Live Gold Cup final from Pasadena: U.S.-Mexico

Final: U.S. 2 Mexico 4

i-baf0a63a6fe560e4c99ff31001cb715a-howardpain.jpgPain ‘o plenty:Tim Howard reacts after Giovani dos Santos scores Mexico’s fourth and final goal Saturday in Pasadena (AP Photo).

If this game had been the equivalent of a first date for the U.S. they wouldn’t get a second: Great first impression, but no staying power and little penetration means no consummation.

The Mexicans were simply better: Technically and in terms of their speed and execution. At the very top levels of the game the U.S. just can’t compare. There’s a reason Chicharito plays for Manchester United and Clint Dempsey Fulham.

Any time you score four goals in succession and the opponent is unable to reply that just underlines the class you possess.

More later.

Update

Sacha Kljestan has come on for Freddy Adu in the 86th minute, but this one looks all but over anyway.

***********************

Dos Santos just scored the best of the six goals in this game wriggling loose from the U.S. defense (again) in the 77th minute and sending a perfectly weighted, curling left-footed shot over the head of Eric Lichaj and into the top corner. A thing of beauty, but once again the U.S. gave the Mexicans far too much time and space in their own box.

*********************

Juan Agudelo has come in for Alejandro Bedoya up front as Bob Bradley searches for the equalizer with 25 minutes left.

*****************************

A Clint Dempsey snapshot from 18 yards out hits the bar in the 60th minute letting the capacity crowd of 93,420 know there’s life in the U.S. yet.

************************************************
Mexico is really pushing for a fourth, Dos Santos in particular giving the U.S. fits down the right flank.

The Mexican fans are in full voice now after scoring three goals without reply.

***************************

Barrera has a second for Mexico in the 50th minute, which shows patience in the penalty box to finally get the ball out wide. Barrera has plenty of time and space to put a shot past Howard at the far post.

Halftime

Dos Santos is finding plenty of room down the left and the U.S. defenders can’t keep pace with him.

Pros and cons for both teams in the opening half. Bob Bradley will have to find a way to shore up his defense, which can’t keep up with the much faster Mexicans. Bradley’s problem: the U.S. just doesn’t have EPL quality defenders.

On the plus side, the U.S. is breaching the Mexican defense with regularity, Freddy Adu in particular having the best 45 minutes of his international career so far.

Mexico had nine shots and the U.S. five in the first half. Mexico’s goalkeeper was not forced into making a save, however.

*************************

Rafa Marquez has a hamstring issue; Hector Renoso came in at the 43rd minute mark.

Michael Bradley having a terrible game — he was just dispossessed inside his own half. Mexico is finding it far too easy to penetrate a back-pedaling U.S. midfield.

******************

Guardardo picks up a deflection and somehow manages to get the ball past a sprawling Tim Howard in the 36th minute. The goal was fine – no offside as some U.S. players were pleading for. What a game.

*********************

Landon Donovan picked up a yellow in the 33rd minute.

*************

Mexico has pulled one back in the 29th minute, Barrera getting on the end of a long ball that sliced open the U.S. defense, outrunning two U.S. defenders to score past Howard. Where was Bornstein on that one?

Incidentally, Jorge Nilo came in for Carlos Salcido right before the goall was scored by Mexico.

*********************

A dream start for the U.S. Landon Donovan putting the Americans two up from eight yards out in the 23rd minute off a pass from Clint Dempsey. It was Freddy Adu that unlocked the Mexican defense though; he’s tormenting the Mexicans down the right wing.

Pretty move.

Cherundolo suffered a sprained left ankle. Bornstein is at left back now, while Lichaj moves to the right back spot.

******************

Chicharito hit the post in the 15th minute. He was offside anyway.

*************

Former Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein has come in for Steve Cherundo after just 11 minutes. Cherundolo didn’t look happy about it as he came off.

**************

Michael Bradley scored via a near-post header in the eighth minute from a Freddy Adu corner. Lovely little glancing header.

The crowd is quieter now.
Just a minute before Dos Santos just wriggled his way past the last two U.S. defenders, sending a shot wider of Tim Howard’s left post.

