Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

USMNT's Michael Bradley scores on gorgeous chip against Mexico

Michael Bradley opened the scored for the U.S. in the sixth minute, with Carlos Vela equalising for the hosts in the 23rd.

The U.S. men's soccer team needed a boost in a hostile environment on Sunday, and they got one from their captain. It was an inspired performance, with Geoff Cameron leading the way.

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.

From there, it was classic park-the-bus from the US, as Mexico racked up 74% of possession.

On any other field, Michael Bradley's goal would still have been considered a work of art, but Azteca Stadium providing the canvas made it all the more magnificent.

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But the home team would answer less than 20 minutes later, when a Mexico counter-attack blazed through the American defense. Arena wanted fresh players in this game - including in goal - and he ended up starting a team that was neither exhausted nor overawed in one of the world's most intimidating atmospheres.

Trinidad's Nathan Lewis beat Howard off the ensuing kickoff, but Yedlin had stepped up, causing an offside call that disallowed the goal. The two collided, leaving Chicharito in a heap in the box, as Gonzalez cleared the ball out for a corner. It led for 17 minutes on Sunday before Mexico answered.

Though the USA didn't have a bunch of numbers forward, the counter attack was on, with Chicharito corralling the throw from Ochoa. Plus, the fresher American players probably did much better in Azteca's high elevation than their worn out counterparts would have.

DaMarcus Beasley was fine for the US on Sunday, and despite getting beaten inside on the equalizer, it was his job not to let players get outside of him and cut to the endline.

"They were tough in the first half, definitely, " Pulisic explained. They will need that same solidity in their final two road matches against Mexico and the U.S.

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A downpour began during second-half injury time. Later, Javier Aquino was unmarked at the near post, but could not get his half-volley on goal from a cross.

Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera smacked a free kick off the bar from 30 yards after 70 minutes before Bradley hammered a volley off the post from a similar distance four minutes later but neither side could find the victor.

The U.S. did not quite soar all night, but Bradley's goal set the tone.

While he employed a standard 4-4-2 formation in the 2-0 home win over Trinidad, Arena decided as far back as January to start five defenders at Mexico. Three minutes later, Bradley sent a 30-yard shot off a post.

"Bruce has done a very good job of coming in and, just little by little, working at raising the level across the board".

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That advantage wouldn't last long though. "On a different night, we can come away with three". Although Costa Rica has a game in hand and the lead in point differential, the top three teams of The Hex will all automatically qualify for the World Cup. But after beating Trinidad and Tobago and drawing Mexico, earning four points in the last five days, the team has caught second-place Costa Rica, which plays Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.

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