U.S. soccer team plays to draw with Mexico

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2003

HOUSTON (AP) There was no revenge for Mexico on Thursday night. Eleven months after the United States knocked the Mexicans out the World Cup, the teams played a scoreless tie in an exhibition game as both nations tested many of their younger players.

Mexico used just two players who started in the 2-0 second-round loss last June 17 in South Korea, and the Americans started just four.

Mexico's Tricolores, urged on by a majority of the sellout crowd of 69,582 at Reliant Stadium, nearly scored in the 73rd minute. Adolfo Bautista's bicycle kick went right into the hands of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The crowd was the largest to see a soccer game in Texas and the largest to watch the Americans at home since a February 1998 loss to Mexico in Los Angeles at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The United States just missed a goal when Cobi Jones caught up with a ball on the far left side and rocketed a pass toward the penalty area. Chris Klein headed the ball barely over the crossbar.

The U.S. team had a similar chance in the 68th minute, but Brian McBride couldn't quite catch up to a nearly identical pass from Bobby Convey. McBride, Landon Donovan, Eddie Pope and Pablo Mastroeni were the American starters who also began the World Cup game against the Mexicans.

Mexico's best first-half chance came in the 24th minute. Arellano took a perfect give-and-go pass from Luis Perez and fired a shot from the right side of the penalty box straight to Howard, who was in position all night and recorded five saves. In all, Mexico outshot the United States 7-4.

The United States has held Mexico scoreless six of the last seven meetings, increasing its home shutout streak against its southern neighbors to 483 minutes.

Notes: The United States used all MLS players. ... The next U.S. national team game is May 26 at San Jose, Calif., against Wales. ... Jamaica's Peter Prendergast was the referee. In July 2000, he awarded a penalty kick that gave Costa Rica a victory over the United States in a World Cup semifinal-round qualifier. U.S. coach Bruce Arena and captain Claudio Reyna argued so strenously over Prendergast's hand-ball call on Gregg Berhalter that they were suspended by FIFA.

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