Mexico v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier

More than a scoreline, “Dos a Cero” signifies U.S. dominance over Mexico


When Clint Dempsey stepped up to take his 93rd minute penalty kick, I bet almost half of the packed crowd at Columbus Crew Stadium hoped he would miss.

Deuce duly obliged.

That may seem silly, U.S. fans wishing their own player to miss a penalty and yeah, a good chunk would have liked to have seen Dempsey hammer home the spot kick with the last kick of the game.

But at that point, it really didn’t matter. The USA’s recent dominance over Mexico continued and Jurgen Klinsmann’s men piled on more misery to manager-less Mexico.

(MORE: Dos a Cero again! … United States qualifies for World Cup after 2-0 win over Mexico)

As the Columbus crowd chanted “Dos a Cero” in rhythmic unison to taunt the Mexican players and coaching staff, it just made sense that the U.S. were going to win 2-0. It just had to be like this in Columbus.

The last four times the U.S. have played Mexico in Columbus they’ve won 2-0. The same scoreline prevailed in 2001, 2005, 2009 and now 2013. (And let’s not forget about the USA’s World Cup victory in 2002 by the scoreline of… you guessed it, 2-0) Mexico’s players must look to Columbus as an indomitable fortress that they will never conquer, no matter how hard they try. But let’s not kid ourselves, for the opening stages El Tri looked composed and forced Tim Howard into a few good saves.

Yet the “Dos a Cero” chant continued and got louder as the game wore on and then Eddie Johnson rose highest from a second half corner to head home. And when Landon Donovan tapped in late on, the 20,000 plus national team supporters in Columbus got their wish.

“Dos a Cero. Dos a Cero.”

The scoreline was a predictable one and now that the dust has settled on a night where the U.S. sealed World Cup qualification for the seventh-straight time, some intriguing stats back up their recent success against Mexico, not only in Columbus.

source: Getty Images
Tim Howard admitted he wanted it to be “Dos a Cero” once again.

Since 2000, the USA has won 12 times against Mexico, losing just five times and drawing  four. The United States have never lost at Columbus Crew Stadium and have won five and tied two of the seven home WC qualifiers against El Tri since 1972.

(MORE: Even U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard wanted it to be 2-0)

Those stats spell out what many Mexican fans have been fearing for quite some time: the U.S. are in the ascendancy over their fierce rivals from the South. For many years Mexico had the upper hand on their Northern neighbors but now the pendulum has swung back and forth — following 2011 Gold Cup success for Mexico and U.S. success in World Cup qualifying — and finally settled in the USA.

With a huge rebuilding process on the way for El Tri following the firing of manger Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre last week, dominating Mexico could be something U.S. fans can look forward to for many years to come.

For many years the U.S. just couldn’t get a grip on Mexico, in Mexico. Boasting a 0-13-2 in World Cup Qualifying matches in Mexico and 1-23-2 all-time internationally, Klinsmann’s men are gradually turning the tide on their bitter CONCACAF rivals. Yet even the intimidating confides of the Azteca have been breached on the last two visits from the U.S. national team following their 1-0 friendly win in August 2012 and the 0-0 WC qualifying draw in March 2013.

After Tuesday’s damaging defeat Mexico are struggling with Honduras, Panama and Jamaica for the final automatic WC spot and they aren’t the favorites to grab it. The U.S. can put their feet up and relax in their final two qualifiers.

The USA’s dominance over Mexico has never been as clear as it is right now.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Seattle Sounders 1-0 Sporting KC (video)

Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres, right, exchanges words with Sporting Kansas City's Kevin Ellis, left, and Soni Mustivar, center, after Sounders' midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (not shown) was given a yellow card for a foul against midfielder Roger Espinoza in the first half of an MLS soccer playoff match, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There’s a ton to unpack here, so we’ll dive right in. The Seattle Sounders topped Sporting Kansas City in the final knockout-round game of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs. Nelson Valdez scored the game’s only goal, an 88th-minute header, but not without supreme controversy. For starters, Valdez was offside as Joevin Jones played the ball into the box, just as Matt Besler was on a free kick for Sporting earlier in the second half. Besler’s goal was ruled out for offside, Valdez’s was allowed to stand. Benny Feilhaber, perhaps in his final game for Sporting, played like a man possessed and so nearly singlehandedly won the game for Sporting at multiple points on the night. Stefan Frei stood on his head and refused to allow such an occurrence. Osvaldo Alonso could have been sent off twice on the night — once on a straight red; once on a second yellow — but finished the game with just a single caution. Up next, the Sounders will take on Supporters’ Shield-winning FC Dallas in the Western Conference semifinals.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

10′ — Zusi hits the post with a strike through traffic — Benny Feilhaber’s through ball to set up this double-chance for Sporting in sumptuous, and fully deserving of a proper finish.

53′ — Besler heads home, but he’s offside — This is about as close an onside/offside decisions get.

79′ — Frei denies Feilhaber after a spectacular run — Feilhaber’s run was mesmerizing, but Stefan Frei’s save was the tiniest bit better.

88′ — Valdez heads home the late winner — If Besler was offside, Valdez was offside. An unfitting end to a thrilling game.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Benny Feilhaber

Goalscorers: Valdez (88′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: D.C. United 2-4 Montreal Impact (video)

CORRECTS DATE - Montreal Impact forward Matteo Mancosu, back, celebrates his goal with Ignacio Piatti (10) during the first half of an MLS playoff soccer match against D.C. United, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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The game in 100 words (or less): There are epic playoff collapses, and there is the MLS Cup Playoffs abomination put forth by D.C. United on Thursday. Playing host to a Montreal Impact side that won just two of its last eight regular-season games and crawled over the finish line, United — winners of four of their last five and one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch — no-showed Thursday’s knockout-round tie, and their season is deservingly finished. Laurent Ciman put the Impact ahead inside the first five minutes, and United never recovered or seemed the least bit urgent with their season on the line. Matteo Mancosu bagged a brace either side of halftime to make it 3-0, and Ignacio Piatti, who was his usual brilliant self — so good, in fact, he made you forget Didier Drogba was unavailable due to injury/dispute over his role as a substitute — added a fourth not long before full-time. Lamar Neagle grabbed a late consolation goal for United, bringing them back to 4-1 before Taylor Kemp fired a laser past Evan Bush for 4-2 late in stoppage time, but that’s as close as they’d get. Up next for the Impact, it’s the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three moments that mattered

4′ — Ciman slots home from a corner for 1-0 — An absolute dream start for Montreal, as Ciman gets front side of his marker and benefits from a fortunate bounce after he scuffs the shot.

43′ — Mancosu slams home Piatti’s cross for 2-0 — Someone tell DCU that the knockout round is most definitely win-or-go-home. Horrific defending. Ball-watching all over the place. This is not the same team that won four of their last five in order to host this game.

58′ — Mancosu heads home at the near post for 3-0 — Steve Birnbaum has not had the greatest end to the 2016 season. Stay healthy, John Brooks and Geoff Cameron.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Matteo Mancosu

Goalscorers: Ciman (4′), Mancosu (43′, 58′), Piatti (83′), Neagle (90′), Kemp (90+4′)

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.