Michael Bradley (#4) celebrates with teammate Geoff Cameron after scoring the USA's lone goal in a World Cup Qualifying draw against host Mexico on June 11, 2017, in Mexico City. (Photo: Oscar Ramirez/Straffon Images)
MEXICO CITY -- 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.
The titanic tilt at the Estadio Azteca marked only the third time the Americans acquired a point in a qualifier played against Mexico in Mexico, equaling draws obtained in 1997 and 2013.
“Any time you can get a point here it’s great,” said captain Michael Bradley, who scored the lone U.S. goal on a brilliant effort from 35-yards out in the sixth minute. “Now we can move ourselves forward."
After starting the year in the CONCACAF Hexagonal cellar, the U.S. has improved to 2W-2D-2L and currently occupies third place.
“We were certainly positioned to get three points,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena commented. “It’s not easy in the hex to win on the road. We were close tonight. I’m proud of the result. I’m a little greedy. I would have liked to have had three points.”
The U.S. is undefeated in qualifying under Arena – who returned to the helm as a replacement for Jurgen Klinsmann last November -- at 2W-2D-0L, with four games remaining on the CONCACAF schedule.
“Look, we were pretty honest with ourselves and understood that we had let a lot of little things drop,” concluded Bradley. “Bruce came in and has done a really good job of little by little making sure we get back to who we are. Now we just have to keep going.”