By Martin Rogers / USA TODAY Sports
It was the end of a streak, the end of “dos a cero.” the end of Mexico’s Columbus curse and, possibly, the start of some World Cup nerves for the United States.
The Americans started poorly, rebounded strongly, but ultimately came unstuck defensively to lose 2-1 to its fiercest rival at MAPFRE Stadium on Friday night to commence their final phase of World Cup qualifying in the worst possible fashion.
An 89th-minute header from Mexican veteran Rafa Marquez sealed a tense and tetchy encounter that the U.S. looked to have salvaged a point from on a difficult, physical and chilly night.
Having beaten Mexico 2-0 at this venue and this same stage of qualifying for the past four World Cup cycles, the U.S. was entitled to feel good about its chances of kicking off the last and most crucial part of the road to Russia in style.
Instead, it was Mexico that came out firing …