August 20, 2011

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In Klinsmannís debut, U.S. comeback earns 1-1 draw against Mexico

11 Aug, 2011

By Charles Boehm

Robbie Rogers scored a 73rd-minute equalizer to earn the U.S. Men’s National Team a 1-1 draw against border rivals Mexico in an international friendly in front of 30,138 at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday night, the national team’s first result under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

The U.S. began the night sluggishly and found themselves down a goal after a Mexico corner kick in the 17th minute. Oribe Peralta found the net with an acrobatic finish despite being closely marked by Michael Bradley, wrapping himself around the U.S. midfielder to get a foot on Andres Guardado’s cross and redirect the ball past Yanks goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The United States struggled for rhythm in a new-look midfield arrangement featuring three defensive-minded central players in Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones and Bradley, the latter of which was pushed forward into an advanced role that did not seem to suit him. With Edson Buddle a lone striker, Landon Donovan and Jose Francisco Torres started the match on the right and left wings, respectively, but both performed better in more central positions later in the game as the home side made changes and took control down the stretch.

Klinsmann also fielded a tweaked back line, with Mexican-based youngsters Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco Fiscal joining veteran leaders Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo.

Rogers, a California native who played alongside Klinsmann with the Orange County Blue Stars of the Premier Development League as a teenager, was one of several young MLS-based players who helped turn the game in the United States’ favor when they entered as second-half substitutes. His goal was a simple tap-in at the far post, set up by a quick passing combination between Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea following a U.S. throw-in.


“I think now we can be very satisfied with that performance,” Klinsmann told reporters afterwards. “There were a couple of very, very good individual performances. It’s great to see some young players stepping into this team and being guided by the experienced ones. Michael Orozco, Castillo, the way Kyle Beckerman played his No. 6 role in front of the back four was exceptional.

“The spirit and the energy from the experienced ones like Landon Donovan was fun to watch. It was really enjoyable to see how they then kind of expressed themselves. Robbie Rogers comes on and goes at [Mexican defender Carlos] Salcido like he plays in those big games always. This is what we want in this team. We want them to express themselves and have fun, and I think that’s what we saw.”

Shea has been one of the top performers in MLS this year and the FC Dallas winger brought speed and aggression to the left flank. Beyond his goal, Rogers looked to have given the U.S. a man advantage with five minutes left when he jetted past Gerardo Torrado on a U.S. counterattack, prompting the Mexican veteran to yank him to the turf with no one left to impede his progress towards goal. Yet Jamaican referee Raymond Bogle let Torrado off the hook, producing only a yellow card.

The U.S. were also unlucky on another Bogle decision in the second half, as he waved play on after Donovan was clipped down inside the Mexican penalty area.

“I think we stopped giving them so much respect and we put them under pressure. When they’re under pressure, they don’t do well, they don’t like it,” Donovan told ESPN after the match. “So we continued that in the second half – I’m not sure they had any chances in the second half. Maybe with a few different calls, we win the game.”

But as expected, the evening’s starring role went to Klinsmann, whose enthusiasm and experimentation gave U.S. fans more reason for optimism than the final score.

“I had a lot of fun,” he said with a grin after the final whistle. “I really had a lot of fun with the coaching staff, the players, feeling the energy out there – also the fans, they really got into the game. It’s a really nice feeling.”

-- U.S. Men’s National Team Game Report --

Match: USA vs. Mexico
Date: Aug. 10, 2011
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
Attendance: 30,138
Weather: Clear and warm, 80 degrees

Scoring Summary:     1              2              F
USA                            0              1              1
MEX                            1              0              1

MEX – Oribe Peralta (Andres Guardado)       17th minute
USA – Robbie Rogers (Brek Shea)                73                     

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 5-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 2-Edgar Castillo; 7-Kyle Beckerman 4-Michael Bradley (16-Robbie Rogers, 72), 8-Jermaine Jones (17-Brek Shea, 60) ,10-Landon Donovan, 11-Jose Torres (15-Ricardo Clark, 84); 9-Edson Buddle (18-Juan Agudelo, 60)
Subs not used: 12-Bill Hamid, 13-Zach Lloyd, 14-Heath Pearce
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa, 16-Efrain Juarez (22- Paul Aguilar, 75), 4-Rafael Marquez (2-Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 69), 15-Hector Moreno, 3-Carlos Salcido; 7- Pablo Barrera (21-Christian Bermudez, 72), 6-Gerardo Torrado, 17-Antonio Naelson (10-Giovani dos Santos, 55), 8-Israel Castro, 18-Andres Guardado; 19-Oribe Peralta (9-Omar Arellano, 62)
Subs not used: 11-Javier Aquino, 12- Alfredo Talavera, 13-Jesus Zavala, 20-Jorge Torres Nilo
Head coach: Jose Manuel de la Torre

Stats Summary: USA / MEX                                           
Shots: 6 / 7
Shots on Goal: 3 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 8 / 16
Offside: 0 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Efrain Juarez (caution)          42nd minute
MEX – Rafael Marquez (caution)     67
MEX – Gerardo Torrado (caution)    86

Referee: Raymond Bogle (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Antonio Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Dion Neil (TRI)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar (USA)

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