At this moment in time, Mexico is somewhat better than the U.S. It has silkier, more gifted players, moves the ball rapidly and has molded itself into an organized, efficient and risky unit. The final game came, played in the beehive that is Estadio Azteca, came after just two days of rest. "You always know in this stadium if you can catch a ball clean, the thin air is really going to take it". That goal the USA captain explained, came in part as a result of some quality video analysis in the lead up to the match.
Bradley hit the post on another long shot and Christian Pulisic muffed a chance near the goal, but for the most part, the United States never did much near the net after the score was equalized. "To get four points out of these two games, it puts us back where we want to be".
The draw means Mexico maintains its six-point lead at the top of the qualifying group ahead of second-placed United States and Costa Rica, which are both on 8 points, although the latter has a game in hand and a superior goal difference. After this, the victory over Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago followed, and in this interval there was a draw with Panama.
Three teams from the Concacaf region will qualify for next year's World Cup, while the team in the fourth place will play-off against Asia's fifth-placed nation.
While he employed a standard 4-4-2 formation in the 2-0 home win over Trinidad, Arena decided as far back as January to start five defenders at Mexico. "I'm ashamed that there's perhaps some discord on the political side", Arena said. "I felt like I was able to read what he wanted to do and step in and it led to a good goal for us". You could make the case that a Klinsmann-led team could have gotten that home win against Trinidad and Tobago, but it was the Mexico game where the Arena difference was felt, and Sunday's point could be worth its weight in gold by the time the Hexagonal concludes.
Immediately following the draw with the United States, Mexico boarded a plane to Amsterdam which will then take them to Kazan, Russia.
With the United States pressing high up the field, Bradley pounced on a loose pass near halfway. "It's great to see that Bruce can rely on other guys to come into the team and be a part of it and get the results that we need".
Fans booed and whistled "The Star-Spangled Banner", as usual when the Americans play in Mexico, and there was an occasional T-shirt disparaging U.S. President Donald Trump.
Mexico was trying to sweep the Americans in a qualifying cycle for the first time 1972. If his shot from distance in the second half had gone in instead of hitting the post, we'd be talking about a once-in-a-lifetime performance from the USA captain.
"Chanting "puto" does not make you more Mexican", the statement read.
Looking ahead to the Confederations Cup, there seems to be no consensus on not only who his best options are, but also whether he will favor a three or four-man backline. Plus, Arena said, Howard's groin surgery last fall has impacted his kicking ability.
"I tossed it around in our office with the [assistant] coaches", Arena said. "I was pretty confident we could implement it". "It's good to know that we have", he said. He had not started for the USA since the October 2015 loss to Mexico in a playoff for a Confederations Cup berth.
"Mexico does an unbeliavable job in their spacing", Arena said. "They play players on both touchlines, so they open you up". He said after the match that he "told the team on day one of this camp that we would play that way in this game".