RICH FIDLER - Monday, July 27, 2009
The United States were defeated in the Gold Cup Final in embarrassing fashion on Sunday afternoon by Mexico at Giants Stadium, the worst home loss since a similar 5-0 drubbing at the hands of England in the mid-1980's.
Head coach Bob Bradley stayed consistent, starting the same eleven that defeated Honduras on Thursday evening in Chicago. Although the head coach had a larger roster as his disposal, he stayed with the same group that got the US to the finals.
Start's Clarence Goodson, Heath Pearce and and MLS-duo of Chad Marshall and Jay Heaps started in the back in front of Troy Perkins, who despite giving up five goals made a handful of terrific saves in defeat.
The first half was a mixed bag for both teams, neither appeared to come close although American midfielder Stuart Holden nearly put the US ahead midway through the half but his shot sailed just wide of Guillermo Ochoa's goal.
The second half was a different story as the Mexican's put together a stunning display, starting in the 56th minute when Jay Heaps collided with Giovani Dos Santos in the penalty area.
Jamaican official Courtney Campbell immediately pointed to the spot and Gerardo Torrado, the Mexican captain and midfield ace, stepped to the spot and drilled it past Perkins for the 1-0 lead.
Just five minutes later the Mexicans scored again, this time it was second half substitute Carlos Vela breaking through the off-side trap, after a flurry of action the ball fell to dos Santos who smacked the ball in to an empty net.
Bradley, sensing a severe change in momentum, immediately made a double-replacement as Kenny Cooper replaced Davy Arnaud and Santino Quaranta would come on for Logan Pause.
Unfortunately the flurry of goals would continue but this time the roles were reversed, as dos Santos would find a streaking Vela who had Heaps trailing well behind the play. Vela chipped the ball over an on-rushing Perkins to give the Mexicans a three goal lead.
Two final goals, one in the 79th minute from Jose Antonio Castro, and then a fifth from Guillermo Franco after Heaps was sent off for his second yellow card by Campbell, reducing the shell-shocked Americans to 10 players.
Prior to Sunday, the American's had held a stunning advantage over their southern neighbors on US soil. Their last loss was a 2-0 defeat in March of 1999, an eleven game unbeaten streak that was snapped in front of 79,156 on Sunday.
The teams will meet again in a little over two weeks for their World Cup Qualification clash. The United State's will bring a heavily European influenced roster to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City looking for the first win at the famed stadium.