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U.S. beats Mexico 2-0 in qualifying FIFA match

By RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 11, 2009 (AP): Michael Bradley scored twice as the United States beat Mexico 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier on Wednesday and remained undefeated at home against El Tri since 1999.

On a wet and windy night at Crew Stadium—under the threat of a tornado watch—the U.S.-Americans earned their ninth win in 11 matches on U.S. soil against Mexico since 2000. Tickets had sold out in 90 minutes, with many of the 23,776 fans showing up hours before to stand in the rain while waving U.S. and Mexican flags and wearing their respective national colors.

DaMarcus Beasley's corner kick eventually found Oguchi Onyewu, whose header was stopped by diving Mexico goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez. But the rebound fell into the path of Bradley, who hit it home.

``It was a great corner from Beas, and Landon (Donovan) did a great job heading it back,'' Bradley said. ``It was not so hard for me to put it in.''

Then, in second-half injury time, Bradley took a pass from Donovan and his shot dipped under Sanchez's arms.

Mexico captain Rafaél Marquez was ejected in the 65th minute when he went high to spike goalie Tim Howard as they went for a loose ball. Howard, who angrily threw the ball down while he flexed his leg, also picked up a yellow card for delay of game on the ensuing free kick.

Howard was suspended for the U.S. game against El Salvador on March 28 for his second yellow card in qualifying.

``I wanted to apologize publicly to my teammates, and to the coaches and to the administration and to the fans and to my country,'' Marquez said. ``Tell my fans that I'm sorry. It's just the desire to win and not knowing what to do, maybe it's provocation. ... I know I'm important to the team. And I shouldn't set this kind of example. But this is just starting. There are still many important games.''

The loss could mean more trouble for Mexico coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. His team, with just one win in its last seven outings, barely made it into CONCACAF's final round of qualifying.

``Football is a big sport and, face it, sometimes it's not a friend of (patience),'' Eriksson said. ``But I'm optimistic because I think we have a good team. We have to score goals—that's our biggest problem.''

Bradley said it was the U.S.A.’s  defense that spelled the difference.

``We did a real nice job of getting after them and not letting them breathe,'' he said.

The match was the first of 10 in the final round of qualifying for each team. Mexico next entertains Costa Rica on March 28.

Lineups: Mexico: Oswaldo Sanchez, Aaron Galindo, Carlos Salcido, Rafael Marquez, Ricardo Osorio; Leandro Augusto, Alberto Medina (Antonio Naelson, 60), Pavel Pardo; Carlos Ochoa, Nery Castillo (Israel Martinez, 34), Giovani dos Santos (Omar Bravo, 72).

United States: Tim Howard, Frankie Hejduk, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, Heath Pearce, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan (Ricardo Clark, 86), DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Brian Ching (Jozy Altidore, 83).



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