HOUSTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The United States and Mexico battled to a 0-0 tie Thursday night before an overwhelmingly pro-Mexico sellout crowd of 69,582 at Reliant Stadium.
The draw left the United States at 3-1-1 this year, although it has not lost to Mexico since 2001. The Americans are 5-1-1 in the last seven matches against the Mexicans under coach Bruce Arena.
While this was a friendly match, it had a serious tone. Mexico, still smarting from a loss in the World Cup round of 16 last year, stocked its roster with several top talents from the Mexican League.
Only Jared Borghetti and Pavel Pardo were unable to suit up due to lingering injuries received in a friendly against Brazil just over a week ago.
Coach Ricardo La Volpe had promised a more attacking style and with Monterrey's Jesus Arelleno playing at midfield instead of his usual forward role, that is what Mexico delivered.
In the 22nd minute, Arelleno swung the ball and the entire American defense drifted to the right right only to have Arelleno go left past a helpless Pablo Mastroeni.
Two minutes later, Arelleno collected a smart flick from Duilio Davino and forced Tim Howard to make his first major save of the game with a rocket that ricocheted off the goalkeeper and into the stands.
Arelleno drove to the end line, dancing past a rooted Frankie Hejduk and cruised in unmarked to contest Howard again.
Early on, the game took on the same look as the one in which the United States defeated Mexico in the World Cup, 2-0. In that one, the Americans blunted attacks and used effective counters to make the Mexicans retreat.
They used the same tactics in this one and Mexico seemed not to have learned its lesson.
The United States got several fine chances as a result.
The best American moment came when Carlos Bocanegra swung the ball across the field to a waiting Clint Mathis in the 41st minute. Finding a seam on the left, Mathis booted the ball to a waiting Brian McBride, who hopped past Davino with the ball and charged right at Oswaldo Sanchez in the net.
The shot, however, ended up in the side netting.