A testy exchange between U.S. defender Matt Miazga and Mexico’s Diego Lainez in the 65th minute keyed a change in attitude for both sides that led to a 1-0 win for the United States before 40,194 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday evening.
The first half was a lackluster showing from the U.S., with Mexico creating most of the interest and the chances, but the game remained scoreless.
The second half started better from the U.S., but after defending against the much shorter Lainez on a ball near the box, Miazga turned to face him and at 6-4, put his arm out horizontally to toy with Lainez about his height. That lit a spark.
Both sides races toward the two players, who were separated and play resumed without a brawl. But the intensity rocketed up and two minutes later, U.S. midfielder Wil Trapp was tackled roughly by striker Angel Zaldiva, who earned a red card and left El Tri with 10 men on the field.
The U.S. moved to the offensive right away and a sensational cross from the left sideline by Antonee Robinson was perfectly positioned for midfielder Tyler Adams’s late run and he blasted the ball into the Mexican net for the 1-0 lead. It was Adams’s first goal for the U.S.
Mexico was hampered the remainder of the game thanks to being a man down and the U.S. was able to control the remainder of the game and scored its first victory over Mexico since April 2015, ending a three-game winless streak (0-2-1). The U.S. out-shot Mexico, 13-10. The U.S. is now 19-34-15 all-time against Mexico, but has a 14-7-6 in this century.
Interim U.S. coach Dave Sarachan played a very young team once again, but the level of competition will not decrease as the American squad will next face Colombia on 11 October in Tampa, Florida, and Peru on 16 October in East Hartford, Connecticut.