MEXICO CITY — For just the fourth time in its history, the U.S. men’s national team tied archrival Mexico at Estadio Azteca.
In the scoreless draw, the USMNT carried out its intent to play for a win Thursday, despite playing at 7,200 feet in elevation. The Americans squandered two golden scoring opportunities that kept them from earning their first World Cup qualifying win on Mexican soil. With an exhausting 90 minutes of running aside, the U.S. kept itself on track to clinching a World Cup berth with a scoreless draw.
The U.S. (6-2-4, 22 points) remains level with Mexico on points, but keep its second-place position in the CONCACAF standings due to goal differential. It now looks ahead to a qualifier against Panama on Sunday in Orlando at Exploria Stadium (7 p.m. ET, on FS1), where its won all four of its matches. Fortunately for the U.S., Honduras tied with Panama on Thursday, 1-1, to keep them at bay.
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In a nutshell, coach Gregg Berhalter described the team's morale as "positively disappointed."
"The group is jazzed. They’re psyched," Berhalter said. "It was a good performance. We wanted to be the first team to beat Mexico at Azteca and we fell a little bit short. But the mood’s not down. Not at all. It’s the opposite. We know we’re going home…"
Christian Pulisic, Jordan Pefok miss scoring chances
USMNT winger Tim Weah had Mexico's Gerardo Arteaga beat, dribbling down the right wing at pace in the 35th minute. He crossed the ball low to Christian Pulisic in the penalty area. The pass was too far from goal for goalkeeper Memo Ochoa to pursuit and too fast for a trailing center back Johan Vasquez to make a recovery.
Pulisic chose to aim for the center with a left-footed shot, but before Ochoa was able to fully extend towards his right, where he expected Pulisic to shoot, the ball hit Ochoa in the chest and collected it for the save. The two collided and Pulisic fell to the turf, pounding the ground in frustration.
"I’m disappointed, I missed a chance and would’ve loved to have won the game," Pulisic said. "… I thought we had the bigger chances in the game. We did have control for big spurts of the game. But I think it's a game that could’ve gone either way."
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: World Cup qualifying: USMNT ties with Mexico at Estadio Azteca