Since 2000, Mexico has lost an astonishing eight times to the United States by a score of 2-0. Three of those matches have been in friendlies and one was at the 2002 World Cup. The other four times have all been World Cup qualifiers and all have been played in Columbus, Ohio.
Since 2000, Mexico has played four World Cup Qualifiers in the United States and has accumulated zero goals in 360 minutes of soccer. Rafael Marquez has more red cards in Columbus than the team has goals. Not all defeats hurt the same, though, so we look back and rank the Mexico defeats in the Midwest from bad to the worst.
A bump in the road
4. Sept. 3rd, 2005:
The game that will mostly be remembered for Oguchi Onyewu and Jared Borgetti getting face to face for a staredown early in the match (which possibly turned out to be Onyewu greatest contribution to the U.S. Men's National Team). The defeat that hurts the least of all these matches, by the time these two faced in the fall of 2005, Mexico had yet to lose in qualifying. The winner of the match would actually be the first one to book their ticket to Germany 2006, but both teams were so far ahead of the rest of the pack that regardless of the result the impact wouldn’t be that damaging.
In what would be a pattern of matches to come, Mexico was the better of the two teams when it came to the eye test. They had more possession and looked stronger in the attack but lacked the ability to create real clear cut chances.
In the 54th minute, it was the United States who would strike first from a set piece that would Onyewu who would force a save from Oswaldo Sanchez, who would get the ball to bounce off the post and in front of Steve Ralston for the easy tap in (This is where you google who Steve Ralston is).
The second, with Mexico pushing for the equalizer, would be a beautiful strike from DaMarcus Beasley, who would make a great run into the box and find the back post for a smooth put back to give the United States their second 2-0 victory.
Mexico would qualify to Germany 2006 a few days later and the teams would finish The Hex as joint leaders at 22 points.
Marquez strikes in the wrong way
3. Feb. 11th, 2009
It was a cold winter night in the Midwest when Mexico arrived to face the United States to kickoff "The Hex" for the 2010 World Cup. There was rain, there was hail, and there was a harsh wind chill that both teams had to deal with.
Like the games in Columbus before, it was Mexico who came out the more aggressive of the two teams and it was young Giovani Dos Santos who had the best chance early in the game when a close-ranged shot was taken right into the body of Tim Howard.
And it what would become a pattern in these Dos a Cero Colombus games, would be the United States' ability to take advantage of set pieces. In the 43rd minute, Landon Donovan would get his head on a corner and play the ball back into the mix. Onyewu would get his head on it and force a save from Sanchez, who could only get his hand on it and put the ball right in front of Michael Bradley to smash home the goal right before the half.
As Mexico pushed forward with lackluster ideas and half chances, things would get worse for them when in the 65th minute Rafael Marquez would receive a red card for nailing Tim Howard in the head with his studs. Which only added to Marquez’s legacy of being the Mexican player that the United States fans love to hate.
In the 92nd minute, Bradley would hit a shot from outside the box that would go under Sanchez to top off the night and make it 2-0 for a third time.
The sting of this game was the fact that 2-0 was now officially a thing between the United States and Mexico when playing in Columbus. Also adding to the pain was that it followed the script of an unlikely United States player scoring, and Mexico just unable to defend set pieces. The fact that it was the first game of qualifying and Mexico had plenty of time to recover allowed this match to not sting as much.
The United States push El Tri to the brink of disaster
2. Sept. 10th, 2013
The last time Mexico went up to Columbus the team was in shambles. Their qualification for the 2014 World Cup was going terribly and was on the brink of missing out on the Summer Showcase.
Just a few days before this match Mexico lost to Honduras at El Estadio Azteca, only the second time they’ve ever been defeated in an official match at the historic stadium. They also fired coach Chepo De La Torre and Fernando Tena was in charge to try and do something three other coaches had failed at, getting a result in the Midwest city.
After a scoreless first half that saw a desperate Mexico try and get something going, it would be another set piece that would be the start of their undoing. When a corner was played into the box, goalkeeper Jesus Corona would come off his line and completely miss the ball, which would allow Eddie Johnson to smash home the header and give the United States the lead. Another set piece, another unlikely scorer, another hole Mexico had dug themselves in.
In the 78th minute, Mix Diskerud would play a streaking ball in front of the goal, and Clint Dempsey would be able to get the smallest of touches to throw off defender Hiram Mier, and waiting at the back post was Donovan to smash home the ball and give the United States another 2-0 lead.
Late in the game in an odd twist, Dempsey would miss a penalty to keep the game at 2-0.
The pain of this match hurt deeper than most because it showed how close Mexico was to completely missing out on the World Cup.
The first hurts the worst
1. February 28th, 2001
The first always stings the worst right? On a frigidly cold winter night, Mexico played their first game in Columbus that started this phenomenon. One of the lasting images of this match was Brian McBride having his eye swollen shut after a collision with… you guessed it, Rafa Marquez. This would lead to him being subbed out and in came Josh Wolff.
Wolff would make his presence known and become the first of the unlikely scorers of the Dos a Cero scorelines when he was able to get behind the Mexican defenders and slot home a shot right after the halftime break. While Wolff was a forward, the fact he only scored nine goals for the national team is what had him one of the unlikely scorers.
In what would be a recurring pattern, as Mexico pushed up to try and grab an equalizer, a counter attack late in the match would be how the United States got their second that night when Earnie Stewart was able to give the States their second goal of the night in the 87th minute. Thus, with that win on a cold and chilly night in the heart of the country, the United States found a fortress that Mexico has been unable to penetrate.
El Tri will have a new chance to change their history on November, 11th when they enter Columbus Ohio for the fifth time in World Cup qualifying, and in another chapter in this bitter battle.