Our friends at Football Manager conducted a simulation of tonight’s U.S. vs. Mexico match in Columbus. Their simulation resulted in a 1-1 draw.
A scoreless first half saw Mexico on the front foot with Tim Howard forced into an important save on Javier Hernandez’s chance. The U.S. began to take control after the save. From FM’s story on the game:
USA begin to assert themselves on the game as the first half draws to a close. They start to eat into Mexico’s control of play in the middle of the pitch by moving Michael Bradley further forward to challenge Jonathan dos Santos who had been the poorest performing out of the Mexican midfielders at that point. That additional pressure leads to a fantastic opportunity on the stroke of half-time that Jozy Altidore inexplicably fails to convert. A superb pass from Pulisic puts Altidore one-on-one with Ochoa but the striker shoots straight at the ‘keeper with no defenders around him.
Mexico took the lead early in the second half “against the run of play” as Carlos Vela took advantage of a Alejandro Bedoya giveaway near midfield.
A poor pass from Bedoya gives possession to Carlos Vela on the halfway line. Vela lifts the ball over the defence and Hernandez beats Brooks to the ball and curls the ball into the net past Howard.
The lead did not last long.
The lead lasts all of ten minutes as USA finally get the goal that their play has deserved. Pulisic plays a crucial part in it as he plays a superb backheel to Bobby Wood on the edge of the area and Wood’s first time shot is too powerful for Ochoa to keep out.
Mexico went for the win late in the match and forced the U.S. onto its heels.
It’s Howard who deserves the plaudits from the fans. He produces his first stunning save after 70 minutes when Mexico string together a series of passes around the penalty area. The ball finds it way to Vela who curls a shot that looks destined for the top corner until Howard throws his body at the ball and makes a fingertip save to turn the ball over the bar.
Howard comes to the rescue again inside the last five minutes as Giovani Dos Santos’ perfectly weighted cross is met by the head of Hernandez from no more than six yards out. Howard’s instinctive leap to his right-hand side is enough to deflect the ball around the post in what proved to be the last meaningful action of the match.
Chicharito and Howard were the Players of the Game for their respective teams.
We’ll have more on the new edition of Football Manager in the coming days. The 2017 edition is available now. Thank you to the Sports Interactive Ltd. team and Alex Stuart at RGAA.