Phoenix: Mexico rallied from a two-goal half-time deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with the United States on Wednesday in an international friendly between World Cup-bound teams.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat in a friendly against Ukraine on March 5, Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States were looking for a better performance against their North American rivals.
With only 10 weeks remaining before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, Klinsmann’s starting 11 included a few surprises, with Brad Davis getting the starting nod ahead of Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski rather than Eddie Johnson.
The hosts seized the lead in the 15th minute as a corner kick by Graham Zusi found Michael Bradley who fired it home.
“It was something we talked about before the game, that on set-pieces at the back post it was going to be an opportunity for us,” Bradley said. “Good ball came in, and I was able to get free and put it in.”
The United States doubled their lead in the 28th when Tony Beltran’s cross into the area from the right was headed on by Bradley to the left side of the box where Chris Wondolowski slotted it past Mexico’s Rogelio Alfredo Chavez.
But Mexico came out firing in the second half, trimming the deficit in the 49th when veteran defender Rafael Marquez found room on a corner kick taken by Marco Fabian and headed it past US goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Fabian hadn’t played for Mexico since August, when he played 13 minutes against Ivory Coast in a friendly.
His six goals in 11 matches for league-leading Cruz Azul have been enough to give his World Cup chances new life.
Klinsmann brought in three substitutions on the hour mark, including 18-year-old Julian Green, who recently opted to play for the United States over Germany.
Green, a Bayern Munich reserve, had featured for both countries at the youth level.
Donovan and defender Clarence Goodson also came in, but Mexico — cheered on by a big contingent among the 59,066-strong crowd at the University of Phoenix Stadium — home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals — grabbed the equaliser in the 67th when Alan Pulido fired home the rebound of Paul Aguilar’s shot off the post.
In a frantic final 10 minutes, Johnson seemed to have given the United States the winner with five minutes to play but was ruled offside.