WASHINGTON -- This was one time where a tie was just as good as a win.
Midfielder Cobi Jones scored in the 82nd minute last night as the U.S. national soccer team tied Mexico, 1-1, before 23,927 at RFK Stadium.
Forward Ernie Stewart fed Jones with a give-and-go pass, and Jones scored on a 15-foot shot through the legs of goalkeeper Jorge Campos.
The tie was redemption for the U.S. team which was embarrassed by Mexico, 4-0, on July 25, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship in Mexico City.
"I now hope the public will forgive us for the 4-0 loss," said Bora Milutinovic, the U.S. coach. "This is a very important game for us. It is great experience for the team. I'm happy not because of the result, but because of the way we played."
Mexico was not fully represented by that same CONCACAF Gold Cup team, but it was basically the same national team that has won its last five matches and is 6-2-1 in 1993.
"There is nothing new [from the U.S. team] that surprised me," said Miguel Mejia Baron, the Mexican coach, "but the U.S. is not relying on its strong point, balls in the air, and relying more on the ground balls. Obviously, though, I'm not happy with our scoring chances."
HTC That goal came at the 61st minute when midfielder Joaquin Del Olmo scored off a crossing pass from defender Jorge Rodriguez.
The United States had two great chances to score later, but Mexico defender Manuel Vidrio knocked away an empty-net shot by midfielder Mark Chung with 15:28 left, and midfielder Chad Deering, under pressure, failed to beat Campos one on nearly four minutes later.
But the U.S. team kept up the pressure, especially in the second half when the Americans outshot Mexico 4-3.
"We have a take-a-chance style, and we're going to stay with it," said Baron. "Hopefully, it will take us far in the World Cup."
The United States will be host to the 1994 Cup finals next summer.
Mexico, as it did in July, controlled the action in the first half with its pressure offense as the Mexicans outshot the United States, 5-4, and had six corner kicks to none for the Americans.
But U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel failed to wilt under the pressure, coming up with two superb saves in the half, and smothering one other Mexico scoring opportunity.
Mexico failed to score off two crossing passes inside the penalty area in the first 10 minutes. Friedel's first big save came with 28:30 left in the half as he smacked away a header by midfielder Daniel Guzman from 15 yards out.
Friedel then stopped a shot by forward Luis Roberto Alves nearly five minutes later, this time barely getting his outstretched hand on the ball. Maybe Friedel's best effort came with 8:51 left. Del Olmo gave Alves a neat little give and go pass outside the penalty area. Friedel came charging from the goal, stopping Alves' shot instantly.
In addition to Friedel, Mexico had offensive problems, drawing seven offside calls.
Mexico midfielder Benjamin Galindo banged a shot off the left pole with 28 minutes left in the half, and midfielder David Patino's header with 3:40 remaining sailed left of the goal.
The United States had its chances, but the Americans also failed to capitalize. Midfielder Joe-Max Moore's kick off a restart went to the right of the goal with 32 minutes remaining and Jones, in a two-on-one break, hit the top of the goal on a 10-yard shot nearly 23 minutes later.
One of the United State's best chances came with 33:50 left in the second half. Stewart took the ball from defender Ignaciao Ambriz, then beat midfielder Miguel Espana on a cross over dribble from the left of goal. Stewart centered, only to have his
point-blank shot stopped by Campos.
Mexico 0 1 -- 1
USA .. 0 1 -- 1