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2018 World Cup Qualifying - CONCACAF, CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying - Hexagonal
  • Bobby Wood (49')
  • Miguel Layún (20')
  • Rafael Márquez (89')
  • Carlos Salcedo (90'+3')

Rafa Marquez and Mexico hand United States bitter defeat

Mexico players celebrate after Miguel Layun opened the scoring against the U.S. in a 2-1 win. Getty

Mexico beat the United States 2-1 following a thrilling match in Columbus, Ohio, as the two teams opened the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Miguel Layun opened the scoring for Mexico in the 20th minute after the U.S. turned the ball over in its own third. Layun's well-hit shot took a kind deflection and trickled past Tim Howard and into the goal.

Bobby Wood gave the Americans a dream start to the second half after Jozy Altidore played him in on goal with a threaded pass for the Hamburg man to slot home to even things up.

But a late headed goal from Rafa Marquez on a corner kick earned Mexico all three points and handed the U.S. its first loss on home soil in 15 years.

Mexico nearly had the perfect start to the match when Jesus "Tecatito" Corona sent a thunderous strike in on the U.S. goal, but it was tipped off the right post by Howard.

The U.S. struck quickly on the counterattack, but Altidore was pulled from behind by Diego Reyes, earning the Espanyol player a yellow card.

Minutes later, Wood played Fabian Johnson down the left flank, but his cross into the area was headed right into the arms of Alfredo Talavera by Altidore.

A Michael Bradley giveaway led to Mexico's opener, as Layun fired a shot that was deflected in past Howard.

Carlos Vela came close to doubling El Tri's lead in the 25th minute, but his headed effort from a Corona cross hit the crossbar and was cleared away to safety.

Howard was forced out of the game in the 40th minute after pulling up with an injury after taking a goal kick. The veteran keeper tried to tough it out but was replaced by Brad Guzan after making a save.

Mexico took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room, marking just the second time in 30 years the U.S. trailed at the break on home soil in a World Cup qualifier.

The U.S. had its equalizer early in the second half as Altidore made a nice spin move after receiving a pass at midfield, ran at the Mexico defense and played Wood in on goal to slot past Talavera.

Bradley had the opportunity to set Wood up minutes later for his second, but decided to shoot instead and Talavera gobbled up the tame effort from the U.S. captain.

The game completely opened up in the second half, with both teams seeing chances go begging, and Wood and Christian Pulisic the two main protagonists for the U.S.

Substitute Hirving Lozano nearly set up Javier Hernandez on a fine countermove in the 78th minute, but the Bayer Leverkusen striker was denied by Guzan from close range.

But it was Mexico legend Marquez who would have the final say, as his headed goal gave the visitors the perfect start to qualifying.

The U.S. will face Costa Rica on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in its second match of the Hex round.