Who was better in their weekend friendly, Mexico or USA?

Goal.com takes a critical look at CONCACAF's big boys and their weekend matches against Great Britain opponents to find out who had a better showing.
By Eric Gomez

The United States and Mexico did not disappoint their fans over the weekend by soundly defeating their respective opponents in the first of their spring friendlies in the run-up towards 2014 World Cup qualifying. Tasked with defeating rivals from Great Britain, both of CONCACAF's giants showed that they're in form to start regional play against teams who will want to show them up and complicate transition to the next round of play.

In Florida, Jurgen Klinsmann's boys gave Scotland a shellacking thanks mostly to a Landon Donovan hat trick, as well as strong play from Chievo's Michael Bradley and Pachuca's José Torres. Even without Clint Dempsey, the Americans were clinical en route to a 5-1 win.

Mexico faced Wales in New Jersey amidst expectation and doubt stemming from a humbling defeat to Colombia months before, halting the momentum gained off a very strong 2011 campaign. Missing studs Javier Hernández and Andrés Guardado, El Tri had to rely on the talent of Giovani dos Santos and the finishing of Aldo de Nigris to quell fears of further regression by beating the Gareth Bale-less Welshmen with a 2-0 scoreline.

Goal.com has broken down the finer points from both of the weekend matches to analyze and determine whether the United States or Mexico had the better showing against their respective opponents.

USA vs. Scotland
Mexico vs. Wales

USA vs.Mexico



Certainly, the offensive prowess and dynamism shown by the United States was a welcome surprise. The explosiveness right out of the gate was definitely inspiring, and using Landon Donovan as the clear vessel for the culmination of offensive plays was great to watch. Even without Clint Dempsey, this team showed it could finish. Defensively, Scotland was unable to generate anything due to staunch marking and a marked possession grab by the Americans. Mexico's high tempo and quickness on the ball makes it a dangerous opponent for most anyone. As the old saying goes, "you can't teach speed." Giovani dos Santos was deadly on counterattacks and found partners in Pablo Barrera and Aldo de Nigris. The Monterrey striker also showed he's more than capable of filling a potential void for Javier Hernández or Oribe Peralta should the need arise for José Manuel de la Torre's men come 2014 World Cup qualifying and beyond. 
Defensive set pieces were the only area of weakness for the United States in Florida. It's no coincidence that's where the only Scottish goal of the game came from, embarrassingly enough on a Geoff Cameron own goal. Up 5-1 in the last 20 minutes of the game, the Americans decidedly lowered the tempo of the game. It would have been nice to see Klinsmann's players keep their foot on the pedal and show no mercy, even if just to inflate the final scoreline on a friendly. Mexico's finishing suffered without Chicharito up front. Dos Santos was rusty in front of goal thanks to a season of riding the pine, De Nigris seemed nervous early before settling in, and Barrera also missed a few clear chances. El Tri's penchant to push their lines up also left a few spaces up front for Wales, which meant Hector Moreno, 'Maza' Rodríguez and even J.J. Corona had to make some defensive plays right on the edge to avoid damage. That won't fly against better quality rivals moving forward.
Landon Donovan: A hat trick from the Los Angeles Galaxy star should stir up even more talk about him going back to Europe, maybe on a permanent basis. Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley and José Torres all facilitated Donovan's great performance against Scotland, but it was the former Everton man who showed a sharp eye for goal. Giovani dos Santos: Although he didn't score, it's clear that Gio was more than motivated to be back on the pitch for a competitive match. Dos Santos ran rings around Wales and created dangerous opportunities for himself and others, drawing personnel away from Aldo de Nigris and making space for Mexico's offense on the break.
9/10: Clinical. Fast. Aggressive. Just some of the ways you can describe this performance, and clearly adjectives that had been missing from the American team for quite some time. Against a weak opponent, the USA did what it had to do and then some. Brazil will bring a stiffer test, yes, but la Canarinha will face a more confident opponent in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. 7/10: Mexico won easily against Wales, but you can't help but think that El Tri had Chris Coleman's team on the ropes and could not land the knockout blow. An in-form Giovani dos Santos or Pablo Barrera would have easily made this a 3-0 or 4-0 match. Mexico's defense was rarely tested, but leaving gaps in the back against say, Brazil will create a different ending to the story we saw on Sunday.

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