CINCINNATI, OH – It was an electric night in TQL Stadium when the US National Soccer Team defeated Mexico 2-0 before a sellout crowd of 26,000 on Friday night. The win was the third win for the US this year, marking the first time the the US defeated Mexico three times in a calendar year.
Christian Pulisic and Weston McKinney both scored in the second half as the US took the top spot in CONCACAF qualifying standings thanks to a slight edge in the goal count.
The win gives Gregg Berhalter a 30-5-7 as USMNT head coach, tying Bora Milutinovic for fourth place on the all-time wins list.
“We talked before the game about what we would need to win the game, which was intensity.” Said Berhalter “The second half was when we pulled away. When we can press them and be that aggressive around the ball and with the ball it becomes really challenging.”
In the opening minutes of the first half, both goal keepers were challenged, with Zack Steffen keeping out a low drive from Hirving Lozano and Guillermo Ochoa smothering a shot from distance by the Americans’ Tim Weah.
After a back and forth rest of the first half, the US came into the second half with more fire, outshooting Mexico 11- 3 and controlling the pulse of this match. Pulisic entered the game in the 69th minute, got right to work.
In the 74th minute, Tim Weah sent in a perfect cross to Pulisic, who was charging into the box six yard box. Pulisic got around his marking defender and headed a ball down and into the left side of the net to open the scoring.
The Pulisic goal marked his 17th all-time for the USMNT, moving him into a tie for ninth all-time with DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley and Earnie Stewart.
It was Pulisic’s first appearance since leaving the game against Honduras. He was held out of the game until the 69th minute substitution in, but knew what to expect from Mexico.
“It was a crazy game for sure but it’s what we expected.” Said Pulisic “It was tough to break them down. I’m happy I could come in and help us out. In the end, that’s three huge points.”
In the 85th minute, Weah was once again involved in setting up the second goal. Weah played a pass from the right wing to McKennie in the middle. McKennie let the ball run to substitute forward Jesús Ferreira, who played a short pass back to McKennie. The midfielder attempted to return the favor, but his effort bounced off a Mexico defender and straight back into his path, giving him a one-on-one chance with Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. McKennie calmly slotted the ball into the left side of the net from eight yards out for the final score.
Mexico tried to slow things down once the US scored, with some scuffles and rough plays that drew yellow cards.
In the 65th minute, a throw in dispute, tempers flared. Defender Luis Rodriguez took Brenden Aaronson down hard in the 67th and the ensuing fracas saw him shown a yellow while Steffen, who had run out of his goal to join the fray, and McKennie also received a caution.
McKennie’s second caution in qualifying means he will be suspended for the match against Jamaica on Tuesday, as will central defender Miles Robinson, who received yellow cards in the 59th and 90th minutes and was sent off. The USA played the four minutes of stoppage time with 10 players.
The USMNT next moves on to face Jamaica in Jamaice to complete this round of the