June 12 (UPI) — Michael Bradley put his footprint on Sunday’s U.S. men’s national soccer team game against Mexico with a long-range finish 5:25 into the contest.
The USMNT captain intercepted a pass by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez at midfield to start the play. He took a long touch through the center of the field, beating defenders. He blasted the ball with is right foot for his second touch from more than 40 yards out. The kick sailed over the head of the Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa.
The score was the sixth goal in the history of the USMNT at Edstadio Azteca. Willy Roy, Rick Davis, Eddie Lewis, Charlie Davies and Michael Orozco are the other USMNT scorers at the stadium, dating back to 1972.
“Surprised? No,” Bradley said, according to MLSSoccer.com. “We’ve played against [Ochoa] a number of times. You know that obviously he’s a very good goalkeeper. He’s good with his feet. He gives them a lot in terms of their ability to play outside of his area.
“As I was able to intercept the pass from Chicharito, I took the first touch and saw that he was a good ways out,” Bradley said. “And here, you know that if you catch a ball right, with the thin air the ball’s going to really fly. I wanted to make sure I caught it right. And I did.”
Bradley’s goal wasn’t enough to give the USMNT a victory. His team took a 1-1 draw in the World Cup qualifier, thanks to a Carlos Vela left-footed finish against Brad Guzan in the 23rd minute. His score came from 23 yards out.
“They had one or two chances. We had one or two chances,” Guzan told the Los Angeles Times. “For us to come down here and take a point, it’s not the worst result in the world.”
Bradley, 29, now has five career goals against Mexico. He has one goal and an assist in 17 games this season for club and country. Bradley netted four goals and had seven assists and 51 games last year.
The USMNT now has eight points in its past four World Cup qualifying games. Mexico has the most points, while Costa Rica is tied with the USMNT at eight points. There are four games left in the CONCACAF fixture. More than 81,000 fans attended Sunday’s rivalry matchup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held in June of 2018 in Russia.