REUTERS/Henry Romero (MEXICO SPORT SOCCER)
Rivalry games are rarely pretty. Yesterday was no exception: the US defended for the better part of 90 minutes and ended up paying for it when it surrendered the go-ahead goal in the 83rd minute after a defensive breakdown and a lucky bounce. I hoped for better after such a bright start. A quick passing sequence, from Michael Bradley to Landon Donovan to Charlie Davies, led to a goal inside 10 minutes. Unfortunately we were only able to hold the lead for 10 minutes. Besides Panamanian referee Roberto Moreno, the most disappointing performances on the day came from Carlos Bocanegra and Clint Dempsey, the occupants of the left side of the US defense where both goals came from.
The first goal for Mexico was a spectacular 25 yard shot. The ball flew over Tim Howard and then dipped under the crossbar. For me, the play started when Moreno didn’t call a clear foul on Mexico which allowed Mexico to unbalance the Americans. If you don’t believe me, go to the video (the foul is at 1:20). Israel Castro clearly grabs Donovan as Donovan dribbles past him. Then Donovan is possibly fouled a second time on the tackle though that is not clear from the video. Central midfielders Ricardo Clark and Michael Bradley got caught on the right side covering for Donovan when Cuauhtémoc Blanco broke the pressure with a cutting move and then toe poke to the cheater Castro. Castro hit the shot of his life. I’m still not sure how Howard didn’t get a finger on it.