On This Day: Matt Besler and USA shut down Mexico at Azteca in 2013

Alas, Matt Besler's coming-out party for the United States Men's National Team.

Seven years ago today, the Sporting Kansas City defender and Overland Park native earned just his second cap for the U.S. MNT, and it just so happened to come under mightily daunting circumstances.

Stepping into central defense alongside Omar Gonzalez, Besler played an instrumental role in shutting down the likes of Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez in a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw against archrivals Mexico at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The well-earned point was only the second World Cup qualifying draw for the U.S. in Mexico and lifted their record to 0-13-2 in World Cup qualifying matches in Mexico, 1-8-2 all-time at Estadio Azteca and 1-23-2 all-time on Mexican soil.

Besler, 27 at the time, received widespread acclaim for his performance, bottling up Mexico's attack while showing poise on the ball and precision in his distribution. He took full advantage of his second opportunity to rep the U.S. and ultimately claimed a regular starting job, one he would keep through the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and beyond.

"I loved it. I had a lot of fun out there," Besler said after the match near the Azteca locker rooms. "I didn't really think about it being only my second cap. I've played a (ton) of games before, and I knew how to handle it. I had great teammates around me. I trusted them and they trusted me and it all worked out.

The center back went on to start all four matches for the U.S. at the World Cup six years ago, also hoisting a pair of Concacaf Gold Cup titles in 2013 and 2017 while also competing at Copa America Centenario in 2016.

Besler has amassed 47 senior caps to date and scored his lone U.S. goal on Sept. 2, 2016 against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the same day his firstborn daughter, Parker, was born in Kansas City.

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