The United States men’s national team started the Hex with a 2-1 against Mexico on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.
It was a tale of two halves as the U.S. looked out of sorts in a 5-3-2 (or 3-2-2-1-2) formation as Mexico dominated play. Once the U.S. went down a goal it switched to a more familiar 4-4-2 and looked far more comfortable in the second half. However, Rafa Marquez scored late on against the run of play to steal the three points for El Tri.
Here’s how the players fared in this hotly-contested matchup.
USMNT Starting XI
Tim Howard (Off 40′) — 6 — Made a fantastic save on Corona’s shot in the first half, tipping it off the post. Layun’s goal came off a deflection that directed the ball away from Howard. Suffered an injury off a goal kick.
Matt Besler (Off 81′) — 5 — Had a tough task being forced to play out of position and committed a number of fouls.
Omar Gonzalez — 5 — Not great distribution out of the back and missed a wide open header off a corner kick in the second half.
John Brooks — 5 — Had a few testy moments in the first half, including a silly yellow card within the first 15 minutes. Was badly beat on a run by Lozano in the second half.
Timmy Chandler (Off 74′) — 5 — Mexico successfully attacked down his right side throughout the first half, but he had some good attacking moments in the second half.
Fabian Johnson–6 — Looked more comfortable (like most others) when the U.S. switched formations. Had a goal-saving tackle on Chicharito in the second half.
Jermaine Jones — 5 — Had a few nice moments, but looked off the pace at times. That’s to be expected in his first start since the July 4.
Michael Bradley — 4 — An uncharacteristically poor performance from the captain. He wasn’t strong enough on a challenge that led to Mexico’s first goal and struggled throughout to put his influence on the game.
Christian Pulisic — 6 — Played through the middle early on and was his usual self once the team switched formations.
Jozy Altidore — 7 — Great run to set up Wood’s goal. Linked up well with Wood in the second half, winning seemingly every aerial ball he went for.
Bobby Wood — 8 — Didn’t do much in the first half, but came back strong in the second half scoring early on. Continued to wreak havoc on Mexico’s defense along with Altidore.
Brad Guzan (On 40′) — N/A — Could do nothing on Mexico’s second goal and faced little action besides that.
DeAndre Yedlin (On 74′) — N/A
Michael Orozco (On 81′) — N/A
Mexico Starting XI
Alfredo Talavera — 6 — Didn’t face many shots in the first half. Got a hand on Wood’s goal, but could not stop the shot.
Miguel Layun — 8 — Had multiple positive moments in attack, including scoring Mexico’s goal in the first half.
Diego Reyes (Off HT) — 6 — A short shift for Reyes. Picked up an early yellow card for taking down Altidore, but didn’t make any costly mistakes.
Hector Moreno — 6 — Missed a challenge on Wood’s goal.
Rafa Marquez — 7 — It was a quiet night for Mexico’s captain until the 88th minute as his flicked header proved to be the winner.
Hector Herrera — 5 — Not much from Herrera on the night. Tried to draw a foul on Gonzalez in the box, but got a card for simulation.
Andres Guardado (Off 28′) — N/A — Subbed off with an injury in the first half. Didn’t get much opportunity on the ball.
Gio dos Santos — 5 — Directed the attack for Mexico, but didn’t create any dangerous chances.
Jesus Corona — 7 — Nearly scored in the first half, but Howard tipped his shot onto the post.
Carlos Vela (Off 73′) — 6 — Almost doubled Mexico’s lead in the first half with a header off the crossbar.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez — 5 — Made decisive runs to cause trouble for the U.S. defense, but could not find the final touch.
Carlos Salcedo (On 28′) — 5 — Strong tackle on Altidore late in the first half off a cross, but earned a yellow card for a foul on Pulisic and received a second yellow card for time wasting in stoppage time.
Hugo Ayala (On HT) — 4 — Got turned easily by Altidore, which led to Wood’s goal.
Hirving Lozano (On 73′) — 7 — Was lively on the wings and nearly created a goal for Chicharito late in the second half.