USA stumbles to Brazil in midweek friendly and Mexico struggles with Bosnia
Goal.com continues its tracking of the Mexican and American national teams as both continued their run of pre-World Cup qualifying friendlies this week.
After Mexico and the United States had handled similarly talented Great Britain opposition quite easily over the weekend, this week's pair of matches featured vastly different opponents.
The United States faced Brazil, currently ranked sixth in the FIFA World Rankings and featuring one of the most electrifying young talents the world has seen in quite some time in Neymar.
Brazil also reminded Americans and other observers who had relegated the South Americans below their usual elite status that they can call on enormous amounts of talent when needed. AC Milan's Alexandre Pato and Thiago Silva scored, and Real Madrid's Marcelo added to Neymar's initial penalty strike.
Only Herculez Gomez could break past the Canarinha defense for Klinsmann's men, as Brazil cruised to a 4-1 win in Washington.
Jose Manuel de la Torre experienced a bit of deja vu as Mexico faced Bosnia for the second time in as many years, with the Europeans holding a special place in Chepo's heart as his first opponent as El Tri boss.
Giovani dos Santos struck quickly for Mexico, which jumped out to a 1-0 lead and appeared to have the tools to win handily, but Bosnia was pushed on, with Manchester City's Edin Dzeko drawing level.
A disheartening draw appeared to be in the cards until Javier Hernández took advantage of ghastly Bosnian defending in injury time and slammed home the game's winner.
Goal.com has broken down the finer points from both of these matches to analyze and determine whether the United States or Mexico had the better showing against their respective opponents.
|USA AND MEXICO: HEAD TO HEAD
|USA vs. Brazil
||Mexico vs. Bosnia
|Jurgen Klinsmann tasked the U.S. players to match the Brazilian intensity and take the game to the visitors. It was a valiant attempt at what Spanish speakers identify as "tú por tú," and the Americans outshot Brazil despite the final score. This was best exemplified during the USA's only goal. Bradley's combo play with Johnson with Gomez finishing was absolutely superb.
||Mexico once again displayed the same speedy style that guided them to victory against Wales in New Jersey. Giovani dos Santos, playing freely behind the strikers is an absolute menace to any defense, and Pablo Barrera has owned the right wing without question. Having a finisher like Chicharito is a boost that any team would not refuse. His goal might have been lucky, but not everyone can finish that play.
|Just like in the Scotland game, defensive set pieces haunted the Americans, as Thiago Silva rose freely in the midst of four U.S. defenders to connect with Neymar's corner kick and score Brazil's second goal of the game. It seems that the players did not completely buy into Klinsmann's mantra before the game, and their intensity steadily fell with each Brazilian goal. You can't blame the U.S. for not stopping Neymar (who can?), but the superb Santos man took the U.S. defense out to the woodshed on the Marcelo goal.
||Mexico also suffers from defensive set piece mistakes, as Bosnia could have scored twice or even thrice off of corner kicks or free kicks. Maza Rodríguez needs a general like Rafa Márquez to position him in the box, otherwise, mistakes will happen. Offensively, it's clear Mexico can and will struggle without an in-form striker. Giovani missed, Barrera missed, De Nigris missed and even Chicharito was stifled on a few occasions. A healthy Oribe Peralta will help.
|Michael Bradley: The Chievo midfielder is currently going through his best run of play in his entire career. His hook-up with Fabian Johnson to produce the Herculez Gomez goal was nothing short of fantastic. He's an all-terrain player that creates solutions on both sides of the pitch.
||Chicharito: Mexico is one team without Javier Hernandez, and one completely different team with the Manchester United striker on the pitch. Chicharito is a defense's worst nightmare when he's on his game, and the former Chivas man was up to his usual tricks against Bosnia, even tapping into some of that legendary luck when coming across his goal.
|3/10: Back to the drawing board when it comes to playing against a world power like Brazil. Klinsmann wanted his team to behave like they were the ones wearing the yellow jersey and not the red and white stripes. The United States needs to develop a strong style of play, one that will take time and patience. There were some good signs, like the insistence up front and constant shooting, but defending and set pieces have taken a huge hit in response to the more aggressive mindset.
||6.5/10: A slightly worse performance from Mexico in Chicago, although the weather can be blamed for some of that. The first half was an intense grudge match that thrilled fans of both teams, but they slowed down significantly in the second half. Chicharito made a huge difference when he came on the pitch, helping out a stagnant offense that produced chance after chance and could not put the ball away. Chepo's two-striker set lasted 10 minutes, as it's somewhat clear De Nigris doesn't partner well.
Follow ERIC GOMEZ on