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World Cup Qualifier: Mexico hold USA to a 1-1 draw

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Mexico drew 1-1 with the United States in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday evening, inching closer to securing qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The draw means Mexico maintain their six-point lead at the top of the qualifying group ahead of second-placed US and Costa Rica, who are both on eight points, although the latter have a game in hand and a superior goal difference.

Three teams from the CONCACAF region will qualify for next year's World Cup, while the team in the fourth place will play-off against Asia's fifth-placed nation. For the US, the result means they maintained their seven-game unbeaten record, while Mexico also extended their undefeated run to six qualifiers.

Heavily pressing Mexico in midfield, the U.S. got out to the best possible start when Michael Bradley cut out a back pass at midfield from Javier Hernandez and quickly drove towards goal. Looking up to find Guillermo Ochoa well off his line, the MNT captain alertly chipped the Mexico goalkeeper from 40 yards, stunning the boisterous crowd into silence as he celebrated in front of the USA's traveling supporters.

Not content to sit back, the U.S. came close again in the 23rd minute when Bobby Wood's shot at the six-yard box was partially deflected. Immediately thereafter, Ochoa hurriedly distributed out to Hernandez at midfield before he fed Carlos Vela on the right. The Mexico forward cut inside and hit a blistering low effort from outside the area that caught Brad Guzan leaning the wrong way before it snuck inside the right post.

While the U.S. continued to pick its moments to go forward in the second half, Mexico kept the visitors honest when Hector Herrera rocketed his free kick from 30 yards off the underside of the crossbar in the 71st minute.

Just moments later, Bradley received a bouncing pass from Kellyn Acosta and hit a half volley from 30 yards that beat Ochoa, but rang off the outside of the right post in the 74th minute.

Relying heavily on an assured performance from the back line in midfield, the U.S. continued to pick out passes and frustrate the home side in the dying moments before center referee Joel Aguilar Chicas blew the final whistle on the well-contested match.Mexico travel to Russia to appear as the representatives of the CONCACAF region in the FIFA Confederations Cup, that starts on Saturday.

Lineups:

USA: 12-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 20-Geoff Cameron, 14-Tim Ream, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 11-Paul Arriola (15-Darlington Nagbe, 63), 16-Kellyn Acosta, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 10-Christian Pulisic (19-Graham Zusi, 90+2); 9-BobbyWood (17-Jozy Altidore, 79)

Subs not used: 1-Tim Howard, 22-Nick Rimando, 5-Matt Besler, 6-John Brooks, 8-Clint Dempsey, 13-Dax McCarty, 18-Jordan Morris, 21-Matt Hedges, 23-Fabian Johnson

Head coach: Bruce Arena

MEX : 13-Guillermo Ochoa; 3-Carlos Salcedo, 5-Diego Reyes, 15-Héctor Moreno (capt.), 4-Oswaldo Alanís (23-Jesùs Gallardo, 31); 6-Jonathan Dos Santos (18-Orbelín Pineda, 77), 16-Héctor Herrera, 8-Marco Fabián (7-Javier Aquino, 53); 11-Carlos Vela, 14-Javier Hernández, 22-Hirving Lozano

Subs not used: 1-Rodolfo Cota, 12-Alfredo Talavera, 2-Luis Reyes, 9-Raúl Jiménez, 10-Giovani dos Santos, 17-J ü rgen Damm, 19-Oribe Peralta, 20-Jesús Dueñas, 21-Jesús Molina,

Head coach: Juan Carlos Osorio

Scoring Summary: Mexico 1-1 USA

USA - Michael Bradley                                6th minute

MEX - Carlos Vela (Javier Hernandez)            23