New Wales boss Chris Coleman suffered defeat in his opening game in charge as The Dragons were beaten 2-0 by Mexico.
Aldo De Nigris struck late in each half to earn his side a well-deserved win, as the Welsh labored in the heat of New Jersey against an impressive display from the hosts.
Tottenham’s Giovanni Dos Santos started for the hosts, while Severo Meza made his debut at right back. For Wales, there were starts for Reading’s Hal Robson-Kanu, while Aberdeen’s Jason Brown donned the gloves in place of long-term absentee Wayne Hennessey.
Mexico started brightly and Brown was called into action early on by Dos Santos, who forced the 30-year-old into a low save after shooting from a tight angle.
Minutes later, debutant Maza rose unmarked just six yards from goal, but a last-ditch block from Chris Gunter saw the ball deflected over the bar.
Wales had little of the possession but did look threatening on the counterattack. Robson-Kanu missed its best opening of the half when he met Craig Bellamy’s cross, but he failed to keep the effort on target.
Edgar Andrade looked dangerous when venturing forward, and he fired narrowly over after being played in by Carlos Salcido. Moments later, the full back then found Aldo De Nigris only for Brown to save smartly at the near post.
It looked as if Wales would survive until the interval despite Mexico’s dominance on the ball, but on 43 minutes, the deadlock was broken after a lapse in concentration from Gunter.
Meza was played in down the right flank, and he had time and space to cross towards the far post where De Nigris rose completely unmarked to head home past Brown, with Gunter failing to track his run from deep.
The hosts began the second half as they had finished the first, with the Welsh unable to get a foothold in midfield. First Meza and then Dos Santos were denied by Brown, while Hector Moreno somehow contrived to turn the ball harmlessly back across goal when unmarked at the near post following a corner.
Brown was called into action moments later, pulling off a brilliant point-blank save to deny the lively Dos Santos from just five yards out.
Despite its dominance, Mexico was unable to net that all-important second goal. Barrera spurned arguably the best chance of the half when he met Jorge Torres Nilo’s cross at the far post, but he sliced wide on the volley from close range.
Substitute Angel Reyna then came within inches of bursting the back of the net after good work from Salcido, as he spun on the edge of the box and fired just wide of Brown’s right-hand post.
Bellamy had looked a threat when Wales did cross the halfway line, and he came close to providing a late equalizer for Chris Coleman's side, first seeing his long-range free kick blocked over the bar before turning provider for Sam Ricketts, who failed to connect with the Liverpool man's cross.
It proved to be a decisive miss, as with just two minutes left on the clock, Mexico finally netted a second.
Andrade found himself with time and space following a corner, and his fierce cross was flicked home by the head of De Nigris, who was once again unmarked in the center of the Welsh penalty area.
- Aldo De Nigris
- Giovanni Dos Santos
- Jason Brown
- Chris Gunter
- Severo Meza