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In hostile territory, U.S. is outclassed by Mexico.

CONCACAF qualifying standings, schedule, results.

U.S. men

Desperate Mexico uses early Borgetti header to pin 1-0 loss on Americans.

MEXICO CITY (Sunday, July 1, 2001) -- Mexico badly needed a victory to resuscitate its 2002 World Cup hopes. The United States sat comfortably in first place in the CONCACAF final-round qualifying group.

CONCACAF qualifying
Team W L T Pts GF GA
Costa Rica 4 1 1 13 12 7
United States 4 1 1 13 7 2
Honduras 2 2 2 8 13 11
Jamaica 2 2 2 8 5 8
Mexico 2 3 1 7 8 8
Trinidad-Tobago 0 5 1 1 4 13

June 30 result
Jamaica 2, Trinidad 1
July 1 results
Mexico 1, United States 0
Costa Rica 3, Honduras 2

The Mexicansí desperation was evident and played a major factor in a 1-0 victory before 100,000 at Estadio Azteca that restored El Tricolores to the thick of the race for the three World Cup berths to come from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Jared Borgetti registered the only goal of the afternoon, enough to keep Mexico (2-3-1, 7 points) in fifth place, trailing Honduras (2-2-2) and Jamaica (2-2-2) by only one point.

"I think we were Mexicoís most dangerous player," said U.S. defender Jeff Agoos. "I think Mexico did well today. I donít think we deserved to win today, but outside of one play we did what we had to do to come in here and try to steal a point (with a draw). I think today we were our own worst enemy."

With its 3-2 road victory over Honduras, Costa Rica tied the U.S. with both at 4-1-1 with 13 points. The Americans, who were outshot 14-4, are still without a victory in Mexico with an all-time record of 0-21-1, which includes a 0-17-1 mark in Mexico City and a 0-7-1 record at Estadio Azteca. In World Cup qualifying play, the U.S. is now 3-13-5 against Mexico, 0-10-1 in Mexico City.

"I just think we had a hard time communicating with each other out on the field," U.S. midfielder Cobi Jones said. "Everyone was playing on different pages and we werenít organized as players on the field. You can have all the organization you want beforehand, but once you get on the field you have to be organized together as a team."

The only goal of the match came in the 16th minute after midfielder Joe-Max Moore ran over Mexicoís Alberto Garcia Aspe from behind. Forty-five yards up the right flank, Garce Aspe lined his free kick into the center of the box where a totally unmarked Borgetti rose and snapped a perfectly-placed header eight yards into the top right corner. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, with no time to react, could only watch.

We got caught pushing our (defensive) line up while they were trying to take a free kick," Agoos said. "We ended up not marking a couple of people and Borgetti got a wide-open header and put the ball in the net. We were pushing out to try to deny them space on the free kick, and some of the guys didnít hear and they tried to mark up. So we got caught between pushing out and marking up and he served the ball in and Borgetti had a free header."

It was the first time the U.S. trailed in the final round of qualifying and snapped Kellerís five-game World Cup qualifying shutout streak, 466 straight minutes.

Keller went on to make three extraordinary saves in the game to keep the new-look Mexican squad off the scoreboard after that. One of those stops came when he dove low to his right to parry a point-blank drive by Victor Gutierrez in the 73rd minute on a dangerous opportunity for the Cruz Azul star.

"I donít think we played well in the first half," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "I was very disappointed in our performance. I thought in the second half we picked it up. When you play as poor as we did in the first half and canít keep the ball, you are forced to defend. We expected Mexico to come out in the early going and play strong, and we would have been happy to withstand some of that pressure early, but giving up the early goal hurt us."

The U.S. played the match without the steadying influence of midfielder Claudio Reyna, who missed the game after picking up his second yellow card of the final round in the 2-0 victory over Trinidad on June 20.

"I donít know what it was," Moore said. "It was just a lack of confidence on the ball. We just seemed to be giving it up every second or third pass. We never held it well enough to get forward. The second half we did a little bit better job of holding the ball. In the first half, the first 15 minutes we were a little bit taken back by the fact they had so much possession. We were playing too much defense to be able to create."

Eleven days into his reign as Mexicoís coach, Javier Aguirre has a 1-0 record and has Mexico, with its revamped roster, back in the thick of CONCACAF qualifying, a competition his side traditionally dominates.

"The win today was a relief," Aguirre said. "We got the three points and are able to keep our heads above water. We simply had to win. Because the stands were full it was a factor. In the emergency, this is the team I had to put on the field today. It is not the team you are going to see in September. It isnít what the team is going to be."

Mexico 1, United States 0

Lineups: Mexico - Oscar Perez, Jesus Arellano (Jose Hernandez 87), Claudio Suarez, Manuel Vidrio, Melvin Brown, Johan Rodriguez (Victor Gutierrez 66), Gerardo Torrado, Alberto Garcia Aspe (Octavio Valdez 74), Tomas Campos, Francisco Palencia, Jared Borgetti. United States - Kasey Keller, David Regis, Jeff Agoos, Carlos Llamosa, Steve Cherundolo, Chris Armas, Joe-Max Moore (Cobi Jones 46), Earnie Stewart, Tony Sanneh, Ante Razov (Chris Klein 82), Jovan Kirovski (Brian McBride 61).

Scoring:
Mexico - Borgetti (Garcia Aspe) 16.

Shots: Mexico 14, United States 4. Saves: Mexico 1, United States 3. Corner kicks: Mexico 4, United States 6. Fouls: Mexico 9, United States 15. Offside: Mexico 3, United States 1. Yellow card cautions: Mexico - Torrado 81, Valdez 92+; United States - Sanneh 52, Regis 68, Cherundolo 76.

Referee: Kim Young Joo (South Korea). Assistant referees: Kim Hwa Soo (South Korea), Kim Dae Young (South Korea). Attendance: 100,000 at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Weather: 74 degrees, overcast, hazy.

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