Apparently the 25th time is the charm for the United States. After going winless in their first 24 matches against Mexico on Mexican soil, the Americans finally broke through against their southern neighbors on Wednesday night, beating El Tri 1-0 at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in an international friendly.
An 80th minute goal by the much-maligned Michael Orozco Fiscal proved to be the difference as he finished off a play started by Brek Shea and helped along by Terrence Boyd to give the U.S. the lead. Then, the Americans leaned upon Tim Howard to protect their lead. The U.S. goalkeeper made two tremendous saves in the 10 minutes to keep the Americans in front and ensured that the Yanks would get their historic victory.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann picked two Sporting Kansas City players for the team that went to Mexico City, central defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi. Besler didn't make it off of the bench in the match with Klinsmann opting to stick with Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu in central defense as they worked on keeping a cleansheet. But Zusi did get a look, coming on at the hour mark and he put in a solid 30 minutes.
After an hour of watching the U.S. midfield give the ball away left and right, Klinsmann inserted Zusi with the hope that he could help keep the ball and that is exactly what he did. He didn't do anything flashy, but he was sound and will certainly be in consideration for another call up to the national team soon. That he was on the field for the historic win won't hurt his chances either.
As good of a win as the U.S. picked up on Wednesday, it was still just a friendly. Now they will turn their attention to World Cup qualifying, where the matches really matter. They have two qualifiers in September and two more in October to close out the third round of qualifying and assuming they advance, which is likely, they will begin the final round of qualifying in February of 2013.