Did the Best Team Win? Rivalry between USA & Mexico Continues
July 7th, 2019 was a busy day for soccer. The USA won the FIFA Women’s World Cup but our men failed to find success on the pitch.Mexico’s Majestic Second Half Goal seals the Fate of the USMNT in the 2019 CONCACAF GOLD CUP FINAL – Mexico wins its record eighth title in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
U.S. MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter wanted to use the ball to unbalance opponents. Unfortunately, that is not what happened in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup – Final in the soldout Chicago’s Soldier Field in front of 62,493 fans.
U.S.-Mexico rivalry has existed for ages and is beloved by the fans on both sides. Usually, it is the seasoned veterans whose names are in the headlines after making an impact — but not in the USA vs Mexico Gold Cup final.
It was a long game of back and forth action until the 29-year old LA Galaxy midfielder, Jonathan dos Santos, scored in the 73rd-minute with a brilliant and super-fast move. It was the game-winning goal.
Even if the USA lost the 2019 Gold Cup, the final proves the quality of soccer in America has risen dramatically … after all, it was an MLS player who scored the decisive game-winner.
Mexico was technically superior and maintained a high possession of the ball, carefully waiting for a chance to successfully pounce and score — and they accomplished that with poise and exuberance.
Berhalter sent out the same starting XI that guided the USA through the semifinal while handing the captain’s armband to Weston McKennie for the first time in his career.
This is clear proof that the USA is giving important chances to our young and upcoming star professionals.
Now the USA team has been captained by an even 10 number of players already in 2019. And, in fact, the U.S. starting XI had an average age of 25 years, 175 days and 41 caps.
While Berhalter wanted to maintain possession and disorganize the opponent, these goals were not easy to achieve. While Berhalter and his team had been watching the Mexican squad for months and following them from their first game in the Gold Cup to the final, all the preparation did not help the USA capture the trophy in this elusive and elevated competition.
The half-time whistle blew with a 0-0 score.
The USA had several chances to score with Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic working well together but the attempts were blocked Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Paul Arriola, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes and Tim Ream also showed stellar effort but the ball failed repeated to find the back of the net.
America showed creativity but the winning play belonged to Mexico with a simple and beautiful back heel kick from Raúl Jiménez to dos Santos who immediately hit the ball with power and sent it sailing into the back of the net past the forlorn American players whose faces clearly showed a sense of feeling helpless. In contrast, Santos‘ enthusiastic celebration was worthy of his impact.
The USA squad rose to the challenge in a strong effort to equalize the score and win the match. As U.S. Soccer reported, “A final burst of pressure resulted in a last-gasp chance for Roldan in the 87
Concacaf has done a great job of organizing this tournament — this really helps soccer in our region.U.S. MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter
“The one thing I am a little bit critical of Concacaf is not having VAR. I think it is a necessity in today’s modern game. I am disappointed in this decision. I do not think this is a decision that is good for the game,” said Berhalter. “We have a lot of respect for Mexico and we see them as a
As the USA still is working to rebound from failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup last year, there are reasons to be positive. There is new blood on the team and the younger players have been awarded opportunities to make an impact. While Pulisic earned recognition as the Young Player of the Tournament, he is not the only talent in the younger ranks.
“Over the course of 90 minutes, Mexico was the better team,” Berhalter said after his first tournament as U.S. coach. “What we lacked was I think some of the calmness, some of the composure.”
The USA just needs time to build on its strengths.
Notable Stats: While the USA had more corner kicks than El Tri (7 to their 3), the Red, White and Blue were outshot on goal 20 to 11 and only 2 of our shots were on target. And, yes, Mexico had 58% possession.
This match ended USA’s team-record 10-game winning streak in Concacaf Gold Cup play (July 12, 2017-July 3, 2019). Seven different players for the USA had earned goals during the tournament, with six finding the back of the net more than once.
Highlight From U.S. Soccer:
Goal Scoring Rundown:
MEX – Jonathan dos Santos (Raúl Jiménez), 73rd minute: Rodolfo Pizarro collected the ball near midfield and drove toward the USA goal before picking out Jiménez in the center of the box. The big forward deftly
Key Saves and Defensive Plays:
MEX – Edson Álvarez, 20th minute: Arriola chased the ball down and played back for Michael Bradley to swing it to the back right post. There, Reggie Cannon volleyed it toward the penalty spot and an unmarked Altidore but Edson Álvarez made an imperative recovery to head the ball clear.
MEX – Andrés Guardado, 51st minute: The USA’s best chance of the second half saw Pulisic send in a corner that was headed on goal by Jordan Morris only for Guardado to head it clear off the line.
USA – Zack Steffen, 63rd minute: Pizarro got the ball to the top of the box for Álvarez to shoot and Jiménez redirected it on goal. With little power on the shot, Zack Steffen snatched it easily.
USA – Matt Miazga, 66th minute: Dos Santos got behind the U.S. defense and cut the ball back for Jiménez, whose shot went wide after being put off by a Miazga challenge. On the ensuing corner, Steffen claimed a volley from outside the box that was headed on goal.
MEX – Héctor Moreno, 87th minute: On the USA’s last best chance to find an equalizer, Héctor Morenomade a game-saving block to deny a goal-bound rocket from Roldan inside the box after Arriola recycled a cleared corner.
- Pulisic, Bradley and Aaron Long were all named to the tournament Best XI.
- Michael Bradley joined Cobi Jones (164) and Landon Donovan (157) as the third USMNT player to reach the 150-cap milestone.
- Weston McKennie captained the USMNT for the first time.
- Paul Arriola made his team-leading 11th appearance of 2019.
- Since 2000, the USA is 14-8-6 against Mexico. The U.S. is 19-35-15 against Mexico all-time.
USA: 1-Zack Steffen, 14-Reggie Cannon, 19-Matt Miazga, 23-Aaron Long, 13-Tim Ream (16-Daniel Lovitz, 83); 8-Weston McKennie (capt.), 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Christian Pulisic; 11-Jordan Morris (15-Cristian Roldan, 61), 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Gyasi Zardes, 64), 7-Paul Arriola
Substitutes not used: 12-Sean Johnson, 22-Tyler Miller, 2-Nick Lima, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Walker Zimmerman, 6-Wil Trapp, 18-Jonathan Lewis, 20-Djordje Mihailovic, 21-Tyler Boyd
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
MEX: 13-Guillermo Ochoa; 3-Carlos Salcedo, 4-Edson Alvarez, 6-Jonathan dos Santos, 9-Raul Jimenez, 15-Hector Moreno, 18-Andres Guardado (capt.) (5-Diego Reyes, 89), 20-Rodolfo Pizarro (8-Carlos Rodriguez, 81), 21-Luis Rodriguez, 22-Uriel Antuna (11-Roberto Alvarado, 86), 23-Jesus Gallardo
Substitutes not used: 1-Jonathan Orozco, 12-Hugo Gonzalez, 2-Nestor Araujo, 7-Orbelin Pineda, 10-Luis Montes, 14-Alexis Vega, 16-Erick Gutierrez, 17-Cesar Montes, 19-Fernando Navarro
Head coach: Gerardo Martino
Stats Summary: USA /MEX
Shots: 11 / 20
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 17 / 10
Offside: 2 / 2