Uriel Antuna’s goal gave Mexico a 1-0 win over the United States on Wednesday to secure first place in Group A of the CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying tournament.
Both teams were already assured of advancing from Group A to Sunday’s semifinals. The U.S. finished second in Group B and will play Honduras if Canada doesn’t beat the Catrachos in the Group B final on Thursday.
Here’s how Wednesday night’s game in Guadalajara went down :
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 25, 2021
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11:50 PM ET: That’s it for us and we hope you were able to follow us tonight. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday to see the U.S. play for a spot at the Tokyo Games, while the senior national team is in action Thursday in an international friendly against Jamaica (1 p.m. ET on ESPN/Watch ESPN). Good night.
11:42 PM ET: Let’s reconnect with Jeff Carlisle after the U.S.’s frustrating 1-0 loss.
“The result wasn’t a surprise, but hopefully the U.S. offense will show more in this weekend’s semifinals than what was shown tonight. On a positive note, both center backs played well. It will be a tough decision for Kreis to play Pineda or Kessler from the start alongside Justen Glad in the next game.”
“The strength of this team is still the goalie and the back five, if you will. They need to take advantage of that to qualify for Tokyo.”‘
FULL TIME: MEXICO 1-0 UNITED STATES. El Tri wins Group A and faces the second-place finisher in Group B on Sunday, while the Americans finish second and face the winner of Group B the same day.
93 MINUTES: Djordje Mihailovic’s corner kick is headed wide as Mexico looks for an equalizer. Aaron Herrera deliberately fouls Erick Aguirre and the referee whistles a foul. The final score is 1-0 to Mexico.
David Ochoa has a grand total of how many first team games?!
You couldn’t tell from looking at his performances. 💪🏼 So far he’s up to the challenge.
— herculez gomez (@herculezg) March 25, 2021
93 MINUTES: Just before the end of three minutes of stoppage time, the U.S. gets a corner kick. This is surely their last chance!
92 MINUTES: SUB. Uriel Antuna, the man of the match, is replaced by Alan Mozo, to much applause.
90 MINUTES: Although the U.S. didn’t do much, the performance of goalkeeper David Ochoa was encouraging. Former U.S. international and current ESPN commentator Herculez Gomes is impressed.
88 MINS: The U.S. offense didn’t really look like scoring today.
83 MINUTES: Alexis Vega sends a dangerous ball, but it gets to Ochoa, who holds it. Ochoa and Vasquez clash in the box and tempers flare on both sides. Not much, but we officially have a USA vs. Mexico match!
80 MINUTES: Only 10 minutes left plus stoppage time. Can the U.S. still get the equalizer? Right now, they need two goals to win the game and the group against Mexico.
75 MINUTES SUBSTITUTE. Jason Kreis takes his last chance and brings on former Clemson soccer player Tanner Tessmann to replace Hassani Dotson.
SUBSTITUTION IN THE 71ST MINUTE. Benji Michel was the fourth substitute for the USA. The Orlando City man replaces Sebastian Saucedo. The USA has one more substitute.
70 MINUTES: SUBSTITUTION. Mexico makes a substitution, bringing on Jesus Ricardo Angulo and Carlos Rodriguez for Jose Macias and Roberto Alvarado.
— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) March 25, 2021
9:02 PM ET: And the composition of El Tri is out…. Club America’s Sebastian Cordova, the tournament’s top scorer with four goals, starts on the bench for Sunday’s semifinals.
8:56 PM ET: In case you missed it … Could some of the USMNT’s top young stars play in Tokyo if the U.S. qualifies? Christian Pulisic, for example, said he’d love the opportunity to represent the Stars and Stripes this summer.
“It’s something I’ve thought about and would love to be a part of,” Pulisic said in a Zoom interview with reporters about playing in the Olympics. “Obviously, I can’t control what happens there. What’s best for me at that point and what’s best for the team, obviously I can’t say. But it’s something I’d like to be a part of.”
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 24, 2021
8:37 p.m. ET: The USYNT starting lineup is in place and Jason Kreis has made six changes. Julian Araujo, Henry Kessler, Sebastian Saucedo, Andres Perea and Hassani Dotson are the only ones left from Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Dominican Republic.
69 MINUTES: The U.S. has a half-chance, but despite Jurado’s intervention, they can’t get a shot on goal. Mihailovic continues to be the Americans’ best offensive force.
