Us Gains Zero-zero Draw At Mexico, In Robust Position To Qualify



MEXICO CITY (AP) — Christian Pulisic pounded the ground three instances just beyond Mexico's aim line after his factor-blank shot turned into blocked within the 35th minute.

The United States was frustrated but thrilled with a gritty zero-0 draw on Thursday night time inside the thin air of a half of-full Estadio Azteca. The point earned put the Americans in role to all but clinch a World Cup berth with a victory in opposition to Panama on Sunday night time at Orlando, Florida.

“We put ourselves in a function to play on Sunday and win and go to the World Cup,” Pulisic said. “But of course I'm dissatisfied I missed a risk, and I could have cherished to have won the sport."

The U.S. maintained second region in North and Central America and the Caribbean with 22 points, 4 at the back of Canada, and in advance of Mexico on aim distinction. The top three nations reach this year’s World Cup in Qatar, and the No. four team advances to a playoff, possibly in opposition to New Zealand.

With a victory Sunday, the U.S. might ensure that fourth-region Costa Rica could most effective pull even by way of winning its final video games. The U.S. has a plus-9 goal distinction, the primary tiebreaker, and the Ticos are plus- following a 1-zero win over Canada. If Costa Rica fails to win at El Salvador and the U.S. beats Panama, which has 18 factors after being held to a 1-1 draw with the aid of traveling Honduras, the Americans would clinch outright.

The U.S. closes on March 30 at Costa Rica, where the Americans have by no means gained in qualifying.

“We’re getting close,” U.S. teach Gregg Berhalter stated. “Positive sadness, that’s how I would characterize it. The organization is jazzed up. They're psyched."

Berhalter played his “A” crew — minus 5 injured regulars — after debating whether to rest top players in advance of Sunday. He will face Panama really depleted.

Right back DeAndre Yedlin and winger Tim Weah both were given their second yellow playing cards of qualifying and have to serve one-game suspensions, Yedlin in the 26th for an unnecessary sliding tackle inside the midfield on Edson Álvarez and Weah inside the thirty ninth for knocking over Raúl Jiménez from in the back of on a throw-in. The U.S. is short at right again with Sergiño Dest injured and Reggie Cannon sidelined following a high-quality COVID-19 check, and Berhalter said Shaq Moore already had flown from Spain's Tenerife to sign up for the U.S. organization in Orlando.

Mexico, which has forty wins, two losses and 10 attracts in qualifiers at Azteca, outshot the U.S. 11-9 and had sixty two.3% possession. But the Americans had the higher probabilities, a 1.26 anticipated desires to Mexico's 0.40.

El Tri enthusiasts booed the home team on the final whistle.

Zack Steffen were given the start over Ethan Hovath and got here away with his 2d shutout towards Mexico in qualifying, helping the U.S. increase its unbeaten streak over El Tri to four games, which include 3 wins.

Pulisic was on my own in the front after Ricardo Pepi fed Weah huge and the winger were given around defenders for a cross. Sprinting in the direction of aim with Johan Vásquez giving chase, Pulisic redirected the ball together with his left foot from 7 yards handiest for goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to react quickly sufficient to block the shot off his ribcage.

Pulisic had any other close name with an angled left-foot shot that Ochoa parried within the forty ninth for a corner kick.

Gio Reyna, the 19-yr-old midfielder who had missed the preceding 10 qualifiers with a strained hamstring, replaced Weah within the 60th minute and confirmed explosive speed. Reyna directed Kellyn Acosta's looping bypass in the 72nd minute to Jordan Pefok, who came in at the same time in area of Pepi, but Pefok misfired a left-foot shot and despatched it huge from 6 yards.

Reyna dribbled half the period of the sphere within the 77th, starting about 10 yards from his own penalty location. He dashed proper to steer clear of a sliding Héctor Herrera, deked left to slalom beyond Vásquez, sprinted into the middle circle and spun round Herrera once more, outran Gerardo Arteaga, dribbled past Jiménez and cut left after which proper to blow past Jorge Sánchez's slide tackle. Only then turned into Vásquez able to knock the ball away, approximately 30 yards from Mexico's aim.

Berhalter idea of Diego Maradona's 2d intention towards England in a 1986 World Cup quarterfinal played at the same discipline.

“I had visions of that once Gio changed into dribbling," Berhalter said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t finish it off.”

Reyna blushed while advised of Berhalter's observation.

“I don't know about that, but, yeah, it become a nice run," he said. “In the end, it did not definitely flip out to whatever.”

After FIFA ordered Mexico to play a pair of home qualifiers without enthusiasts as punishment for homophobic chants in the course of October qualifiers against Honduras and Canada, the Mexican Football Federation restrained the group to about forty seven,000 within the 87,000-seat stadium and mandated spectators gift a QR Code and identity for access.

For a good deal of the first half of, sections of several hundred American Outlaws inside the top deck had been louder than Mexico’s supporters.

“I suppose all and sundry's pretty pleased with the way this night went,” Pulisic stated. “Three factors could were extraordinary right here, however we cannot get too grasping. They're a exceptional group in a tough vicinity to play.”

NOTES: Aaron Long and Erik Palmer-Brown entered within the eightieth minute, the thirty seventh and thirty eighth American gamers used in qualifying. Palmer-Brown have become the 114th U.S. player of the World Cup cycle, the 88th given that Berhalter became teach in December 2018.

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