With Carlos Vela, Giovani Dos Santos and a whole host of fine attackers available to coach Hugo Sanchez, it was the unlikely Jonny Magallon who played the role of goal hero for the Mexicans in a 2-2 draw with the USA in Houston, Texas on Wednesday. After the Americans twice took the lead in front of a nominal home crowd of over 70,000, it was the Chivas defender who drew level on both occasions with his first and second goals at international level.
Up against a hostile crowd despite playing within their own borders, the United States fairly well stole their opening goal against the run of play.
Earning a throw near Memo Ochoa's goal in minute 28, Oguchi Onyewu hurled the ball aimlessly into the box. Creditably though, The hulking Standard Liege defender continued his run into the area and met Landon Donovan's looped return ball to nod home off the back post.
Seemingly unimpressed by their hosts' smash-and-grab opener, El Tri marched right up the other end and drew level inside five minutes. Pavel Pardo's wicked, bending free-kick pickd out a flying Magallon at Tim Howard's far post, and the Chivas Guadalajara fullback made no mistake volleying home his first international goal.
Not to be outdone, just four minutes before the break, New York Red Bulls' teenage sensation Jozy Altidore angled home a peerless header (his first in a USA shirt) from a Drew Moor cross to put the Americans back in front. They nearly made it three before the interval, but Texas native Clint Dempsey's sizzling strike from distance was called back.
Just two minutes into the second period, Magallon grabbed his second-ever goal for his national team and became public enemy number-one for the US. Taking advantage of some poor defending, he poked home a flicked-on corner kick to send the crowd into hysterics.
No late heroics
With 20 minutes to go, Sanchez introduced Barcelona star Dos Santos for the lively and impressive Carlos Vela. However, the change made no difference to the scoreline as Mexico failed to get a win on US soil in their tenth straight time of asking.
"We had some good moments in a tough game that was played at a high tempo," US head coach Bob Bradley said after the match. "I feel like we still need to keep getting better, but as a team we played fairly well and pushed hard. We'll just need to keep it up and keep on improving."
"This was a moral victory for us. There wasn't a lot of space out there but it's something we can build on going forward," added Mexico goal hero Magallon. "Scoring two goals against the USA is something I am very proud of and I will never forget it."
"It was probably a fair result in the end," US captain Landon Donovan concluded.