Watch the highlights of goals and key plays as the USA edges Mexico in a friendly.
It took a while for the next chapter in the storied rivalry between the USA and Mexico to heat up, but it finally found its calling.
A Mexico red card in the 67th minute was followed minutes later by Tyler Adams' first international goal, which broke a scoreless deadlock and gave the USA a 1-0 win in a friendly between a pair of young sides in Nashville Tuesday night. The red card and goal followed a moment of heightism from Matt Miazga, the 6-4 U.S. center back who taunted Mexico's 5-6 dynamo Diego Lainez after bodying him up and earning a foul to inject life into a match that was going through the paces otherwise.
The longtime Concacaf foes both featured interim coaches and rosters littered with untested talent as they turn the page after the 2018 World Cup cycle. It was clearly a more successful cycle for one than the other, with Mexico reaching the round of 16 in Russia and the USA failing to qualify for the first time since 1986. But they have both picked up the pieces and are getting started on the long road to the 2022 winter World Cup in Qatar.
Both sides had key players depart after their friendly losses on Friday, too, with the U.S. losing the services of two starters from the 2-0 defeat to Brazil, John Brooks and Paul Arriola. Mexico was even more depleted after a 4-1 loss to Uruguay, with Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez, Guillermo Ochoa, Orbelin Pineda and Erick Gutierrez all departing either due to injury or their clubs' request.
The U.S. had the game's first chance in the fourth minute, when Weston McKennie surged forward and received a return pass before turning and firing a looping cross into the center of the box. Gyasi Zardes was able to get a head to it, but he put his chance well high of the mark and out for a goal kick.
Mexico tested goalkeeper Zack Steffen for the first time in the 16th minute. Off a corner kick, Edson Alvarez glanced a powerful header toward the crossbar, but the Columbus Crew backstop instinctively tipped it over and away from danger.
Steffen had an easier save to make in the 21st minute off a close-range header from Victor Guzman, whose work deeper in the Mexico midfield was the catalyst for El Tri's forays forward. He took it upon himself to make a run from his deep position, latching onto a pinpoint cross from Lainez and putting his chance on frame.
Mexico controlled much of the run of play, but Zardes won a free kick for the U.S. in the 28th minute, giving the Americans a chance. Kellyn Acosta stepped up to take the kick and blasted it into the wall. He got a chance off the rebound and powered through another shot, but it went well wide left of the post.
Lainez created another attacking spark for Mexico in the 37th minute. He totally undressed Wil Trapp to get to the endline before crossing for Roberto Alvarado, Mexico's other highly touted prospect. Alvarado tried to slide home a first-time finish, but Steffen recovered to get back into position and make a diving stop to keep it 0-0.
Things got worse for the U.S. in the 40th minute, when McKennie was forced out with what U.S. Soccer called a left knee sprain. Julian Green came on in his place.
Even with Mexico having the momentum, the U.S. nearly broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute, with Green's impact on the formation sparking more in the attack. Zardes laid it off for Weah centrally, and the PSG forward put a dangerous long-range chance on target, with Hugo Gonzalez called into action to make the save.
The second half unfolded without much action, but the bad blood started to flow after the 66th minute. First, Miazga taunted Lainez over his height to inject some lift into the match.
On the ensuing sequence, Angel Zaldivar took out trap with a crunching tackle, earning a straight red card and sending Mexico down to 10 men.
The U.S. didn't take long to take advantage. Antonee Robinson, who struggled mightily at left back vs. Brazil, came on as a substitute for Eric Lichaj and delivered a pinpoint cross to the center of the box. Adams, making a lengthy run down the center of the field, was there to meet it, scoring with a precise finish and giving the U.S. the 1-0 lead in the 71st minute and the eventual win.
The win was the USA's first over Mexico since April, 2015, snapping an 0-2-1 stretch that included a loss in the Concacaf Cup playoff that sent Mexico to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and a first World Cup qualifying loss in Columbus.
Here were the lineups for the match:
Here were the rosters for both sides:
GOALKEEPERS: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
DEFENDERS: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Shaq Moore (Reus Deportiu), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado Rapids), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Greuther Fürth), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain)
FORWARDS: Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)
GOALKEEPERS: Hugo González (Necaxa), Gibrán Lajud (Tijuana)
DEFENDERS: José Abella (Santos Laguna), Oswaldo Alanís (Real Oviedo), Edson Álvarez (Club América), Jesús Angulo (Tijuana), Gerardo Arteaga (Santos Laguna), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Luis Rodríguez (Tigres UANL)
MIDFIELDERS: Erick Aguirre (Pachuca), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Jonathan González (Monterrey), Víctor Guzmán (Pachuca), Elías Hernández (Cruz Azul), Diego Lainez (Club América)
FORWARDS: Alan Pulido (Guadalajara), Ángel Zaldívar (Guadalajara)