Mexico scored once in the first half and twice in the second half to crush the United States men’s national team 3-0 on Friday night in an international friendly in New Jersey. It was a Gold Cup final rematch from July, where the U.S. lost 1-0, but this display was much worse for the Americans. Gregg Berhalter’s team failed to do much of anything in attack and never really got going, getting overpowered by a Mexico national team that started with its best player, Hirving Lozano, on the bench. Despite the U.S. starting off the match well, Mexico’s winning goal almost felt like a knockout punch. Christian Pulisic didn’t have a lot of space to work with, Tyler Boyd was quiet and Gyasi Zardes was hardly noticeable in a night to forget for USMNT fans. Josh Sargent also missed a late penalty kick. Here are three takeaways from the game.
Mexico grabs another golazo against USA’s poor defense
After Jonathan Dos Santos’ golazo in the Gold Cup final, Mexico got another fine winner here. Tecatito Corona nutmegged Sergino Dest on the right and lofted a brilliant ball to Javier Hernandez in the box for the winning goal just 21 minutes in. Take a look:
Now, Chicharito was wide open. Wil Trapp failed to track him and it was as easy as can be. Look at the positioning of the U.S. defenders on the goal.
Lots to work on there. Not good.
Dest was pretty sharp overall and one of a few bright spots
Dest is an interesting story. He was born in the Netherlands and plays for Ajax, but he has an American parent and has been with the U.S. at the U-17 and U-20 level. He just played the U-20 World Cup earlier this year under Tab Ramos. This kid has massive potential, and you can expect the Dutch federation to push hard to get him at some point soon. But he was a bright spot aside from getting nutmegged on the goal. His touch was good, you can see his understanding of the game and he could be a great piece for this team down the road … if they can hold on to him. He would be tied to the U.S. once he appears in an official competition. It’s true that he looked a bit shaky as well, but we have to remember that he is just 18 years old and is bursting with potential. He is speedy, disciplined and knows how to play this game at a high level.
Look, I get Berhalter is fond of Zardes. He had him in Columbus and has been a big contributor for him for sure, but at what point do we look at him as nothing more than a role player for this team? Be it Jozy Altidore or Sargent, it just feels like both are much better options than Zardes. He’ll work his tail off, and he has talent, but he is far from the No. 9 this team needs to threaten in actual competitions. It’s going to be interesting to see how Berhalter fields his team when it comes to serious, legit competition. But he’s got to figure out something. In the USA’s last five games, they’ve failed to score in two and have only scored multiple goals once. Zardes made no positive impact in this game.