SAN ANTONIO — After a scoreless first half during which social media users mostly focused on the sorry state of the pitch at the Alamodome rather than the game itself, the U.S. national team received goals from Jordan Morris and Juan Agudelo in the second half to claim a 2-0 win vs. Mexico in an international friendly.
And there was plenty to see for the loud, boisterous crowd of more than 65,000 at the Alamodome that was probably 60 percent in favor of Mexico. And plenty for Twitter and Vine users to watch as well, not to mention some postgame Reddit controversy.
Here are four of the most important moments you might have missed.
1. Neither team could find the back of the net in the first half, and near the end of the opening 45 minutes, the play had turned ragged and sloppy. But it didn’t take long for forward Jordan Morris to make a name for himself. Early in the second half, after Michael Bradley outflanked two Mexican defenders and passed the ball to Gyasi Zardes, the ball deflected onto on Morris’ foot.
This was what Morris did with his opportunity.
That was the first goal of Morris’ international career, not bad for a 20-year old kid who’s still in college at Stanford.
“To see a boy like Morris score his first international goal, you jump for joy,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said after the game. “That’s what you want to feel for this guy.”
2. Dos a cero has become a rallying cry whenever the U.S. plays Mexico, because the last four times the Americans have played their neighbors to the south in Columbus, Ohio, during World Cup qualifying, they’ve won 2-0. Thus, after Juan Agudelo’s score, social media exploded with chants of Dos A Cero.
But let’s not overlook Agudelo’s goal by itself, because it was a beauty.
3. There was a scary moment in the second half when midfielder Kyle Beckerman, usually one of the most solid players on the field for the U.S., fell to the turf and grabbed his knee. Here’s what it looked like.
But Beckerman was walking on the pitch after the game, congratulating his teammates, and though he might have been slightly limping, he didn’t appear too badly hurt.
4. There was a semi-kerfuffle Tuesday, because Mexico apparently didn’t feel comfortable with the conditions of the field. The team canceled its practice Tuesday at the Alamodome and moved it to nearby Trinity College. There were even rumors in the Mexican media that the team was considering pulling out of the game in protest of the lousy field conditions.
That obviously didn’t happen, but man, the field certainly didn’t look good. This was a little more than two hours before the game began.
Players slipped and slid on the turf for much of the game, and the reaction of Twitter followers who were obviously U.S. supporters was that of embarrassment. A kindly offer or two was made.
The USMNT is welcome to play in my back yard if they're looking for a better pitch than in San Antonio.
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) April 16, 2015
Even Ohio State’s soccer program got into the action.
— Ohio State Mens Soccer (@OhioStateMSOC) April 16, 2015
Frankly, all of this was true. By the end of the first half, the field looked like a cow pasture, and clearly, it was tough for players from both teams to keep their footing. It was not an acceptable pitch on which to play.
Said Klinsmann afterward: “Both teams tried hard to keep the ball going and not hit too many long balls. To get the real flow or to get into a rhythm in that hectic up and down, it takes you almost a half-hour. That’s what we saw in the first half. In the second half, it was more quality there. Everybody understood his role a little better. That’s why maybe it was easier to get the opportunity to score. It was tricky for all the players to play on that field.”
Photo via David Wilson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)