Michael Bradley scored a stunning early goal from about 40 yards and the United States held on for a 1-1 tie against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier Sunday night at Azteca Stadium.
MEXICO CITY – Michael Bradley scored a stunning early goal from about 40 yards and the United States held on for a 1-1 tie against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier Sunday night at Azteca Stadium.
U.S. coach Bruce Arena changed seven starters and used a five-man defense to overcome the thin air and short recovery time and the team’s all-time record in World Cup qualifiers at Azteca moved to 0-5-3.
This is Arena’s second stint as coach of the national team, which is 3-0-4 since he replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November.
Bradley put the United States ahead in the sixth minute when he deflected a poor backpass by Mexican star Javier Hernandez and created his own breakaway.
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“Here you know that if you catch a ball right, with the thin air the ball’s going to really fly,” Bradley said.
Carlos Vela tied the score in the 23rd minute with a 23-yard shot that beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan to the near post, and Hector Herrera nearly put El Tri ahead in the 71st with a 30-yard free kick that struck the crossbar.
With its second draw in three road qualifiers, the U.S. team continued to recover from its awful 0-2 start last fall under Klinsmann.
“It’s a shame to give away the goal that we did,” said Bradley, adding, “Any time you can get a point here, it’s great.”
Mexico leads the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region with 14 points through six matches, followed by Costa Rica (eight), the United States (seven), Panama (six), Honduras (four) and Trinidad and Tobago (three). The top three teams after 10 matches advance to next year’s World Cup in Russia, and the fourth-place team faces Asia’s No. 5 nation in a playoff.
“I feel good about where we are,” Arena said. “We made up some lost ground.”
With Azteca at 7,820 feet above sea level and a mere two off days since a 2-0 home victory over Trinidad and Tobago, Arena paid close attention to recovery time and tested his roster’s depth.
Bradley was one of four players to start each of the last two matches.
Fans booed and whistled during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as usual when the team plays in Mexico, and there was an occasional T-shirt disparaging U.S. President Donald Trump.
U.S. women win 1-0 in Norway
SANDEFJORD, Norway – Christen Press scored to help the U.S. women’s national team beat Norway 1-0.
Press broke through in the 60th minute. It was her 42nd international goal.
Mallory Pugh, a 19-year-old who earlier this year decided to go pro rather than play college soccer, injured her ankle in warmups, according to U.S. Soccer officials. She was replaced by Meghan Klingenberg.
The U.S. team won both of its European Tour matches, as it beat Sweden 1-0 on Thursday.