Watch: Michael Bradley Scores For USMNT In World Cup Qualifier, 1-1 Tie Vs Mexico
Michael Bradley, U.S. tie Mexico 1-1 in World Cup Qualifier
The USMNT captain, who will turn 30 in July, opened the scoring for head coach Bruce Arena’s team in the sixth minute by intercepting a back pass from Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez in midfield — his natural playing position — and racing downfield to fire a shot from 40 yards out that arced over Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa’s head and flew into the goal.
What a chip from Michael Bradley! 😱
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 12, 2017
“Obviously it gave us an advantage early on,” Bradley told Fox Sports 1 of his goal, his 17th career international goal and fifth tally against Mexico. “They had a lot of the ball but tactically the game went the way we expected … any time you get a point here it’s great, the mentality and the commitment from every guy was really good.”
The midfielder, son of former U.S. Men’s soccer team coach Bob Bradley, nearly scored again from long range in the last 20 minutes with a bullet that edged the outside of the post.
The captain, who plays for Toronto FC, also praised his head coach, who took over after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired in November 2016, in his post-game interview.
“We had let a lot of little things drop and I think Bruce has come in and done a really good job,” said Bradley of Arena.
Bradley’s goal marked the USMNT’s fastest strike at Estadio Azteca, beating Charlie Davies’ ninth minute effort in a 2-1 loss on Aug. 12, 2009.
Carlos Vela tied it for the hosts in the 23rd minute. Bobby Wood almost made it 2-0 for the U.S. by taking a shot in the box that Ochoa saved following a deflection. After this, the Real Sociedad forward took a pass from Hernandez on the right sideline after Ochoa fed Hernandez in midfield. Vela cut forward and fired a shot from just outside the box directly in front of the goal that beat goalie Brad Guzan by squeezing in just inside the right post.
The U.S. is now tied with Puerto Rico for second place in the CONCACAF hexagonal with eight points. Mexico, led by Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio, leads the six-nation qualifying group for the Russia 2018 World Cup with 14 points. Osorio is a former coach of MLS’s Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls.
Mexico defeated the USMNT 2-1 in Columbus Ohio last November, in the previous round of World Cup Qualifying, just three days after the U.S. election of President Donald Trump, who gained notoriety for his disparaging comments against Mexicans and his promise to build a wall along the border between the two countries. On Sunday, El Tri were without injured players Rafael Marquez, Miguel Layun and Andres Guardado, although Carlos Salcedo unexpectedly recovered from a leg injury. Marquez scored the game-winner for Mexico in the game against the U.S. last November.
Last Thursday, Mexico defeated Honduras — who are now fifth in the hexagonal with four points — 3-0, while the U.S. beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0.
Geoff Cameron, Bradley, DeAndre Yedlin and Christian Pulisic were the only four U.S. players to keep their places on Sunday; left defender Jorge Villafana was injured.
Cameron made a big defensive stop for the U.S. in the 75th minute. Vela slipped a pass to Hirving Lozano into the box on the right, where he raced to the end line before centering a feed that was cut out for a corner kick by Cameron at the near post.
Pulisic leads the CONCACAF with five assists during 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification and has compiled four goals and three assists in his last four international games.
DeAndre Yedlin (44th minute) and Paul Arriola (56th minute) received yellow cards.
Kellyn Acosta, Arriola and Tim Ream all earn their first caps against Mexico.
The U.S. Men are 18-34-14 all-time against Mexico and 6-17-6 vs. El Trí in World Cup Qualifying.
Arena’s squad next hosts Ghana in a friendly on July 1 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The USMNT then faces Panama twice: in a CONCACAF Gold Cup group-stage game on July 8 and then in the fifth round of World Cup Qualifiers on Oct. 6.
JACKSONVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 06: Michael Bradley #4 of the United States makes a pass during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago at EverBank Field on September 6, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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