How social media reacted to the CONCACAF World Cup qualifier at Estadio Azteca


The U.S. men’s national team went to Mexico on Thursday to begin the crucial final window of 2022 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and coach Gregg Berhalter promised they’d be aggressive. Unfortunately for Berhalter (and fans), that approach didn’t result in any goals for the U.S. — and likewise for Mexico, El Tri could not find an opening to score either.

The match ended 0-0, and scoreless draw isn’t the worst result for either team — they each won a point, and they both have two more games to try to get another six points and clinch their spots in Qatar. It just wasn’t exactly the most fun iteration of this storied rivalry to watch.

So, with the match ending with a bit of a thud, here is how the internet reacted to the high and lows (well, there weren’t that many highs but you get the point):

Pre-game

Once the game got started, those on-scene couldn’t help by notice that Estadio Azteca had a subdued atmosphere due to capacity restrictions.

– Ogden: Portugal are more than just Ronaldo now
What it’s like to score at Azteca: USMNT and Mexico players reflect

The stadium normally fits 87,000 people, but the Mexican federation scaled back capacity to 50,000 both due to COVID and to better control the crowd amid worries about the infamous homophobic chant often heard at Mexican national team matches.

Attendees were required to go through a registration system called Fan ID, which makes it easier for fans who violate the rules to be banned from future matches.

However, there was at least one American celebrity sighting: actor Owen Wilson was at the match backing the U.S. team. Meanwhile, for Mexico, pop singer Mijares sang the Mexican national anthem.

35th minute

The match sprung to life in the 35th minute when Timothy Weah, racing up the right flank, crossed past the face of goal for Christian Pulisic. Without a runner keeping up with him, Pulisic tried the one-time shot with his left foot, but goalkeeper Memo Ochoa did well to block it.

It ended up being the USMNT’s best chance of the first half. Pulisic gave USMNT fans a scare when he stayed down on the play, but he did get up, albeit gingerly.

The first half saw neither side exert dominance or take control of the game, and there were plenty of errant touches to go around.

Mexico completed 72.5% of their passes in the first half, while the U.S. completed just 66.4%. Of Mexico’s four shots in the first half, just one was on target. The U.S. also had four shots, but put three on frame.

Halftime

With the score locked at 0-0 and neither side finding the edge, social media took some time to reflect on the 45 minutes of soccer everyone had just witnessed. It wasn’t exactly what everyone had been hoping for.

72nd minute

If Pulisic’s saved shot in the first half was tough for USMNT fans to see, Jordan Pefok outdid him in the 72nd minute. With a golden chance to score from the middle of the box, Pefok sent his shot wide right.

As the reactions from social media make clear, the USMNT probably should’ve been up 1-0 at that point.

Final whistle

In the end, the USMNT stood up to the challenge of playing on the road at Estadio Azteca well, and the chances were certainly there to get the winner.

But it wasn’t to be. And now the USMNT has two more matches to secure the points they need to qualify for the World Cup. Next up, the U.S. takes on Panama in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.