which the Mexican defender should have been red carded- but was spared by the referee after he pulled down the faster American player…A wonderful opportunity for the Americans after the penalty, but no results after hitting the ball into the wall.
The game came to an end 1-1 and although this was a friendly, the 2nd half should be encouraging to the new coach and fans of American soccer. There are young players to build with along with their best player Donovan. A good introduction to American fans for the new coach.