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Match Report

Mexico Defeats U.S., 2-1, on Late Marquez Goal

The Americans fell to their regional rival to open the final round of World Cup qualification. Mexico scored first and last, enough to overcome Bobby Wood's strike. 
BY Noah Davis Posted
November 11, 2016
6:55 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio—After so much success, the United States men's national team finally came up short at MAPFRE Stadium. 

By the 20th minute, the hope of a fifth straight dos a cero win over Mexico was over. The Americans managed to fight back after the rough beginning, equalizing just after halftime, but captain Rafa Marquez found a late winner.

It was a poor beginning to the final round of qualification for the Stars and Stripes, who now must try to find a result in Costa Rica on Tuesday. 

The U.S. came out in a 3-5-2 with Omar Gonzalez, John Brooks, and Matt Besler making up the three-man defense. Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson started out wide, with Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Christian Pulisic in the midfield. Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood were the forwards.

Mexico had more of the early possession with Tecatito Corona nearly opening the scoring before 10 minutes were done. His right-footed effort looked like it had Tim Howard beat, but the sprawling goalkeeper managed to get a fingertip on the ball and it slammed emphatically but harmlessly off the post. 

By the 15th minute, both Mexico's Diego Reyes and Brooks had earned yellow cards from Guatemalan referee Walter Lopez. 

The opening goal came in the 20th minute. Giovani dos Santos won a battle with Bradley, and the ball trickled out to Miguel Layun. He took a touch, then a shot, which took a deflection and beat a wrong-footed Howard. It was the first lead for El Tri in a World Cup qualifier on American soil since 1997. 

The onslaught continued. Mexico dominated possession and Carlos Vela, back with Mexico for the first time in almost a year, hit the post. In an early substitution, Carlos Salcedo replaced Andres Guardado.

Jurgen Klinsmann attempted to change the flow, switching his team to a 4-4-2: Chandler, Gonzalez, Brooks, Besler; Johnson Bradley, Jones, Pulisic; Altidore, Wood. His players responded with renewed life and organization, nearly scoring off an Altidore header of a Bradley free kick.

But they didn't, and there was more bad news in the 36th minute. Howard shanked a goal kick out of bounds, then collapsed to the turf. At first, he looked almost certain to come off but stayed in after getting attention from the training staff. Four minutes later, however, he made a save and immediately called for a sub. The netminder walked off, the crowd chanting "Tim-my How-ard," as Brad Guzan entered.

The teams battled back and forth without creating much in either direction, and the U.S. went into the half down 1-0, lucky it wasn't more.

Just three minutes after the break, the U.S. got their own goal. Altidore charged at the backline before delivering a ball in stride to Wood. He cut to his left between two defenders, then finished past Mexican goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera. MAPFRE Stadium got loud.

It stayed loud as the Americans pressed forward. Gonzalez had a good chance off a corner kick, but his open header went directly at Talavera. Bradley had a chance off a turnover, his weak shot not troubling the goalkeeper. Johnson's curling effort hit the top of the net. A quarter hour into the second half, and the red, white, and blue were the more dangerous team by far. 

In the 74rd minute, DeAndre Yedlin replaced Chandler. On the restart, Wood forced an excellent reaction save after controlling the ball with his chest before turning and blasting it toward the net. 

The U.S. had a great chance on a free kick, which was drawn by Pulisic's marauding run. Altidore took the shot, straight on from 25 yards, and only a fingertip save tipped it over the bar. 

The action picked up, as Johnson saved a goal in the other direction, just reaching Chicharito's cross before an attacker did. 

With 10 minutes to go, Michael Orozco came on for Besler. 

The "I Believe" chant rang through the stadium as the crowd pushed for a late winner.

It came, but it was Mexico that scored it. Marquez, the Mexican player who's faced the most disappointment in Columbus, flicked on a corner kick and got a measure of revenge.

And then it was over, uno a dos.

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