MEXICO CITY — While many US national team fans may be content with the final result of Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier in the Estadio Azteca, the manner in which it came about may not necessarily sit well with some.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side was outshot 19-1 and out-possessed 60-40 without a single shot on goal. The US struggled mightily to hold possession and their frontrunners often coughed up the ball moments after winning it.
"We've got to do something with that possession," said US captain Clint Dempsey. "We've got to create chances and create better chances and getting shots on goal. Tonight we didn't test the 'keeper enough. But sometimes it's not pretty, but you get a point."
HIGHLIGHTS: Mexico vs. USA
The USA had an early wayward shot from left back DaMarcus Beasley, a Geoff Cameron header on a corner kick that was called back for a foul and a Dempsey dribbler that didn't trouble Mexico netminder Guillermo Ochoa.
"We couldn't play a high-pressure game. We had to sit back at times," said Dempsey who admitted tiring toward the end of the match as the USA chased on defense. "I thought first half we did a better job at keeping possession. In the second half, any time we'd lose the ball, we'd go for long periods without having it. So it kind of wore on us not keeping possession as good in the second half. But we grinded out a result."
Tired legs, moreso even than the altitude at Azteca, looked to play a major role in the USA's inability to generate any meaningful offense. in fact, Klinsmann revealed that Jozy Altidore needed to be replaced shortly after the halftime break because "he ran out of gas."
Houston Dynamo veteran Brad Davis, who came on as a sub in the second half, also made it clear that Friday's grueling SnowClasico match took a toll, as did the quality of El Tri.
"You have to give Mexico credit, they move the ball and they move off the ball very well," Davis said. "They're a very good team, we're playing on the road and we had a game on Friday. Sometimes you just have to grind it out. It's not always going to be pretty."