Mexico defeats the U.S., 4-2, in Gold Cup final
Although the U.S. prevented Mexico's Javier Hernandez from scoring a goal in the Gold Cup final on Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, slowing down El Tri became a problem.
Pablo Barrera scored a goal in each half to lead Mexico to a 4-2 victory in the CONCACAF's regional tournament championship game. Hernandez had scored seven times in Gold Cup play in leading Mexico to the final.
The Americans grabbed a 2-0 lead midway through the first half on goals by Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan, but Mexico, which dominated play for most of the match, quickly rallied on goals by Barrera and Andres Guardado to even the score by halftime.
Pablo Barrera has struck again for Mexico, which has taken a 3-2 lead on a tough, angling 10-footer past the outreached arms of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 50th minute.
El Tri had three players in the attacking third with Andres Guardado controlling the ball in the middle of the field at the top of the box. He made a quick pass right to Barrera, and Barrera finished a tough strike from the right side to give his team the lead.
U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey missed a shot off the cross bar in the 58th minute that could have tied the score.
If Mexico holds on, it will be their second consecutive Gold Cup victory.
Mexico just barely missed taking a lead into halftime of the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Subsequently, CONCACAF rivals entere the locker room with a 2-2 tie.
It’s a high-scoring affair in Pasadena. Two of the U.S. team’s biggest stars combined to give the Americans a 2-0 lead in the 23rd minute of the Gold Cup, but El Tri countered with two goals minutes later.
The Americans struck again for a 2-0 lead when Clint Dempsey slipped an outstanding pass to Landon Donovan, who had nobody within five feet of him in the box. Then Donovan -– who had not started in two consecutive matches -– beat Alfredo Talavera with a laser shot to the right side of the goal.
But just as American fans got comfortable, Javier Hernandez sent a through ball from the midfield to Pablo Barrera, who was streaking down the right side of the field. He was a step ahead of the defender when the ball arrived, and he lined up a shot for a goal to make it 2-1. A scuff between goalkeeper Tim Howard and Barrera ensued as each grabbed for the ball in the net.
Ten minutes later, Giovani Dos Santos had a shot on goal denied by Howard, but a defender failed to clear the rebound, and Andres Guardado tapped it in to knot the score, 2-2.
You couldn’t tell by crowd noise, but the U.S. took a 1-0 lead in the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl in the eighth minute off a header from Michael Bradley.
In a simple set play, Freddy Adu sent a corner kick into the box that found Bradley without a defender on him. A quick snap of his head sent the ball off goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera’s right arm and into the net.
And there was hardly any reaction from the more than 90,000 pro-Mexico fans.
Though the U.S. has the lead, Mexico has been the aggressor. El Tri has created far more chances than the Americans, but has yet to convert. Giovani Dos Santos sent one just wide right at the 5:51 mark and Javier Hernandez slipped behind the defense and sent one off the post from point-blank range in the 15th minute.
The U.S. lost a starter when Steve Cherundolo exited the game with a left sprained ankle in the 12th minute. Jonathan Bornstein came on in relief.
Amid international turmoil, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer said Saturday that he “will not be a candidate” for the region's president in 2013.
Blazer has been labeled as the “whistleblower” after he accused FIFA Vvice president Jack Warner and executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam of bribery connected to the recent FIFA presidential elections. FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter then ran unopposed after Bin Hammam was suspended.
Blazer largely stonewalled reporters when asked about the scandal, though he admitted that he had been “fighting for his political life” when the Gold Cup began.
He preferred to answer questions about the tournament, saying that the Gold Cup tournament drew 600,000 attendees, 20% more than any previous effort. He noted that nine games sold out, and added that administraors will consider holding the tournament final on Saturdays in coming years. The final has traditionally been held on Sundays, but the women’s World Cup, which begins tomorrow in Germany, forced the change.
“I think our competition has gotten better,” Blazer said.
With less than an hour before kickoff in the Gold Cup final, Mexico fans have turned the Rose Bowl green.
As expected, the American venue is at least 80% for El Tri. And if there was any doubt about the home team, the doubts were squelched when boos rained down on the Americans as they ran onto the field.
Mexico fans will see Andres Guardano start despite a lingering ankle injury as well as Carlos Salcido, who was ill and suffering from fatigue in the semifinal against Honduras.
Landon Donovan got the nod from U.S. Coach Bob Bradley one game after coming off the bench to help set up the winning goal against Panama. In addition, Freddy Adu will make his first U.S. national team start since 2009.
The full starting lineups are:
USA: Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Michael Bradley, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Eric Lichaj, Freddy Adu, Clarence Goodson, Ajejandro Bedoya.
Mexico: Carlos Salcido, Rafael Marquez, Gerardo Torrado, Pablo Barrera, Israel Castro, Giovani Dos Santos, Alfredo Talavera, Javier Hernandez, Hector Moreno, Efrain Juarez, Andres Guardado.
Photo: Pablo Barrera (7) celebrates his goal early in the second half against the U.S. with teammate Giovani Dos Santos on Saturday night in the Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters