USMNT's Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie write new 'Dos a Cero' chapter in win over Mexico

CINCINNATI -- The senade fell from the Bailey stand at TQL Stadium. These words were both familiar and uplifting.
"Dos a cero! Dos a cero!"

It was a new venue and the mantra was directed towards a new generation of players. However, the scoreline gave the U.S. team the same satisfaction. The U.S. beat Mexico 2-0 with goals by Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic to earn three crucial points on their way to the 2022 World Cup.

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This marked the sixth consecutive time that the U.S. beat El Tri in a competitive fixture since the turn of century. The majority of these were at Columbus' Crew Stadium in Ohio, but TQL Stadium was a more comfortable venue, with a large crowd that helped the U.S. take advantage of every inch of their homefield advantage. This result was also a rare three-game win streak against Mexico. It was the first such streak in a calendar year.

Pulisic stated that "they understand what we are about and they understand what we are about." Pulisic said, "That's the essence of great rivalry. I'm just so happy that we came out on top tonight." It was always going be a great game against Mexico and getting three points helps us get closer to the World Cup.

Friday's result was the latest in a all-too familiar scoreline that divides the U.S. from Mexico. Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

This win was not about the past, but the present. The win maintained the U.S.'s World Cup qualification on a night that saw some tightening of the Octagonal standings. With 14 points, the U.S. now leads Mexico in goal differential. The U.S. is now one point ahead Canada, which won 1-0 against Costa Rica. Panama was three points ahead of the U.S. and came back from 2-0 down in order to win 3-2 against Honduras. With Tuesday's Jamaican encounter, the U.S. now has additional breathing space.

CONCACAF table GP PTS GD 1 - USA 7 14 +7 2 - Mexico 7 14 +5 3 - Canada 7 13 +7 4 - Panama 7 11 +1 5 - Costa Rica 7 6 -2 6 - Jamaica 7 6 -4 7 - El Salvador 7 6 -5 8 - Honduras 7 3 -9 1-3 qualifies; 4 into playoff

This young team of players made a significant step forward. This was not the same situation as the Nations League final in June and the Gold Cup final August, where the U.S. relied heavily upon its goalkeeping and defending. The U.S. played aggressively with its press, and was equally as dominant in possession. Nearly all of the players performed well. Mexico's attack was stopped by the backline of Miles Robinson and Walker Zimmerman. The midfield took control of the game, with Yunus Musah (18 years old) being highly efficient in setting up his attacking teammates. Timothy Weah had a great night, where he caused havoc on Mexico's left side.

Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico's goalkeeper, suggested that the U.S. should look in the mirror and aspire to be like Mexico. This was the one encounter where the U.S. proved its worth.

Although patience was required by the U.S., it also had to survive some scares during the first half, when some giveaways in midfield provided opportunities for El Tri. Zack Steffen, the goalkeeper, was excellent, particularly in denial of Hirving Lozano at the 18th minute.

Berhalter's strategy was to bring Mexico down. In the second half, however, the pressure started to show, with more chances emerging. Weah was particularly dangerous, putting in a number of crosses that the U.S. couldn’t convert. Memo Ochoa's saving from a McKennie drive at the 49th minute gave the impression that this might have been one of those nights for the U.S.

Berhalter stated that the second half was when we began to pull away, especially in the first 20 minutes. "That's our effect on the opponents. It becomes very challenging when we can press them and can be aggressive with the ball and around the ball.

In the 74th minute, the U.S. made its breakthrough. Weah was the one who executed the move. He evaded the eyes of Jesus Gallardo and put in a cross which was nodded in by Pulisic who had only five minutes before entered the match.

It was unknown how much Pulisic would play in the match. Since September, when he injured his ankle in a match against Honduras, he had only played 21 minutes for Chelsea club side. His presence gave the U.S. a boost almost immediately. Pulisic wore a shirt with the message "Man In The Mirror" and sent it to Mexico.

Christian Pulisic's "Man in the Mirror" shirt stunt will be remembered as another memorable chapter in the rivalry. John Dorton/ISI Photos/Getty images

It was Weah's goal, and Lille's performance during World Cup qualifying has been crucial to the U.S. retaining its qualification hopes. After the Panama defeat, Weah met with Berhalter to regain his focus. This was evident when he scored the winning goal against Costa Rica last month. His dedication to defense has helped him secure one of his winger positions.

He said, "In terms of confidence, I'm playing for my club team, so it's amazing when I come to play." "To be with the guys, it's just super enjoyable and we executed tonight and this was the most important thing."

Weah also said that DeAndre Yedlin and he created the "Man In The Mirror” t-shirt.

Weah stated, "Before this game, Mexico was talking lots of smack and beating them just shuts down." We must win more games and beat them. That's how we earn their respect and the respect of the rest of the world. However, I believe we are on a great track right now. The future looks bright.

Only downers were Robinson's expulsion at 85 minutes for two yellow cards and McKennie's yellow card that McKennie picked up. Both will be suspended for the Jamaica math. Robinson's performance was excellent, but McKennie's departure will be even more devastating. Even though McKennie was suspended for two games in September due to violating COVID-19 protocols, he remains the emotional heart of the U.S. team. He, Pulisic and McKennie are rising to the status of nemesis as it pertains to Mexico.

These hiccups may be what are needed to avoid a defeat against Jamaica, which is desperate after losing a late equalizer in El Salvador on Friday.

It is an amazing feat to win three consecutive matches [against Mexico]. Pulisic said that we shouldn't be satisfied and believe we are the best. Now, it's all about Jamaica. It's all about keeping going and showing the world what this team can do.

This team is growing in confidence, which matches its talent. Even the post-game celebrations had a new atmosphere. The stadium's PA system played Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" as the "Dos a cero” cheers faded. A new generation is emerging.