August 10, 2011
By Michael Lewis
ROGERS AND OUT
Rogers equalizes late in Klinsmann's debut as U.S. coach
PHILADELPHIA -- He may be nicknamed Wonder Boy, but Robbie Rogers certainly played like a man when it counted on Wednesday night.
|Juan Agudelo, Brek Shea and Jose Torres help Robbie Rogers (#16) celebrate his game-tying goal against Mexico on Wednesday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Rogers connected for the equalizing goal in the 73rd minute to boost the United States into a 1-1 draw with Mexico in an international friendly before a crowd of 30,138 at Lincoln Financial Stadium on Wednesday night.
The goal and the tie spared Juergen Klinsmann a disappointing debut as U.S. National Team coach, 12 days after he was named to replace Bob Bradley, who was fired.
The draw also made sure the U.S. averted losing three consecutive matches on home soil to El Tri, which would have been a first in the 77-year history of the teams.
Brek Shea, another second-half sub, sent a short pass across the goal mouth to an open Rogers, who beat defender Carlos Salcido and tapped home an easy goal from three yards for his second international goal and a 1-1 tie.
The Mexicans struck first in the 17th minute. Andres Guardado took a short corner to Antonio Naelson, who gave the ball back to this teammate on the right side. Guardado then sent a bullet cross into the middle of Oribe Peralta, who touched redirected the ball into the net for a 1-0 Mexico advantage.
The goal definitely gave the Americans some spark over the last 15 minutes of the match as they continually attacked the Mexican goal.
The U.S. felt Gerardo Torrado should have been red carded in the 86th minute when Rogers, given a perfect cross-field feed by Juan Agudelo, was taken down by the Mexican defender 30 yards out. They claimed that Torrado was the last defender in front of the goal. Instead, referee Raymond Bogle (Jamaica) gave Torrado a yellow card.
Except for Javier (Chicharito) Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos, the team's most vital attacking players, the Mexicans deployed a lineup that was similar to the one they used to captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
After the Mexicans held the ball for just about the first five minutes, midfielder Michael Bradley won the ball at midfield fed Landon Donovan down the right flank. Donovan sent a cross into the penalty area that Edson Buddle could not get a head on and Jermaine Jones slid in vain to touch before the ball skidded out of bounds.
Israel Castro fired a long-range attempt that went wide left of the U.S. net and goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 11th minute.
Four minutes later, the Mexicans penetrated deep into the area as Pablo Barrera ran after a through ball, but Howard managed to get to it before the midfielder did.
The Mexicans finally broke through in the 17th minute off a corner kick. Andres Guardado took a short corner to Antonio Naelson, who gave the ball back to this teammate on the right side. Guardado then sent a bullet cross into the middle of Oribe Peralta, who touched redirected the ball into the net for a 1-0 Mexico advantage.
The teams got into a bit of a tussle in the 23rd minute when U.S. right fullback Steve Cherundolo tripped an onrushing Guardado outside the penalty area. The two players had words, but referee Raymond Bogle (Jamaica) separated the two, but not before Naelson pushed Cherundolo. Words between both teams ensued, but Bogle did not hand out any yellow cards.
Finding himself between four American players in the 41st minute, Naelson decided to take a long-range shot that sailed over the net.
As if the U.S. needed more problems, dos Santos came on for Naelson in the 55th minute, giving the Mexicans some fresh legs and arguably the most talented player on the field.
One minute later the Americans came close to scoring off a Landon Donovan corner kick. Captain Carlos Bocanegra sent an emphatic eight-yard header toward the net that goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saved. Jones quickly sent a rebound on target that Ochoa kicked away. The ball was knocked out of bounds by Mexico for another corner kick that the visitors managed to clear.
Klinsmann made his first substitutes as a coach on the hour when he pulled a former Red Bulls forward for a current one -- Edson Buddle for Agudelo. He also replaced Jones with Shea.