COLUMBUS, Ohio — The United States’ invincibility over Mexico at MAPFRE Stadium is history.
Former Red Bulls defender Rafael Marquez, who has had several ill-advised physical encounters with the Americans through the years, tormented them in a yet another way Friday night. He connected for the winning goal in the 89th minute to lift El Tri to a stunning 2-1 win in the CONCACAF hexagonal opener for both teams.
Marquez slipped in Miguel Layun’s corner kick past substitute goalkeeper Brad Guzan to snap the Americans’ four-game winning streak of 2-0 results here.
“We lost him,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “It’s as simple as that. Individual mistake.”
The teams played with intensity as referee Walter Lopez was forced to hand out nine yellow cards, six on Mexico, and a red card to Mexico’s Carlos Salcedo four minutes into second-half stoppage time.
The USA needed at least a point in the first game of the 10-game competition that will determine three automatic CONCACAF berths to the 2018 World Cup in Russia because it plays in Costa Rica Tuesday night, a venue where it has never won a qualifier. Two losses in their opening two matches would be a difficult hole from which to climb.
“We’ve got to go down there and get a result. I told them we’ll correct it in Costa Rica,” said Klinsmann. “It gives us a sense of anger, a sense of urgency.”
El Tri dominated the opening half. They took a well-deserved lead in the 20th minute when Layun drilled a low, deflected 24-yard shot into the lower right corner, snapping the USA’s 380-minute shutout streak against the Mexicans at this arena.
Howard suffered a leg injury on a goal kick, forcing Klinsmann to pull him for Guzan in the 44th minute. Guzan stayed out at halftime to warm-up.
The USA equalized in the 49th minute as Jozy Altidore fed the onrushing Bobby Wood, who beat two defenders before beating goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera from six yards.
It was the first U.S. home loss in a qualifier since a 3-2 loss to Honduras in Washington in 2001.