We continue our countdown of the 15 most memorable moments in Crew Stadium history based on voting from the Massive staff. Join the discussion on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #MRStadium.
If you ask a United States Men’s National Team fan the first thing that pops into their head when they think of the Mexican Men’s National Team, they more than likely will smile and simply say “Dos a Cero.” In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a USMNT supporter who answers anything but the latter. There is no denying the impact that scoreline and phrase has had on the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico and once again, historic Crew Stadium was at the heart of it all.
Dos a Cero is a reference to the 2-0 scoreline that the USMNT made famous in the past 20 years. In fact, the Americans have beaten Mexico by this famed scoreline in four of the last five FIFA World Cup qualifiers, in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013. USMNT supporters wasted no time in turning this slew of victories into a rallying cry for their team. In addition to the recurring scoreline, the venue was also a consistent feature of this rivalry during this stretch as all four of these victories took place in historic Crew Stadium.
The 2009 Dos a Cero took place on Feb. 11, 2009 in a wet and cold Columbus, Ohio. In addition to the obvious advantages the weather presented in this match, the U.S. was unbeaten in nine of the team’s previous 10 matches in all competitions including, victories in seven of eight World Cup qualifiers leading up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Despite the recent successes, there were significant question marks around this match. It marked the beginning of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. Nicknamed “The Hexagonal” or “the Hex” (there are 6 nations represented in this round), this qualifying round is one of the most challenging and unique rounds in the world.
Due to the grueling nature and challenges of away matches in the Hex, there is a huge importance placed on winning home matches. In addition to the added pressure of a rivalry game, there were also concerns around the USMNT’s leadership heading into the final qualification phase. The head coach for the Yanks, Bob Bradley, was in the middle of just his second year at the helm. In addition to his inexperience coaching at the national team level, this was also the first time Bradley led the U.S into the Hex.
On top of all of these worries, there was a distinct restlessness for American supporters about the opponent in this match. In addition to the emotions and nerves going against bitter rival, Mexico brought a group of players to Columbus dripping with international experience.
Unfazed by the uncertainty and apprehension surrounding the game, the USMNT put on a fantastic performance and convincingly took care of their neighbors to the south. Michael Bradley, son of the coach, stole the show for the Americans, scoring both goals en route to a famous victory at historic Crew Stadium.
The first goal came just minutes before halftime as Bradley tapped home a rebound off a header from defender Oguchi Onewyu from close range. The two sides battled on before Bradley wrapped up the proceedings in the second minute of stoppage time. The U.S. heaped pressure on Mexico for the majority of the second half.
There was a notable increase in pressure after the Mexican captain Rafael Marquez was sent off in the 65th minute for a vicious kick to U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard during an aerial challenge. From that moment on, the USMNT was able to use the man advantage to pour on pressure until Bradley finally cracked the Mexican defense open with a wonderful finish from roughly 25 yards out.
The win put to bed the questions surrounding Bob Bradley and his squad heading into the Hex. The USMNT was able to cruise through the rest of World Cup qualifying before eventually finishing first in the Hex. In addition, this victory ensured that the U.S.’s home win streak against Mexico officially past the 10-year mark.
This win also ensured that “Dos a Cero” was still be a relevant term in U.S. Soccer lore. In fact, one could argue that this victory, being the third in a row, helped guarantee that “Dos a Cero” was here to stay and the rivalry between the USMNT and Mexico would never be the same.
The 2009 version of Dos a Cero is a moment that won’t be soon forgotten and took place in a stadium that won’t either. Historic Crew Stadium will live on forever in connection to this game, as well as countless other moments.
Read Massive Report’s previous Crew Stadium Moments