MEXICO CITY – One goal conceded in three games against your archrivals. That’s a statistic that Jurgen Klinsmann can be proud of as coach of the United States in games against Mexico.
And while his opposite number – El Tri coach José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre (above) – may not take to the USMNT’s defensive ways, he respects that they are a difficult team to break down.
“They didn’t have a chance throughout the whole game, but they played very solidly defensively and complicated the game for us,” de la Torre said in the postgame press conference. “It’s not easy to make space with the physical presence [of the US side]. And they have good players.”
Mexico had a total of 15 corners against the US and 19 attempts at goal, but stern resistance from the American defense left El Tri goalless for the second consecutive match against their northern rivals.
“We lacked the finishing touch,” de la Torre said. “We had opportunities and lots of them. Finishing is the different between whether you defeat a rival or not.”
And while Klinsmann has been criticized over whether he and assistant Martin Vasquez have the tactical nous to succeed at international level, de la Torre was forced to admit that the plan to force Mexico into playing longer balls that center backs Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler could lap up did complicate things for his team.
The last goal Mexico scored against the United States was back in Klinsmann’s first match in charge during a friendly in August 2011. Tuesday's result leaves Mexico lagging in fifth place in the Hexagonal group, with the US one point ahead in third.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.