Weston McKennie scored the second goal vs. Mexico in the 2-0 WCQ win last Nov. 12. (Keith Furman/FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

With the U.S. hosting El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus on Thursday night, FrontRowSoccer.com concludes its series of memorable matches in Ohio with the latest dos a cero result, a 2-0 win over Mexico in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 2021.

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

CINCINNATI – A familiar score that made many an American soccer fan happy flashed on the scoreboard at TQL Stadium on Friday night.

You might have seen it before:

Dos a cero.

In a dominating performance in the rain, the U.S. men’s national team recorded a 2-0 victory over Mexico before 26,000 spectators.

It was the fifth such final score in a WCQ in Ohio, duplicating four scores that were recorded further north in the state in Columbus before the Mexicans interrupted the streak with a 2-1 win in 2016.

Second-half substitute Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie scored for the Americans, who tied Mexico for the Octagonal lead with 4-1-2 records and 14 points apiece.

It was a deserved victory for the Americans, who dominated the final hour of the match, taking advantage down the right flank on numerous occasions.

“We talked before the game about what we’re going to need to be successful in this game and the starting point was intensity,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We wanted to break the rhythm with our pressing and eventually wear them down. The first half was it was an entertaining half. It went back and forth both teams were taking shots at each other. The second half is where we started to pull away.”

“It’s a huge to help us to get three points, in first place in the group, and to be in this position is unbelievable,” said midfielder Christian Pulisic, whose 74th-minute goal broke the deadlock.

It was unbelievable because the USA had beaten Mexico three times in a year for the first time. The Americans defeated El Tri in the Concacaf Nations League final, 3-2, and in the Concacaf Gold Cup final, 1-0.

Only five minutes after coming off the bench, Pulisic headed home a Tim Weah cross on his first touch of the match in the 74th minute.

Pulisic, who just saw some minimal playing time with Chelsea until last week due to an ankle injury he suffered during the September qualifying window, replaced Brenden Aaronson in the 69th minute. He had had but 21 minutes of action in the English Premier League and four training sessions.

“I think we’ve earned respect,” Pulisic said. “The last couple of times we played them, they understand what we’re about and we understand what they’re about. That’s what makes a great rivalry. I’m just really happy that we could that we could come out on top again tonight. We knew it was always going to be a good game against Mexico. To get three points just helps us get a lot closer to qualifying.”

McKennie gave the USA some breathing room in the 85th minute, as he converted a give-and-go with Jesus Ferreira from close range for his first WCQ goal.

The first half might not have had any goals, but it certainly did not lack for action and scoring opportunities.

The USA kept the pressure on Eli Tri for the opening 10 minutes, making life difficult for the visitors to take the ball out of their half of the field.

Weah had the first two scoring chances for the Americans. On a counterattack, Weah drilled a 25-yard shot wide right in the eighth minute before he headed Brenden Aaronson’s free kick over the crossbar in the 10th minute.

It didn’t take long for Mexico to make the USA sweat. In the 12th minute, Raul Jimenez rifled an attempt that goalkeeper Zack Steffen parried away with his right hand for a corner kick.

Aaronson placed the USMNT’s first shot on goal, a shot from the top of the box that Guillermo Ochoa easily saved in the 18th minute.

Some 30 seconds later, the Mexicans’ Hirving Lozano managed to get a step on right back DeAndre Yedlin and fired a shot that Steffen knocked away with his left hand in the 18th minute.

For the last 10 minutes of the half, the USA started to penetrate into the box, but could not get off a decent shot.

Antonee Robinson had a chance, as his header in the 41st minute sailed wide left.

The Americans picked where they left off in the first half and they almost cashed in on some nifty passing. Weah beat Jesus Gallardo to set McKennie at the top of the box. The Juventus midfielder sent a hard shot that Ochoa knocked away for a corner kick in the 49th minute.

The USA’s Miles Robinson evened up the yellow card count on the hour after elbowing Luis Rodriguez at midfield.

After Rodriguez mauled Aaronson with a tough take down at midfield, the Mexican was slapped with a yellow card while Steffen and McKennie also were assessed cautions for dissent and arguing, respectively.