********

The game is under way in Pasadena. The chants of “ole” have already started as the Mexicans pass the ball around on the perfect field.

***********

i-35f61efbe849da5593bb86498af54c2d-goldcuprosebowl.jpgTempting fate? Dallan Larsen, right, and Casey Stagner wear U.S. flag costumes as they walk past Mexican soccer fans before the Gold Cup final outside the Rose Bowl (AP Photo).

Updated

The Galaxy have drawn 0-0 with the San Jose Earthquakes this afternoon in the Bay Area to stretch their unbeaten streak to 10 games.

Mike Magee – yup, that Mike Magee – got the shutout after starting goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was injured and sub Josh Saunders got himself red-carded.

**************************

It’s hot here in Pasadena, one of those soccer games where an air-conditioned press box and free water makes for a welcome respite.

A huge round of boos from the predominantly pro-Mexico crowd as the U.S. came out to warm up a few minutes ago, followed by a huge roar as the Mexicans emerged from the tunnel a few moments later.

With 40 minutes or so until kickoff the sun-drenched crowd is really filling in.

U.S. Coach Bob Bradley has made two changes to the starting XI that faced Panama in the semifinal: Landon Donovan reclaims his starting spot from Sacha Kljestan and Freddy Adu makes his first international start in two years in place of Juan Agudelo.

The U.S. XI: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 21-Clarence Goodson, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 14-Eric Lichaj; 4-Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 22-Alejandro Bedoya, 10-Landon Donovan, 8-Clint Dempsey, 20-Freddy Adu

Notable: Just one U.S. player was in the starting lineup in the 2009 final that saw an under-strength American side thumped by Mexico – Goodson.

The Mexico lineup is pretty much as expected with the ELP starting strike partnership of Tottenham’s dos Santos and Manchester United’s Chicharito up front and the rest of the starters unchanged from the team that beat Honduras in the semifinal.

Mexico: Alfredo Talavera; Efrain Jurez, Hector Moreno, Rafa Mrquez, Carlos Salcido; Pablo Barrera, Israel Castro, Gerardo Torrado, Andres Guardado; Giovani Dos Santos, Javier Hernndez.

The games starts at 6:10 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel and Univision.

Refresh this post for updates throughout the game.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • klf

    Chicharito is amazing – knows how NOT to touch a ball. Pure ballet, that last one.

  • Evan Z

    Its half-time and much better match than I imagined. Good to see both teams giving 1000% out there.

    M. Bradley sucks! He has lost almost every ball out there in the midfield. If he was not the coaches son, he would not be on the pitch.

    Mexico forwards on the side look lightning fast while our defenders look like they are running in sand.

    Chepo will be handicapped because he has only 1 change left. DeNigris will come in in the 2nd half. He is having a great tournament and scores well.

    Looking forward to a great 2nd half of futbol. Go USA!!!

  • klf

    Poor Tim Howard was moved to tears by that fourth one – must have felt like he was caught in a slow-motion universe while Santos danced around him…

  • Evan Z

    Bradley must be fired TONIGHT. OUT-COACHED again, as usual. Zero offense. Back line like Swiss cheese. Disgusting.

    Donovan, Dempsey, Howard, etc. will all be gone shortly, and the cupboard is bare. That is Bradley and Gulati’s fault.

  • Evan Z

    Oh, and props to Mexico. They played a great match and were HUNGRY to win. Most importantly, the coach put the players in a position to win.

    And Chicharito is something very special to watch. Good luck to him.

  • PasadenaDon

    Better team won tonight.

    But you have to question Jonathan Bornstein being the choice substitute for an injured Cherundolo. He has always been terrible. Although people say he had a good world cup, I don’t think he was up against tough competition there. When I saw Bornstein come in the game, I knew the game might be over.

  • Evan Z

    One more thought. This USA team is light years behind the teams of the past, even the 2010 World Cup team was better. In the past, a 2-0 USA lead usually meant the USA Defense took over, suffocated the opponent, and sealed the victory. Today the 2-0 USA lead did not mean anything. 4 unanswered goals is disgusting.

  • http://www.prestonm.com/brewcity/ohio.php kingsnake

    Evan Z: Not the first team this year, either …