Mexico routs US 3-0 to maintain soccer dominance
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Javier Hernández scored after U.S. newcomer Sergiño Dest was nutmegged in the 21st minute, Érick Gutiérrez and Uriel Antuna added late goals and Mexico mauled the United States 3-0 in an exhibition Friday night for its biggest victory margin over its regional rival in a decade.
Mexico had total control of the match after an even first 20 minutes. Gutiérrez scored the second goal in the 78th, a minute after entering, following a poor clearance by American goalkeeper Zack Steffen that was intercepted. Antuna, another late substitute, added an 82nd-minute goal on a counterattack.
The Americans lost to Mexico by three goals for the first time since a 5-0 defeat in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. El Tri beat the U.S. 1-0 two months ago in the latest Gold Cup final in July and has won four of the last six meetings, with one draw.
Josh Sargent, an 19-year-old American, took a penalty kick in the 88th minute rather than star Christian Pulisic and was stopped by Jonathan Orozco, who dived to his right.
Dest, an 18-year-old who has gained playing time for Ajax this season, started at left back in his U.S. debut and played until the 68th minute. He became the third American born in the 2000s to play for the national team after Tim Weah and Sargent. Born to an American father and Dutch mother, he can switch to the Netherlands if he doesn’t play a competitive match for the U.S.
Dest had the first good U.S. chance, a curling shot from 25 yards in the 14th minute that was off target. But his inexperience showed on the goal.
Jesús Corona, playing for Mexico for the first time in 11 months, dribbled past Pulisic, played the ball through the legs of Dest, then took a touch toward goal and made an open cross to an unmarked Hernández. The diving header from 8 yards was Chicharito’s 52nd international goal, six more than Jared Borgetti’s previous Mexican record.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made six lineup changes from the Gold Cup final. Defender John Brooks once again was hurt, leaving Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman in central defense. After missing the Gold Cup because of an injured knee ligament, Brooks did not dress because of a tight right groin.
Mexico started just two players who began the Gold Cup final, when Corona, Hernández and forward Hirving Lozano were among the missing stars.
Both teams figure to experiment for much of the next year, filled with more friendlies and the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League. Regional qualifying for the 2022 World Cup doesn’t start until the first week of September 2020.
There was the jostling typical of the region’s top rivalry, with players pushing in a scrum after Héctor Herrera got a hand in the face of Alfredo Morales, who returned to the U.S. lineup for the first time since May 2016. Morales hit a post in the 80th minute.
Defender Miles Robinson made his debut in the 58th minute, when he replaced Zimmerman.
HERE TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
Several of the U.S. starters are expected to head back to their clubs before Tuesday’s exhibition against Uruguay in St. Louis.
Tata Martino is 11-0 since taking over this year as Mexico’s coach — with all the matches played in the U.S. He has an exhibition Tuesday against Argentina in San Antonio and a CONCACAF Nations League match at Bermuda on Oct. 12 before his first home game, a Nations League match versus Panama on Oct. 16.
The game drew 47,960 to MetLife Stadium, where the upper deck was closed. The total was up from 32,469 for last September’s friendly at the venue against Brazil but down from 78,936 for a 2011 match against Argentina and 77,223 for a 2010 friendly against Brazil.
Notes: Goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is retiring at the end of the MLS season, was honored by the U.S. Soccer Federation before the game, part of a new program to acknowledge men and women who made at least 100 international appearances and were on the rosters for two senior world championships, including World Cups and Olympics. The 40-year-old, who made 121 appearances, does not want to coach but would like to be in management. Of the open U.S. men’s general manager position vacated when Earnie Stewart was promoted, he said: “I want to stay in the game at a very high level,” Howard said. “For my country, anything.”
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