USMNT Draw with Mexico 2-2


Apr 2, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; USA midfielder Michael Bradley (4) celebrates after scoring a goal in the first half against Mexico during a friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two halves in Glendale last night. The US dominated the first half, netting two goals in the first 30 minutes, while Mexico dominated the second half.

Michael Bradley was the best player on the pitch last night. He played in Clint Dempsey’s usual attacking midfield spot, and played brilliantly at that. Bradley scored the first goal just 15 minutes in from a fantastic Graham Zusi corner kick. Bradley also assisted on the second goal scored by Chris Wondolowski in the 28th minute. Bradley’s flick header to the back post found Wondo on a perfectly timed run for the finish. Bradley was all over the pitch, and made great runs off the ball to set up chances for the US. This leaves Klinsmann with options for Brazil; especially since Bradley was technically playing out of position.

The US kept possession in first half very well, as Mexico only had a few legitimate threatening opportunities. The flanks of Brad Davis and Graham Zusi provided excellent service, and played clever balls into the attacking third. The fullback duo of Michael Parkhurst and Tony Beltran also played well in the attack. Beltran actually played a cross into the box that Bradley flicked on for the second goal.

The second half was a completely different story. Mexico came out flying, and looked dangerous from the opening kick. Omar Gonzalez made crucial mistakes that led, in part, to both Mexican goals. He lost his man on a corner for the first goal (his man was Rafa Marquez), and did not make a run to the back post to prevent a rebound goal on the second. Omar Gonzalez is a very big and talented defender, but it seems like he is always caught up in something every match. He will need to put together an entire match against the world’s best in Brazil, and I’m not sure if he can do it.

This game also marked the debut of Julian Green. The 18 year-old Bayern Munich II winger played a decent 30 minutes. He got forward with pace, and even drew a free kick that wasn’t called. His defending could have been better, but it’s something that will come with experience. He now has every chance to be on that plane to Brazil.

As for a player who absolutely, 100 percent should be in Brazil, look no further than Chris Wondolowski. With his goal last night, he has 9 in his last 11 matches for the Yanks. After a perfect Gold Cup, and his goals in this year’s friendlies, there should be little doubt about his ability. It doesn’t matter who the goals were against, that’s impressive.

This was an experimental game for Jurgen Klinsmann; he even played a 4-4-2 diamond from the start. He started Brad Davis over Landon Donovan, played Michael Bradley in the attacking mid spot, and played Clint Dempsey as a true striker. This was an opportunity for players to make their case for the World Cup, and it payed off for some. The 30 man preliminary roster will be unveiled on May 13, so time is almost out for some fringe players.

USMNT lineup (4-4-2 diamond): Rimando; Beltran; Besler (Goodson 59′); Gonzalez; Parkhurst (Yedlin 71′); Beckerman (Edu 71′); Davis (Green 59′); Zusi (Donovan 59′); Bradley; Dempsey; Wonodlowski (Johnson 64′)

Mexico lineup (5-3-2): Munoz (Talavera 46′); Valenzuela; Marquez; Maza; Layun (Ponce 68′); Brizuela (Montes 57′); Zavala (Medina 46′); Pena (Jimenez 46′); Chavez (Anguilar 63′); Fabian; Pulido

Goals: Bradley (15′); Wondolowski (28′); Marquez (49′); Pulido (67′)

Who impressed you last night? Who should be on the roster? Let us know in the comments below.