Road to 2014: The Brazil Board 9.0 

March, 27, 2013

MEXICO CITY -- Sometimes, one game can tell you a ton. Take Matt Besler's composed performance in the Yanks' unlikely scoreless tie in the Mexican capital Tuesday night. Besler had made just one previous appearance for the U.S. before taking the field at Azteca Stadium, and before the match, plenty of people were wondering if the Sporting Kansas City center back was up to the challenge of stopping El Tri's talented attackers -- a group led by all-world Manchester United forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

Ninety minutes later, it's hard not to look into the crystal ball and see Besler alongside the equally impressive Omar Gonzalez in the Americans' opener at the 2014 World Cup.

Besler got his chance against El Tri because Clarence Goodson was injured. But Goodson upped his own stock considerably with a standout performance in last week's pivotal home win against Costa Rica. Suddenly, the 2010 vet is right back in the mix for the planet's biggest sporting event next summer.

But that's not to suggest that all is well on the U.S. back line.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.