Harry Keough (left), pictured with England’s Wilf Mannion, and his U.S. teammate Walter Bahr, scored an own goal agaisnt Mexico during 1958 World Cup qualifying. (Michael Lewis/FrontRowSoccer.com photo)
With the United States and Mexico preparing for their World Cup qualifying encounter in Mexico City June 11, FrontRowSoccer.com is looking back at some of the most memorable matches between these two archrivals. Today, we look back at a couple of games in 1947.
The first 10 times the United States met Mexico in international soccer, it was mostly on Mexican soil, the lone exception being in Rome as an 11th-hour qualifier for the 1934 World Cup.
During that juncture, the Americans recorded a rather horrendous 1-9 mark, scoring 13 goals and surrendering an astounding 53.
Finally, in 1957, the Americans received an opportunity to host one of these confrontations, a World Cup qualifier (for Sweden 1958) that did not end on an optimistic not, to put it nicely.
In the first game of the 1958 qualifying series at Olympic Stadium in Mexico City April 7, 1957, El Tri rolled to a relatively easy 6-0 romp in front of 60,000 spectators. Salvador Reyes, who was a thorn in the USA’s qualifying side, registered a hat-trick. Fello Hernandez added two goals and Mellone Gutierrez added one.
“American officials were certain with some practice and a few changes in the lineup the outcome would be much better” than what transpired three weeks prior, according to Roger Allaway and Colin Jose in their book, “The United States Tackles The World Cup.”
It depends on what you meant by better. The Americans actually scored twice, but gave up one more goal at home — the crowd was decidedly pro-Mexican — than they did south of the Rio Grande.
At Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, Calif. on April 28, the USA suffered a 7-2 defeat before 12,000 fans.
Shortly after Ed Murphy lifted the USA to a 1-0 lead with the first of his two first-half goals in the 18th minute (off a pass by Al Zerhusen), the visitors showed no mercy. U.S. captain Harry Keough, who played in that historic 1950 World Cup upset of England, scored an own goal two minutes later. Alfredo Hernandez added a brace (31st and 83rd minutes) as did Hector Hernandez and Crescencio Gutierrez (35th) and Enrique Sesma (79th) added goal one apiece.
The Americans wound up being eliminated for the second consecutive time, thanks to the Mexicans. They suffered 4-0 and 3-1 losses at Estadio de los Deportes in Mexico City in qualifying for the 1954 competition.