61 MINS SUB. A triple change for the United States. Jesus Ferreira enters the game and is shown a yellow card. He’ll have to be careful not to get suspended for the semifinals.
59 MINUTES: Antuna sets up the dangerous Jose Macias, but the Chivas player misses a great opportunity for Mexico. Back of the net again for the USYNT.
58 MINUTES: CHANCE. Perhaps the best moment for the US tonight: Sebastian Saucedo’s shot is blocked by Gilbert Sepulveda. The US players complain about the handball, but this one isn’t cheap. On the next corner, Johnny goes for a standing position, but Jurado intercepts the ball. First shot on goal of the night for the USA.
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 25, 2021
56 MINUTES: Antuna again breaks away from a U.S. defender, this time Aaron Herrera, allowing Alvarado to create a chance. A brave block by Henry Kessler thwarts the attempt, but Mexico is now looking for their second goal.
53 MINUTES: The U.S. finally gets into the Mexican half, but despite all the protests, the referee doesn’t award Johnny a corner. Good job by Soto to set up the shot.
46 MINS: Mexico picks up where they left off, entering the U.S. half.
10:42 PM ET: Here are Jeff’s key findings from the first 45 minutes.
1. It’s hard to see where the creativity will come from tonight, especially with Kreis protecting guys like Jesus Ferreira with yellow cards.
2) Defensively, the U.S. improved in the first half. Pineda, in particular, looks much better than he did in the opening game against Costa Rica.
3. Johnny Cardoso has talked a lot about his offensive skills, but he has yet to show them at the international level.
10:31 PM ET: More analysis on Mexico’s late goal….
Halftime: Mexico takes a 1-0 lead into the break, thanks to Antuna’s goal in the 45th minute.
45 MIN: GOAAALLL! Mexico scores first just before halftime through former Galaxy player Uriel Antuna.
37 MINUTES: The U.S. gets a promising free kick and Djordje Mihailovic’s dangerous ball results in a scramble in the box. Mexican goalkeeper Luis Malagon lands awkwardly on his wrist and appears to have suffered a nasty injury. He is stretchered off and Sebastian Jurado comes on in his place.
28 MINUTES: Big breakaway for the USA! Mauricio Pineda makes a brilliant save on Alejandro Mayorga, who was free in front of goal after a turnover by US right back Julian Araujo. Araujo is the relieved man on the field. The score is still 0-0.
23 MINUTES: Mexico is slowly coming into its own, with Ochoa making a good save at first before former LA Galaxy striker Uriel Antuna misses with a flick.
20 MINUTES: If the U.S. were to qualify, what might the dream XI of eligible players look like? While we know many of these players would not be released by their clubs, here is Jeff Carlisle’s dream eleven:
GK David Ochoa; LB Antonee Robinson, CB Mark McKenzie, CB Chris Richards, RB Sergino Dest; MF Yunus Musah, MF Tyler Adams, MF Weston McKennie; FW Giovanni Reyna, FW Josh Sargent, FW Christian Pulisic.
This is a team that, on paper, should be a major medal contender.
16 MINUTES: Mexico’s third corner of the night goes for naught, Vasquez drops his header on Ochoa.
13 MINUTES: It’s getting physical in Guadalajara, with both teams having fierce duels early on. Amen, Janusz.
9 MINS: Another corner for Mexico, this one taken by Roberto Alvarado. Goalkeeper David Ochoa seems to have misjudged the Cruz Azul star’s cross, but he holds the ball back to avoid any further danger.
7 MINUTES: After initially holding off Mexico, the U.S. began to gain a foothold in this game, first with a corner kick and now with a free kick in the opposing half.
3 MINS: And Mexico wins the first corner of the game…. Which, after a partial clearance, results in a long shot from Johan Vásquez that goes out of bounds.
9:40 PM ET: AND IT’S OFF TO GUADALAJARA!
9:17 PM ET: Are you ready for the USA vs. Mexico match? Midfielder Andres Perea seems excited about his first meeting with CONCACAF’s biggest rival…
8:00 PM ET: In less than an hour and a half, the USMNT U23’s match with Mexico in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying begins! Stay tuned throughout the evening for this crucial Group A match as both teams try to move closer to a spot in the Tokyo Games.