The United States didn't put in a great performance this afternoon against Mexico, but thanks to a stunning stoppage time goal by substitute striker Lauren Cheney, they have avoided what would have been a slightly embarrassing 0-0 draw, defeating Mexico by a score of 1-0.
Cheney entered the game for Amy Rodriguez, who had a poor game, in the second half. Upon the entry of Alex Morgan into the game in the 75th minute, Cheney dropped to a withdrawn striker/attacking midfield position behind Morgan and Wambach, a role in which she was effective for the rest of the match. In the first minute of stoppage time, with the score tied up at 0-0, Cheney dribbled past her marker into space and took a shot from 25 yards out, putting an absolute laser into the back of the net.
It was a relief for Pia Sundhage, her team, and the fans to see the ball hit the back of the net, but Cheney's excellent goal should not overshadow the performance by the team as a whole, which was poor and not up to World Cup standards. Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, and Amy Rodriguez were nowhere near their best, while the team struggled to involve Heather O'Reilly and Abby Wambach in the game as much as they should.
Despite the fact that she gave up the goal at the end, the woman of the match was almost certainly 16-year-old Mexican goalkeeper Ceci Santiago, who showed fantastic command of her area throughout the match. Cheney's shot wouldn't have been stopped by any goalkeeper in the world, and Santiago was not the least bit at fault for the goal.
The two teams will now get ready to travel to Germany, where they are both playing in the 2011 Women's World Cup. Mexico opens World Cup play in Wolfsburg against England on June 27, while the United States kicks off their World Cup campaign against North Korea in Dresden on June 28.