U.S.-Mexico World Cup Qualifier: Mexico Breaks Losing Streak To Rivals In 2-1 Win Dos a cero no mas: An 89th-minute goal puts Mexico over the top, 2-1, ending the country's four-match streak of 2-0 losses in the United States. The U.S. hadn't lost a home qualifier in 15 years.
NPR logo Mexico Breaks 4-Game Losing Streak In U.S. To Win World Cup Qualifier

Mexico Breaks 4-Game Losing Streak In U.S. To Win World Cup Qualifier

Mexico's Diego Reyes, top, jumps on United States' Jozy Altidore during the a World Cup qualifying soccer match Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP hide caption

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Jay LaPrete/AP

Mexico's Diego Reyes, top, jumps on United States' Jozy Altidore during the a World Cup qualifying soccer match Friday in Columbus, Ohio.

Jay LaPrete/AP

Rafa Marquez scored a tiebreaking goal on a header in the 89th minute, giving Mexico a 2-1 win Friday night, and its first road victory against the United States in World Cup qualifying since 1972.

Miguel Layun put Mexico ahead in the 20th minute in the opener of the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean, but Bobby Wood tied the score in the 49th.

The U.S. dominated the second half before the 37-year-old Marquez, unmarked and drifting across the penalty area at the near post, got the back of his head on Layun's corner kick. The Mexican captain lifted the ball over goalkeeper Brad Guzan for his 17th international goal.

"It gets a sense of anger in us. It gets a sense of absolutely urgency," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "It's not a problem, but it's obviously disappointing."

The U.S. had beaten Mexico four straight times by 2-0 scores in home qualifiers — all at Columbus — and Marquez had gotten two yellow cards and a red in those matches. The Americans had been 30-0-2 at home in qualifying since a 3-2 loss to Honduras at Washington's RFK Stadium in September 2001.

A pro-American crowd of 24,650 chanted "Dos a cero!" at the start, but Mexican supporters yelled "Dos a uno!" as they left.

Mexico's previous win at the U.S. in qualifying was also by a 2-1 score, at Los Angeles.

"I think we deserved this match," Layun said. "We were focused."

Klinsmann said John Brooks was supposed to mark Marquez on the corner kick.

"We lost him there. Individual mistake," Klinsmann said.

Guzan had lost the U.S. goalkeeper job to Tim Howard, who started at the past two World Cups — but Howard pulled a muscle in his right leg on a goal kick and was replaced in the 40th minute.

The Americans play Tuesday at Costa Rica, where it never has won in qualifying, in the second of its 10 games in the round, and Klinsmann said Howard likely will miss the match. The top three teams in the six-nation round qualify for the World Cup, and the fourth-place country advances to an inter-region playoff.

With the U.S. struggling early in what Klinsmann called a 3-4-3 formation, Mexico could have led 3-0. Howard tipped Jesus Corona's 10th-minute shot off a post and Carlos Vela's 25th-minute header hit a crossbar.

Mexico's Alfredo Talavera celebrates a goal against the United States Fridayin Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP hide caption

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Jay LaPrete/AP

Mexico's Alfredo Talavera celebrates a goal against the United States Fridayin Columbus, Ohio.

Jay LaPrete/AP

"Out midfielders didn't get into the one-on-one battles we expected them to," Klinsmann said, citing Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley.

Mexico went ahead after Bradley and Giovani dos Santos battled for the ball 30 yards out. The ball skipped to Layun, who took a touch, and his right-footed shot deflected off Timmy Chandler and in to Howard's left for his fourth international goal in 46 appearances.

After switching to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation in the 27th minute, the Americans began to find their rhythm, and Wood scored off a pass from Jozy Altidore.

Wood tied the score after John Brooks forced a turnover. Jozy Altidore turned his defender and passed to Wood, who took two touches as he split defenders. His 8-yard, left-footed shot deflected off a leg of Layun for his eighth goal in 28 international appearances. Wood also scored against Mexico last fall during an extra-time loss in the playoff for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.