Mexico is destitute following a third draw

Posted by Rafael Ramos Villagrana

MEXICO CITY -- To punch a ticket to the World Cup, there's a minimum to attain: 16 points. And so far, Mexico tallies 3 out of 9, which is to say, it lives under bankruptcy. It must win 58 percent of the remaining units, and must do so with 3 games as host and four away.

Zero-zero against the United States. A miserable start, lackadaisical in this final round of World Cup qualifying.

It was a match characterized by dominance but lacking depth. A suffocating, unquestionable dominance, yet without clarity, needing the intelligence of deliverance that would break the fasting of this Mexican National Team that has 180 scoreless minutes at home under its belt.

Zero-zero, it leaves Mexico in fifth place in CONCACAF's final hexagonal. It will bring up questions regarding the coach and will sound the alarm that signals it may be time to bring on some experienced players to placate a squad of youngsters.

The reality, after the 0-0 against the USA at the Azteca, is that Mexico is farther from the World Cup than in the troubled times under Enrique Meza and Sven Goran Eriksson.

Dominant

Mexico marvelled right from the start. The 104,000 in the stands were supportive, although they booed the US national anthem.

Mexico dominanted the ball and accepted the risks. It gift-wrapped the opponent, but was unable to tie the bow despite the one-sided possession and frequent recovery of the ball.

El Tri had numerous offensive forays but they were hardly lethal, wilting under the firm defense of Brad Guzan.

Under this ball control, Giovani dos Santos was surprisingly unable to connect with the roaming Chicharito Hernandez, who found freedom at times but never that magic ball. It never came.

USA counterattacked with Michael Bradley, because Gio wasn't there to disrupt and because Chicharito was not enlisted to recover.

Most relevant in the first half was a Bradley push on Chicharito --more drama from the foward-- who just by being in the box but without the ball spelled trouble for the US. The referee waved him off even after the side judge raised his flag.

USA was halfway through to getting the job done, 0-0.

Consistency

The good news at the start of the second half was that Mexico continued its rudimentary recovery and possession. The bad news was the inefficient finishing, while the US packed it in, reducing spaces.

The clock started to drain Mexico's comfort zone. Controlling the ball, dominating, attacking, having Gio and Aquino do their thing, meant that Mexico dominated the game but could not control the circumstances.

Desperation led to increased tension. At the 76th minute, Edu tackles Aquino in the box and the Mexican dramatizes his fall, in effect ruining what potentially could have been a penalty.

The final minutes were cooked in the US kitchen. The formidable visiting wall held, the defense reduced the spaces and when someone had to step up, Brad Guzan would become the hero.

Three points out of nine: it leaves El Tri destitute.

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