For this "friendly," Mexico recalled most of its players from overseas and had a very experienced squad on the pitch, while the U.S. recalled four from across the pond and mixed many fresh faces. The match started off slowly with neither team able to maintain much possession and no real opportunities. Not until late in the half did the Americans find their rhythm in the game.
The play opened up in the second half with both sides stringing together passes and creating some chances. In the 63rd minute the U.S. won a corner and Landon Donovan served a great ball that managed to reach Jimmy Conrad and he buried the ball in the left corner with a strong header beating the outstretched arms of Mexican keeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
After the goal, Mexico started push forward heavily and had a number of opportunities. U.S. keeper Tim Howard, recalled from his duties for Everton in the EPL, made several quality saves as Mexico devoured the outside defenders repeatedly. Howard made a good case to be the U.S. keeper of the present taking everything Mexico kicked at him. Although, the situation may have been worse had Mexico managed to put a quality touch on any number of balls (that didn't sound good, how about opportunities) that were right in front of the goal.
In the 90th minute, a bit of good fortune struck for the Americans when a Mexico back pass deflected off the referee. Ricardo Clark calmly collected the ricochet and fed it to Donovan who raced from just inside of midfield past a grasping defender and then juked the keeper for an easy tally.
At the end of the match, Mexico walked off without the customary handshakes and jersey exchanges which was emblematic of the sportsmanship of the Mexican side during the match and in the past. Although, I will say that the Americans have been guilty of bad sportsmanship, too.
A quick rehash of the good and the bad of USMNT. Good: Tim Howard--stopped everything; Jimmy Conrad--great defense, good offense and the winning goal; Landon Donovan--finally looked like a playmaker again with a goal and an assist; 2nd half Josh Bornstein--showed speed and determination. Bad: Chris Albright--couldn't stop an 8-year-old in the game; Chris Rolfe--did nothing, created nothing. Everybody else: mediocre or not enough time to judge.
Some good quotes from the ESPN match report:
"The sportsmanship -- it would be nice if you guys [reporters] and the Mexican press talked about it, because it's really poor," Donovan said. "When we lose to
them there, we shake their hands and say, 'Good job.' There's none of that
reciprocally, and it's kind of disappointing."
- Landon Donovan
"They were a little opportunistic and stayed in their own end for the majority-Rafael Marquez, Mexico captain
of the match, but they did beat us," Marquez said. "Considering the tactics that
they utilized, I think that is the credit I would give them considering the fact
that on the field, they were not superior to us."
Update: I Dislike Your Favorite Team, one of my favorite sites I might mention, has a lovely round-up of this game.