When it comes to players who stood out in Wednesday’s match, there are a handful that cross my mind. Mexico controlled the majority of the match, but there was a U.S. player who deserves some recognition. Goalkeeper Tim Howard, aside from allowing two goals, showed he’s still a force to be reckoned with in goal. But when it came to players that stood out among others, Mexico had two that immediately come to mind.
the Americans took a 1-0 lead in just the ninth minute, it looked as if
Mexico might be in a bit of trouble. Well, that only lasted only for a few minutes.
Israel Castro saw things differently. And 10 minutes after the USA
scored, Mexico tallied a goal of their own. Cuauhtemoc Blanco fed the
ball to Castro, who launched a shot toward goal. The ball bounced off
the crossbar and in, tying the match at 1-1. The 28-year-old set the
tone for the rest of the match with the 19th minute goal. Mexico soon turned up the pressure as the USA looked for the draw.
Juarez stood out in defense for Mexico. With under 10 performances for
Mexico, Juarez had big shoes to fill with star defender Rafael Marquez
out of the lineup. He started out a bit shaky, but soon turned his play up. And at the same time, he created runs and space to spark
Mexico’s attack. Juarez assisted Miguel Sabah on his game-winner.
just 21 years old, Juarez proved that he has staying power. After a
youth career which included training at FC Barcelona, Juarez has earned
a starting spot on the UNAM Pumas' roster. And after another strong
performance, could have a regular spot for the Mexican National Team. A
defender who can also be an offensive threat is a must-have for most
U.S. Star of the match: Tim Howard
Howard isn’t afraid to make the big plays. He stood strong in goal for
the Americans for 90 minutes. Howard allowed two goals, but came up
with four huge saves to keep the USA in the match until the final
seconds. Howard was able to get a hand or a punch on almost every
chance that Mexico had. Miguel Sabah’s late goal however, was just over
Howard’s head. Regardless, Howard’s presence was well felt in goal for
the U.S. Men, even though he did sneak pretty far out of the box a few
Surprise of the match: Mexico’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco
Mexican veteran Cuauhtemoc Blanco looked half his age out there on
Wednesday afternoon. Well, maybe not quite that young. But regardless, he
showed poise and passion as he created opportunities for the club
during his 55 minutes of play. Like him or hate him, Blanco still has
what it takes to get the job done. Castro couldn’t have found the net without a perfect cross, courtesy of Blanco.
Spoiler of the match (for the USA at least): Mexico’s Miguel Sabah
minutes isn’t long for a player to make a mark in a game – especially a
World Cup qualifier. But for Miguel Sabah, three minutes proved to be
enough. Sabah entered the match in the 79th minute and in the 82nd,
Sabah rained on the USA’s parade. While the Americans may have been
holding on for the draw, Sabah took advantage of a loose ball and quickly shot it over USA goalkeeper Tim Howard’s head for a 2-1 lead.
Kathryn Knapp, Goal.com
For more on the Hex and on Mexico vs. USA visit Goal.com's CONCACAF page.