USA wins in Mexico for first time ever, 1-0

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The US women’s gold-medal winning team may have dominated American soccer headlines the past month, but the US men have just made a resounding statement of their own.  For the first time ever, the men’s national team has defeated Mexico on Mexican soil, thanks to late tally from Michael Orozco Fiscal.  The game-winner, which was created by a trio of US substitutes, silenced the crowd at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, leading to just the second non-defeat for the US in 25 matches played against its rivals in Mexico.

Brek Shea started the attack in the 80th minute just moments after entering the game, beating a defender in the left corner of the box and creating the Americans’ only dangerous chance of the game.  Shea’s flat pass across arrived a little behind Terrence Boyd, but Boyd back-heeled the ball to the far post where Orozco Fiscal, a defender who had joined the attack, poked it home.

Despite an inexperienced defense—with several players playing out of position—that spent the majority of the game in its own end of the field, the Americans limited the Mexican attack to just two shots on goal, both of which came from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez in the game’s closing minutes.  US captain and goalkeeper Tim Howard made a fantastic save on the first one, diving back off of his wrong foot after the shot was deflected and barely corralling the ball with his left hand.  Less than two minutes later, Howard made an even more impressive save, stymieing Chicharito’s point-blank header with his hands before flicking it off the line with his feet.

Howard’s second save left coach Jurgen Klinsmann with a goofy and surprised smile on his face, an expression that remained long after the referee whistled to end the game.  Just a year removed from his first match on the US bench, this may be the first sign of a major step for the US since his arrival.  While they have a long way to go to measure up to the accomplishments of the US women, breaking the drought in Mexico can’t be ignored.

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