PASADENA, Calif. –Sometimes, it takes an absolute golazo to separate two good teams.
That was the feeling for the United States national team coming out of their 3-2 loss to Mexico on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Paul Aguilar's screaming volley in the 118th minute won it for El Tri and left the US players disappointed at the result. Yet several players couldn’t help but marvel at what they considered a one-of-a-kind tally.
Defender Geoff Cameron called Aguilar’s strike a “worldie of a goal.”
“They had the luck of the bounce, you can say, tonight, because you clear the ball and then all of the sudden the ball kind of goes over and the guy just smashes it,” Cameron explained. “It’s a great goal for him and a great goal for Mexico, but it’s one of those things it’s tough to swallow.”
Midfielder Jermaine Jones agreed: “The third goal, you make maybe one in your life like he did it today. It’s bad, and we’re not happy but we have to put our hands up and keep going.”
Fluke goal or not, the U.S. time and again expressed their disappointment at the turn of events, in a game that appeared to be one they could win, in either extra time or penalties.
“Right now there’s not a lot I can take,” said US sub DeAndre Yedlin. ”We lost, and it was a big game. Obviously, when we sit and watch video from it, there will be some positives we can take, but right now all we’re feeling is the loss.”
Cameron was reflective after losing both the game and a ticket to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.
“It’s character-building," he said. "You’ve got to look in the mirror and say ‘Can we do more? Can we do better? Can we be better? Can we dictate the pace of the game? Can we get on the ball and keep possession and make Mexico sit back and defend us?’ That’s something we’re working on.”
And striker Chris Wondolowski, who ultimately didn't enter the match, didn’t mince words. But – typical of a striker – he was ready to move beyond it.
“It’s a bad day for US Soccer anytime you lose, especially in a cup," Wondolowski said. "It’s never a good thing. It’s very frustrating, but I think it’s something we need to regroup from.”
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