It took 70 minutes for the fire to show up in the latest edition of the "CONCACAF Clasico," but when it did, it sparked an American goal and an eventual 1-0 win for Dave Sarachan and his young squad.
After more than an hour of limited attacking success, the U.S. took control of the game after Angel Zaldivar's red card. With no reason not to push their advantage, the Americans used the width provided by left-back Antonee Robinson and a late-arriving midfield run from Tyler Adams to make it count. The U.S. was generally solid defensively, with Mexico limited to 10 shots over 90 minutes.
The American attack was rudderless until Mexico's red card opened up space. When the U.S. was able to get on the ball -- and it was not nearly enough -- the plan seemed to be to knock it around the back before playing a low-percentage long ball to Gyasi Zardes. The lack of creativity allowed Mexico to dictate terms and exploit gaps in the American defense.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Sarachan's lineup included a known-quantity veteran in Eric Lichaj playing out of position on the left, a choice that allowed Mexico to dominate in that area of the field. The interim head coach's decided lack of fire at halftime -- after 45 minutes of little to no threat from the attack -- was disappointing. The first substitution was forced on him, but Sarachan does get some credit for introducing Robinson and changing the Americans' fortunes. The choice to insert Julian Green centrally and leave Kellyn Acosta wide was a head-scratcher.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Zack Steffen, 6 -- Made a solid save off a header in the first half. Lucky to avoid a card -- possibly red -- when he appeared to handle the ball outside of the box.
DF Shaquell Moore, 5 -- Played a passable game on both sides of the ball. Did well in a couple of one-on-one defensive situations.
DF Cameron Carter-Vickers, 6 -- Did not stand out, which is a good thing for a center-back.
DF Matt Miazga, 6 -- Brought energy and fight to the game, with his confrontation with Diego Lainez helping turn the game in the USMNT's favor. Beaten occasionally but responded well.
DF Eric Lichaj, 3 -- Miscast as a left-back behind Timothy Weah, which allowed Mexico plenty of space to attack up the USMNT flank. Committed numerous silly errors with distribution, leading to turnovers.
MF Wil Trapp, 4 -- Rarely influenced the game from his deep position, with passes that failed to stress Mexico's midfield. Struggled with defensive moments, especially when isolated.
MF Kellyn Acosta, 5 -- Committed several turnovers with loose passes when miscast on the right side. Struggled to provide width. Sprung Robinson for the cross that led to the U.S. goal.
MF Tyler Adams, 6 -- Excellent run from deep resulted in the lone goal of the game. Looked most influential and involved once U.S. went up a man.
MF Weston McKennie, 4 -- Came off five minutes before halftime with an injury. Never found the game on either side of the ball. Missed several chances to set up the U.S. break with loose passes.
MF Timothy Weah, 5 -- Mishit several crosses, but seemed to be the only American looking to shoot. Had no connection with Lichaj behind and disappeared for large stretches.
FW Gyasi Zardes, 5 -- Set on an island for an hour and forced to battle with defenders for 50/50 balls in the air. Won a foul in a dangerous area with a smart dummy but was limited in influence otherwise.
MF Julian Green, 5 -- Entered for McKennie in the first half and played in a central position. Added an edge to the U.S. attack but was often too slow with the ball.
DF Antonee Robinson, 6 -- Changed the game when introduced for Lichaj in the 56th minute. Provided an excellent cross on the ground to set up Adams' goal.
FW Bobby Wood, NR -- Managed a few touches in a cameo, was unable to turn on the ball when set up with a chance in the 81st minute.
MF Christian Roldan, NR -- Two touches for the midfielder in a few minutes.
DF DeAndre Yedlin, NR -- Contributed two defensive interventions in limited time.