First impressions were not positive as the U.S. were dominated by Mexico in the first half. Klinsmann sent the U.S. out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but the U.S. could do little offensively in the first half, failing to even get a shot on goal. Mexico dominated possession and had the U.S. chasing shadows for most of the first half.
As in the Gold Cup Final, Mexico attacked the U.S. down the wings, and Edgar Castillo and Jose Torres on the U.S. left had trouble containing Pablo Barrera.
So it was no surprise that Mexico’s goal in the 17th-minute goal came from the U..S left. A Mexico corner was played quickly and short to Andres Guardado who whipped in a strong cross to Oribe Peralta, who managed to fight off Michael Bradley before hitting a side volley that snuck inside the far post.
The U.S. were lucky to be only one goal down at halftime, but in the second half the U.S. really improved due to some youthful substitutions. Juan Agudelo and Robbie Rogers impressed, but it was Brek Shea who provided the real injection of life that shifted the tempo of the game.
The three MLS-based players combined for the American goal when Agudelo made a run behind the Mexican defense to receive a throw in. As the ball came his way, Agudelo one-timed it to Shea, who was able to muscle off a defender before playing a low cross that Rogers was able to tap in.
The young MLS based players really gave the U.S. a lift in the second half and the Americans could have won the game late when a counterattack saw Agudelo hit a lobbed pass to Rogers just as he was about to break free on goal. But Rogers never got to take a shot as a trailing Torrado tugged on Rogers’ jersey to prevent the goal-scoring chance. Torrado got a yellow card, but it should have been a red.
So what can Klinsmann and the U.S. take from this game? The U.S. is going through a transition at the moment as a lot of the faces we have seen wear a U.S. shirt in recent years will not be their in Brazil in three years. Bob Bradley was hesitant to make that transition to youth, but Jurgen Klinsmann is not.
The U.S. has some good up and coming players who need to play before World Cup qualifying begins next year. The problem with youth is that they make mistakes and the U.S. will go through this over the next 12-18 months until these players get the experience needed to compete at the highest level.
So overall not a bad first night for Jurgen Klinsmann. What did you think of the game?