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Mexico down USA 2-1 in World Cup Qualifier

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Despite a 49th minute strike from Bobby Wood and a spirited second half performance, the U.S. Men's National Team fell 2-1 to Mexico in front of a sold-out crowd of 24,650 at MAPFRE Stadium in the opening match of the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on Friday night.

Early pressure from Mexico saw the visitors break through first as Miguel Layun's shot received just enough of a deflection to sneak inside the lower left post in the 20th minute. After losing starting goalkeeper Tim Howard to a right groin strain in the 40th minute, the U.S. came out raring to go in the second half, putting Mexico on its heels with the help of Bobby Wood's strike early in the half to knot the game at 1-1.

John Brooks started the play, picking out a pass and quickly beginning the transition into attack with a lofted ball for Jozy Altidore. The veteran MNT forward held it up before turning towards goal, with his thundering run allowing space to slot Bobby Wood into the box. There, the Hamburg forward split the Mexico defense before hitting a low shot that Tallavera got a piece of but couldn't prevent from hitting the back of the net.

Energized by the goal, the U.S. set about looking for the go-ahead marker. Jermaine Jones, Omar Gonzalez, Jozy Altidore and Wood came close, but were turned away by goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera and the Mexico defense.

After heavy pressure from Bobby Wood forced a U.S. corner kick, Michael Bradley's take from the right found Omar Gonzalez whose headed effort at the near post was well held by Talavera.

In the 74th minute, a free kick from Bradley found Altidore at the top of the area where the MNT forward chested down for Wood. Looking for his second goal, Wood turned before blasting a heavy shot that Talavera didn't know much about, but was able to parry away.

Three minutes later Pulisic forced a turnover and was fouled just outside the area, setting up a free kick from the top of the penalty arc. On the ensuing take, Altidore hit a well-placed shot that saw Talavera forced to push over his cross bar.

Just as it looked like the teams would settle for a draw, Rafael Marquez's 89th minute header at the near post lifted Mexico to a 2-1 victory. A corner kick from Miguel Layun picked out Marquez at the near left post and his glancing header redirected across the face of goal past substitute goalkeeper Brad Guzan into the far right side netting.


USA: 1-Tim Howard (12-Brad Guzan, 40); 21-Timmy Chandler (2-DeAndre Yedlin 74), 3-Omar Gonzalez, 6-John Brooks, 5-Matt Besler (14-Michael Orozco, 81); 23-Fabian Johnson, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 13-Jermaine Jones; 10-Christian Pulisic, 17-Jozy Altidore, 7-Bobby Wood

Subs: 22-William Yarbrough, 8-Alan Gordon, 9-Aron Johannsson, 11-Alejandro Bedoya, 15-Steve Birnbaum, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 18-Julian Green, 19-Graham Zusi, 20-Lynden Gooch

Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

MEX: 12-Alfredo Talavera; 4-Rafael Márquez (capt.), 5-Diego Reyes (2-Hugo Ayala, 46), 7-Miguel Layún, 10-Giovani dos Santos, 11-Carlos Vela, 14-Javier Hernández, 15-Héctor Moreno, 16-Héctor Herrera, 17-Jesús Manuel Corona, 18-Andrés Guardado (3-Carlos Salcedo, 28)

Subs: 1-Jesús Corona, 13-Guillermo Ochoa, 20-Jesús Dueñas, 22-Orbelín Pineda, 8-Marco Fabián, 9-Raúl Jiménez, 19-Oribe Peralta, 6-Jonathan dos Santos, 23-Hirving Lozano, 21-Oswaldo Alanís

Head coach: Juan Carlos Osorio

Scoring Summary:

MEX - Miguel Layún                              20th minute

USA - Bobby Wood (Jozy Altidore)         49

MEX - Rafael Márquez (Miguel Layún)     89