Pulisic put the U.S. in front minutes after coming off the bench with a glancing header and McKennie struck from close range shortly before full-time to give the Americans a third straight win over CONCACAF rivals Mexico.
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The U.S., who are now in first in the CONCACAF qualifying standings thanks to a superior goal difference, downed Mexico 3-2 in the Nations League final last June and beat El Tri 1-0 at the Gold Cup decider two months later in the teams’ previous two meetings.
An entertaining, end-to-end opening 20 minutes saw both keepers called into action, with Zack Steffen keeping out a low drive from Hirving Lozano and Guillermo Ochoa smothering a shot from distance by the Americans’ Tim Weah.
The frenetic pace did not slow as the first half wore on, but neither Mexico or the U.S. could find the back of the net as the teams went into the break locked in a 0-0 draw.
McKennie forced a save from Ochoa in a lively start to the second half for the home team, smashing the ball on frame after Weah picked him out at the top of the penalty area with a nice cutback pass.
McKennie, Steffen and Mexico’s Luis Rodriguez were all shown yellow cards after a dustup involving Brenden Aaronson. The caution for McKennie means he will miss the U.S. match against Jamaica on Tuesday due to yellow card accrual.
With the U.S. chasing a goal, Gregg Berhalter brought on Pulisic minutes later for Aaronson as the Chelsea player made his first appearance for the Americans since leaving a September match against Honduras with an ankle injury.
The move paid off brilliantly for the U.S. as Pulisic rose to meet a pinpoint cross from Weah just inside the six-yard box and headed past Ochoa to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Some nice interplay from the U.S. led to its second goal when the ball fell to McKennie inside the penalty area and he made no mistake with only Ochoa to beat to double the lead.
Miles Robinson was shown a second yellow of the match late on, leaving the U.S. to finish the match with 10 men and meaning the Atlanta United defender will also be unavailable against Jamaica.
The U.S. has 14 points from seven games at the halfway point of CONCACAF’s Octagonal World Cup qualifying process, level on points with Mexico but ahead on goal difference.