February 11, 2009
By Michael Lewis
THE BEAT GOES ON
U.S. beats Mexico again in WCQ, 2-0
Columbus, Ohio -- When it comes time for the U.S. to schedule its next World Cup qualifier against Mexico, most likely in four years time, you can bet your bottom dollar the Americans will pick this city.
|Michael Bradley scored both U.S. goals.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
And why not?
For the third consecutive time, the Americans recorded an important qualifying win over their archrivals at Columbus Crew Soccer Stadium, a 2-0 victory on Wednesday night.
Midfielder Michael Bradley gave the Americans all the scoring they needed in the 43rd minute and in second-half stoppage time in another tussle of CONCACAF archrivals before 23,776 spectators in their first encounter of 10 final-round matches.
The U.S. recorded 2-0 victories in 2001 and 2005 at this stadium.
The Americans certainly were helped Wednesday night by Mexico as defender Rafael Marquez was red-carded by referee Carlos Batres in the 65th minute for spiking U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard in the upper right thigh in front of the net. The ejection allowed the Americans to play with a man advantage for the rest of the match.
Howard, obviously feeling pain from his injury, received a yellow card for a delay of game on the ensuing free kick.
Defensive midfielder Michael Bradley, the son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, scored off a rebound of a Landon Donovan shot just before the end of the half.
DaMarcus Beasley sent a corner kick from the right corner to the farside of the penalty area to Landon Donovan, who headed the ball to defender Oguchi Onyewu. Standing some six yards out, Onyewu fired a shot on the net that goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez knocked away. Bradley, standing on the doorstep three yards out, slotted the ball home.
It was Bradley's third qualifying goal.
The U.S. played with the wind in the opening half, but it was the Mexicans who got the first serious scoring opportunity in the match. Forward Giovani dos Santos fired a point-blank shot, a left-footed attempt, at the net that Howard managed to kick away in the third minute.
The visitors also were awarded the first corner kick in the sixth minute, but their attempt sailed just over the net.
Part of the first half went like this: Mexico had trouble clearing the ball out of its zone due to the wind. The U.S. would get it back, try to put something together but had the ball intercepted. And again and again and again.
The Americans finally took a shot toward the goal in the 16th minute after midfielder DaMarcus Beasley made a short run but fired his try wide left of the goal.
After forward Brian Ching was fouled by defender Rafael Marquez some 23 yards out on the right side in the 21st minute, the U.S. was awarded a free kick by referee Carlos Batres (Guatemala). On the attempt, Beasley ran up to the ball and stopped, trying to make the Mexican defense commit itself. Then Donovan took the kick, firing his attempt wide left of his intended target.
Beasley put the Americans' first shot on goal as his 25-yard attempt was easily caught with two hands by goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez in the 27th minute.
Four minutes later Sanchez was called to make a much more difficult save. Beasley fed Donovan, who brought the ball toward the right corner. Donovan then sent a backpass to Clint Dempsey, whose 12-yard shot was blocked by the Mexican keeper in the Americans' best scoring attempt in the opening half.
The Mexicans suffered a blow in the 34th minute when forward Nery Castillo was forced from the match and Israel Martinez replaced him.
Howard was called on again to produce his magic in the 36th minute, making a diving stop of Alberto Medina's shot from the left side of the penalty area.
After U.S. captain and defender Carlos Bocanegra fouled Carlos Ochoa outside the area in the 40th minute, Howard had an easier time of it as Martinez's 19-yard free kick went directly to him.
In contrast to the opening half, the Mexicans experienced problems keeping the ball in U.S. territory in the second half, despite having the wind. That enabled the U.S. to attack and handle the ball more, taking valuable time off the clock.
Former Red Bulls forward Jozy Altidore, who scored his first full international goal in last year's 2-2 draw with Mexico in Houston, replaced Ching in the 83rd minute.