Arena boosts US, Mexico restored, Panama eye history — CONCACAF lessons

Since taking over after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked back in November of 2016, Arena has accumulated an overall record of three wins and four draws across all competitions (friendlies and World Cup Qualifiers) with the USMNT - he's yet to lose a match. One with the idea of Trinidad and one with the idea of Mexico. From a short corner kick, Arriola lifted the ball into the box. "It was able to take a lot of pressure off the game, especially what a attractive goal he scored". "It's not easy in the hex [six-team field] to win on the road".

A draw felt more like a victory for the visiting United States as it battled archrival Mexico to a 1-1 draw on Sunday night in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. After the match he acknowledged having made a decision to deploy it against El Tri months ago, believing it would give his team a chance to earn a result at Estadio Azteca.

Bruce Arena is a completely different coach than Klinsmann and the players are responding well.

The moment generated flashbacks of the 2002 World Cup, when Arena famously deployed a similar approach of going at Mexico's left back, forcing a first-half substitution by then-Mexico manager Javier Aguirre. With a five-man backline, there needs to be good chemistry and communication-and there was.

One measure of Arena's confidence in his team is how he was able to make those seven changes in the lineup, pick the right guys and give them the belief that it could work out. That wasn't the case in previous years. But before that there's the upcoming Gold Cup. The US committed too many fouls in their own defensive third and it led to some risky looks for El Tri - though to be fair, Gonzalez could, and perhaps should, have scored on two open headers in the first half. Wynalda's free kick at the 1994 World Cup comes to mind. Having tallied 17 worldwide goals, Bradley's chip from distance over Ochoa was his fifth all-time against El Trí and silenced the home crowd while also lifting some of the tension for the US early in the match.

After a quick turnover, Bradley realized he had a narrow opening for a chip. "Hit the wall." But even the Mexican accounts referred to the strike as the golazo that silenced Azteca. "I think it's quite possible we could win some of the away games".

A downpour began during second-half injury time. But seven new faces, and in an entirely new formation?

Mexico struck on the counterattack in the 23rd minute, with Carlos Vela cutting inside of DaMarcus Beasley to pull El Tri level. Christian Pulisic is the most obvious one, an 18-year-old with the potential to become a transcendent talent for the sport in this country.

Geoff Cameron rasied his game on Sunday.

Mexico responded swiftly, with Jonathan Dos Santos firing a low shot past Brad Guzan's left-hand post. Mexico has the most points, while Costa Rica is tied with the USMNT at eight points. Tim Ream was quiet but effective. Presumably, Arena had made his feelings about Mexico's goal crystal clear at halftime. They were in-synch with each other and it was impressive to see. He also deployed five defenders.

Arena asked an bad lot from DeAndre Yedlin these past few weeks. The final game came, played in the beehive that is Estadio Azteca, came after just two days of rest. Arena knew what he wanted, he communicated it clearly, and his team executed.

When looking at the winners and losers after these three games, Yedlin is definitely on the positive side of the ledger.

#United States got off to a fine start through Michael Bradley's early minute stunner. A strong and competent workmanlike performance from the FC Dallas star. Bradley's golazo looked so much more deliberate. All of the sudden, the US national team is a force to be reckoned with again.

Arena said he noticed that Sunday as well.

Both Osorio and Arena turned to their benches for the decisive blow, but it was a starter who nearly broke the deadlock for Mexico with 19 minutes remaining.

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