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Article:Bradley's Beautiful Brace

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Michael Bradley netted a wonderful brace, that's two goals in the parlance of the beautiful game, to lead the United States past Mexico in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier played last evening in Columbus, Ohio.  The win reinforced the United States dominance over the Mexicans on home soil.  Overall since 2000 the United States have accumulated 9 wins and 2 draws against Mexico in matches played in the States.

The first US goal came in the 43rd minute, just prior to the interval.  The US was awarded a corner kick taken by DaMarcus Beasley.  His corner seemed to hang in the atmosphere forever.  Eventually the ball came down at the far post where Landon Donovan lost his marker and headed the ball into the area.  The headed cross then found the head of Oguchi Onyewu who placed a shot on goal that was well saved by Oswaldo Sanchez.  The dear Sanchez however could not control the rebound and Michael Bradley popped up and slammed it home giving the US a well deserved 1-0 lead.

The second half saw a key moment in the 65th minute.  A scramble in front of the US goal forced US goalkeeper Tim Howard to leap to control the ball.  He lept and Rafael Marquez came in hard with his boots up running into the vulnerable Howard.  Red card to Marquez and there was much rejoicing.  Howard managed to pick up a yellow card in the aftermath as he slammed the ball to the turf after the referee's whistle blew.  The yellow card to Howard means he is ineligible for the United States next match in qualifying against El Salvador on March 28.

The decisive blow came in the 90th minute.  A beautifully slotted pass from Donovan found an onrushing Bradley who let loose a thunderous blast.  Time seemed to slow down as I watched the ball head towards the Mexican goal.  All of a sudden the ball dipped, Sanchez dived for the save, ball in the net, WOO HOO!  By this time Mrs. Gunny had fallen asleep upstairs as I was watching downstairs in the Game Room.  My yelps of joy jolted her awake and brought her to the top of the steps asking me if I was alright.  Fine my dear lady, I am just perfectly fine.

From my vantage point the United States dominated this match.  Carlos Bocanegra did do his best to give me a heart attack early on in the first half when an errant clearance found the Mexicans with a clear shot on goal.  Thankfully Howard stood tall and preserved the scoreline.  Frankie Hejduk was an absolute beast.  His work rate was amazing, getting involved frequently in the attack from his full back position and going in hard in the tackles when required.  Great stuff from him even though his club, Columbus Crew, is in their off season.  Oguchi Onyewu was solid in the center of defense confounding the Mexican attack once again.  My only criticism of the US may be that I thought Clint Dempsey was a bit too theatrical in his performance.  The Mexicans looked dour and more concerned with keeping their shape as opposed to trying play some free flowing football.  I suspect those tactics are the result of having Sven-Goran Eriksson as your coach.  The US was the more fluid team and the more creative team in all phases of the game.  A well deserved victory indeed.

In the other matches in CONCACAF, El Salvador came back from a 2-0 deficit against Trinidad and Tobago to earn a draw in San Salvador.  Costa Rica joined the US as joint leaders in the hexagonal as they defeated Honduras 2-0 in a match played in San Jose.

¡DOS A CERO! heh, heh, heh....

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