Arena changes 7 US starters vs Mexico, wary of altitude

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 13, 2017

Pulisic leads all of CONCACAF with five assists during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, and has tallied four goals and three assists in his last four global matches.

Bradley has spent the bulk of his time with the men's national team as a distributor for others in the middle of the attack.

USA manager Bruce Arena hailed his team's ability to follow its tactical game plan in a 1-1 draw with rivals Mexico, as well as the bond that the individual players have formed with each other. The top three advance to next year's World Cup in Russian Federation, and the fourth-place team faces Asia's No. 5 nation in a playoff. In addition to Bradley, 18-year-old midfielder Christian Pulisic remained in the lineup along with right back DeAndre Yedlin and center back Geoff Cameron. Brad Guzan, who shut out Mexico during a 2013 World Cup qualifier, got the start in net.

Arena said 38-year-old Tim Howard remains the Americans' No. 1 goalkeeper, but for this match he preferred Guzan, partly because Howard is coming off surgery to fix the adductor muscle in his right leg, an injury sustained against Mexico last fall that still affects his kicking. Who knows! There were definitely 11 players on the field.

Bradley put the USA ahead in the sixth minute when he deflected a poor backpass by Mexican star Javier Hernandez and created his own breakaway. The stadium went quiet, similar to when Charlie Davies scored in 2009.

The entire US defense.

Another El Tri chance went wasted in the 20th minute. But that was clearly far from the truth, as Gonzalez was pivotal in Sunday's draw.

Bobby Wood should have made it 2-0 two minutes later. Mexico couldn't convert on nine corner kicks.

Mexico was trying to sweep the Americans in a qualifying cycle for the first time 1972. With that, the USA was comfortable to just sit back and defend that goal, feeling good about getting at least a draw.

The American lead was fun while it lasted.

"I feel good about where we are", Arena said. In the 44th minute, Yedlin, who looked increasingly exhausted, saw yellow for persistent infringement.

Joel Aguilar of El Salvador was the referee.

It was a wild second half that saw Mexico with more chances, with each hitting the frame of the goal. In rare moments when the Americans did get the ball, they turned it over quickly on home run efforts to find a second goal.

After Vela drew a foul from Bradley in a unsafe position, Herrera's fizzing free-kick rattled the crossbar and bounced away to safety.

Arriola also earns his first World Cup Qualifying start.

Midway through the second half, the electricity of the first had not returned. While the "America!" crowd will love his confidence, and while his talent can single-handedly win games against even the best teams, Pulisic would do well to settle into the game and help his side pick up any points possible.

Herrera almost put El Tri ahead in the 71st with a 30-yard free kick that rebounded off the crossbar. The ball beat Guzan before slamming into the crossbar.

The Bradley goal, no doubt.

The Washington Post reported before the game Sunday that many fans were calling Trump's comments and attitude towards Mexicans the "salsa on the tacos" when it comes to an already intense rivalry, but seeming to imply that there would be no extra unpleasantness in Sunday's match. The Mexican fans waved their towels. "But we certainly benefited with the things we did over the last two weeks". Their team, however, could not.

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