The U.S. soccer team has reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup, exceeding nearly everyone's expectations, after beating arch-rival Mexico, 2-0, in the second round.
Three new players were in the starting line-up for the USA, and one of them - forward Josh Wolff - had the key assist on the Americans' first goal in the eighth minute that was scored by Brian McBride.
The Americans had given up two early goals in their previous game, a 3-1 loss to Poland, and McBride said scoring so soon against Mexico was key. "I think it is important in any game, especially as we have seen throughout the World Cup, the first goal is so important," he said. "But today it was big for us. I think probably bigger was the second goal just because that gave us a little cushion."
That second U.S. goal came in the 65th minute on a long cross from the left sideline by Eddie Lewis into box, where fellow midfielder Landon Donovan headed the ball into the net. "The ball from Eddie needs to be considered [as a great pass], because that was incredible," he said. "It made it easy on me. I had gotten in good position. And going up 2-0 on a team like that when they really did not threaten us too much offensively means a lot. It means they are gonna have a tough time beating us."
After the second U.S. goal, the Mexicans clearly got frustrated and started playing very physical, resulting in several yellow card fouls. And the U.S. team defended well when it needed to, to preserve the 2-0 victory.
"It is a great accomplishment for U.S. soccer," said U.S. coach Bruce Arena. "We have never gotten this far. You know, I had somebody say to me after the game on television [in an interview that] we were lucky. We were not lucky. Look at the teams we have played and the results we have gotten. We are not lucky. You know, we beat a Mexican team that has been outstanding in this World Cup. We beat a great team in Portugal, and we got a point against a team that is going to prove they are very difficult to beat at home in Korea. So we have had an outstanding World Cup to date. So I am very proud of these players. They did an outstanding job."
With the 2-0 victory over Mexico, the U.S. soccer team earns a berth in the World Cup quarterfinals against Germany on Friday.