It looked like a game of two halves was more likely to tilt the USA’s way at the end but credit to Juan Carlos Osorio for constantly keeping his counterpart off-balance with his adjustments.
His rotations and general wonkiness can make Osorio ripe for satire, but his adjustment to negate the US 3-5-2 dictated the key period of the first half, and the introduction of Lozano then switch of flanks relieved any build-up of pressure as the US searched for a winner, while having to be mindful of Mexico’s threat.
Not mindful enough. Rafa Marqez made his international debut before Christian Pulisic was born, and on the day age and guile beat youthful exuberance, as Marquez won the game.
So the Hex starts with wins for Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama, all on the road.
Now the USA in particular will face a stern test as they go on the road to face Costa Rica, who usually beat them at home in qualifying, this Tuesday.
No time to wallow for Klinsmann-his team could be in real qualifying trouble by the time they head into the winter break, unless he can do what Mexico just did, and change the record.