The US-Mexico game returned to Columbus featuring a rivalry of equals.
Though the US famously won 2-0 in South Korea during the 2002 World Cup, Mexico had the more recent victory, dominating in a 2-1 home win in March.
Despite the perfect conditions (the weather was roughly 50 degrees warmer than four years prior) there was little activity in the first half. The most memorable moment was Oguchi Onyewu’s stare – far from an endorsement of attacking soccer. After a scoreless first half, a 53rd minute Eddie Lewis free kick found Onyewu, and his header ricocheted off the post. Steve Ralston broke the deadlock with the easiest header of his life, nodding home the loose ball into an open net from maybe a yard out.
Mexico attacks a minute later, but Kasey Keller saves a low shot comfortably. He boots the longest of long balls that scrapes the moon and still goes 70 yards downfield. Like any rational human, the Mexican defender declined a header attempt, and on the second bounce, Mexico tries to pass back to the keeper. This indecision, though, permits a lurking Landon Donovan to intercept. A single touch takes him past the keeper but wide of the goal, and Mexico recovers enough to concede the corner.
Donovan heads over to the far right corner, and DaMarcus Beasley stands over the ball. Beasley ensures the Mexican defender is 10 yards away with a stutter, and then touches short to Donovan. Donovan hits a first-time pass to Claudio Reyna, standing completely unmarked 25 yards from goal. Reyna’s first touch bounces up on him, but the second is a perfectly placed ball to a sprinting Beasley. Beasley, who wisely runs parallel to goal to beat an offside trap, receives the ball and curls a smooth finish to the far left corner. Onyewu and Ralston both made good runs as Beasley received the ball, and for their effort, are juked out of the camera frame by Beasley during his celebration.
Reyna and Beasley nearly connect again in stoppage time, but Beasley just misses chipping the keeper from outside the box on a breakaway. No matter: the win clinched a 2006 World Cup berth, and that familiar scoreline on the same field solidified the 2-0 mystique. Beasley’s renaissance as a LB clouds the memory of his attacking prowess, but this was a goal indicative of the quality attacking winger PSV signed.