Atlanta United's Brad Guzan and the U.S. Men’s National Team took another step in their quest for World Cup qualification Sunday, earning a valiant point against Mexico in the tough and hostile atmosphere of the Estadio Azteca.
After the 2-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago on Thursday, head coach Bruce Arena made seven changes to his starting lineup for Sunday’s match against their southern neighbor, including handing the starting nod to Guzan over his goalkeeping companion Tim Howard.
As always it was a gritty match between the two CONCACAF rivals, but it was the red, white and blue who struck first as captain Michael Bradley intercepted a pass in the center circle, had a look up and caught goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa off of his line from 40 yards out. Watch Bradley’s incredible goal below:
The wonder chip gave the U.S. the one-goal advantage for about 17 minutes, until Mexico's Carlos Vela slotted the equalizer for the home side with a strike from the top of the box to the bottom corner just out of the reach of Guzan.
Both teams would produce chances in the second half including a few near-golazos that smacked off the woodwork, but neither the U.S. nor Mexico could snatch a winner as the match ended 1-1. The draw marks the second-straight WCQ cycle that the U.S. – with Guzan in goal – has captured a point from the notorious walls of the Mexican fortress. While fans of El Tri may be a bit disappointed with the result on their home turf, the Yanks will be happy to return to the states with a point in hand.
Since a rocky start to The Hex, suffering defeats against Costa Rica and Mexico, the U.S have now earned eight points from their last four matches and sit in 3rd place in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying standings. The hard-earned draw in Mexico gets the USMNT one valuable point closer to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with four matches remaining -- their next two coming against Costa Rica and Honduras later this year.