EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Javier Hernandez scored after U.S. newcomer Sergino Dest was nutmegged in the 21st minute, Erick Gutierrez and Uriel Antuna added late goals and Mexico mauled the United States 3-0 in an exhibition Friday night for its biggest victory margin over its regional rival in a decade.
Mexico had total control of the match after an even first 20 minutes. Gutierrez scored the second goal in the 78th, a minute after entering, following a poor clearance by American goalkeeper Zack Steffen that was intercepted. Antuna, another late substitute, added an 82nd-minute goal on a counterattack.
The Americans lost to Mexico by three goals for the first time since a 5-0 defeat in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup final. El Tri beat the U.S. 1-0 two months ago in the latest Gold Cup final in July and has won four of the last six meetings, with one draw.
Josh Sargent, an 19-year-old American, took a penalty kick in the 88th minute rather than star Christian Pulisic and was stopped by Jonathan Orozco, who dived to his right.
Dest, an 18-year-old who has gained playing time for Ajax this season, started at left back in his U.S. debut and played until the 68th minute. He became the third American born in the 2000s to play for the national team after Tim Weah and Sargent. Born to an American father and Dutch mother, he can switch to the Netherlands if he doesn’t play a competitive match for the U.S.
Dest had the first good U.S. chance, a curling shot from 25 yards in the 14th minute that was off target. But his inexperience showed on the goal.
Jesus Corona, playing for Mexico for the first time in 11 months, dribbled past Pulisic, played the ball through the legs of Dest, then took a touch toward goal and made an open cross to an unmarked Hernandez. The diving header from 8 yards was Chicharito’s 52nd international goal, six more than Jared Borgetti’s previous Mexican record.
U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter made six lineup changes from the Gold Cup final. Defender John Brooks once again was hurt, leaving Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman in central defense. After missing the Gold Cup because of an injured knee ligament, Brooks did not dress because of a tight right groin.
Mexico started just two players who began the Gold Cup final, when Corona, Hernandez and forward Hirving Lozano were among the missing stars.
Both teams figure to experiment for much of the next year, filled with more friendlies and the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League. Regional qualifying for the 2022 World Cup doesn’t start until the first week of September 2020.
There was the jostling typical of the region’s top rivalry, with players pushing in a scrum after Hector Herrera got a hand in the face of Alfredo Morales, who returned to the U.S. lineup for the first time since May 2016. Morales hit a post in the 80th minute.
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