USA score historic win in the Azteca
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — Second-half substitute Michael Orozco Fiscal scored in the 80th minute to give the United States their first-ever win at Mexico with a 1-0 victory in a friendly Wednesday.
Brek Shea, who entered two minutes earlier, ran down the left flank and around Severo Meza before sending a cross to Terrence Boyd. Boyd made a quick backheel pass to Orozco Fiscal, who beat keeper Guillermo Ochoa for his first international goal.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard made sure the Americans held on to the lead, changing directions to stop a deflected shot by Javier Hernandez in the 85th, then pawing away a header by Chicharito in the 89th.
“I think it’s huge. It’s huge for I think all American fans, it’s huge for the team, and it’s historic,” US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “We were very well aware that we’ve never won here at the Azteca Stadium. This is an amazing experience for all the players. We told them before the game: This moment is for you, go and grab it. We are all aware that it was a lot, a lot of work.”
The US had lost 23 matches and drawn one against El Tri in 75 years of matches in Mexico, including 19 losses and a draw at the thin air at altitude in Mexico City — where they have been outscored 81-14.
“Tim Howard kept us in the game I don’t know how many times,” said Klinsmann, who has been trying to change the defensive mindset the American had at times under Bob Bradley. “It’s a mental aspect of it. Eventually, you need a little bit of luck, too, and I think in some instances we were lucky.”
It was the second big win for the Americans this year, following their first-ever victory over Italy in a friendly at Genoa in February.
With the European club seasons getting underway, the US used a halfstrength squad and a makeshift central defence.
Mexico, also below strength following the Olympics, dominated possession but failed to connect on several open shots as the Americans paired Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron in the centre of their back line.
The game marked the start of the Americans’ second year under Klinsmann, who replaced Bradley after Mexico overcame a two-goal deficit to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup final 4-2.
The US expects to have a lineup closer to full strength for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica next month, on the road on September 7 and at Columbus, Ohio, four days later. Mexico play Costa Rica twice on those same days.
“We know we have to improve in many, many elements,” Klinsmann said. “We have to keep the ball longer. We have to create more chances. We have to do a lot of work still. But I think this gives us a lot of confidence.”
Landon Donovan, searching for his 50th international goal, left at the start of the second half because of a tight hamstring and DaMarcus Beasley came in for his 97th international appearance. Boyd came in at the same time to replace an ineffective Jose Torres.
Cameron got his head on a cross from Elias Hernandez in the 56th minute, preventing Hernandez from an open shot in front of goal. A minute later, Jesus Zavala put an open header over the crossbar.
With Ochoa off his line, Kyle Beckerman put a long, sliding shot just over the crossbar in the 60th.
Andres Guardado hooked a free kick just wide to Howard’s right post in the 65th after Cameron fouled Hernandez just outside the penalty area. Hernandez then sent an open header wide in the 76th off a cross from Hernandez.
“It was very difficult in high altitude, with many of them flying in from Europe two days ago,” Klinsmann said. “But we had a plan, and we tried to execute that plan and getting that win here, I mean it’s quite enjoyable.”