MEXICO CITY – In the previous nine games between the United States and Mexico at the Estadio Azteca, the US had managed just one draw, scored only four goals and conceded 22. In the 24 played there all-time, the US had come away with just one point.
It was one of the longest, most dominant streaks in all of sports. And no Mexican wanted to be part of the team that suffered its first lost against its most bitter rival on home soil.
But you can't always get what you want, even if you're part of the "Golden Generation" of Mexican talent. They found that out on Wednesday in the US' shocking 1-0 win.
“We try not to think about the fact that the run of not losing to the United States has ended,” Javier “Chicharito” Hernández told the press after the game.
Tigres winger Elias Hernández had time to think about what the defeat means and wasn’t at all comfortable with it.
“Every defeat hurts," he said, "but losing to Mexico’s so-called 'most-hated rivals,' the United States, does hurt and more so in the Azteca."
Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa had a relatively quiet evening for El Tri and, despite the defeat, was happy with how Mexico performed on the night. It's a sentiment that may not be shared by his countrymen.
“It’s difficult because it’s the United States, but fortunately it is a friendly and the team played very well, with a lot of possession,” he said.
Former West Ham United winger Pablo Barrera was pulled off at halftime after disappointing on the right flank against US left back Edgar Castillo. He agreed with Ochoa.
“That’s soccer, they have one break and score,” said Barrera, adding: “There’s not much to adjust, the team looked good going forward. In the second half, the United States weren’t attempting anything, they weren’t looking to play.”
Those complaints echo the excuses of previous generations of Mexican players, particularly after the still-painful 2-0 loss to the US in the 2002 World Cup.
Coach José Manuel de la Torre also highlighted positives in the game from a Mexican point of view. But there were no excuses from him – just the admission that the United States won the game fair and square.
“Every result is just because it reflects what happened in the game,” said “Chepo” in his postgame press conference. “This isn’t about deserving [the win], it’s about getting it. They finished and we didn’t.”