USMNT fall 0-1 to Mexico in the CONCAF Gold Cup Final
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S. lost a close CONCACAF Gold Cup Final to Mexico in Chicago.
Mexico’s Guilermo Ochoa and Jonathan dos Santos’ standout performances were too much for the U.S. Men’s National Team to overcome.
The soccer rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico is one of the more fearsome and high intensity ‘derbies’ across the globe.
The first showdown dates back to 1934 and the first CONCACAF Gold Cup final between the teams was in 1993. Mexico leads the all-time series 34-15-19.
This is the sixth time the two countries have faced off in a Gold Cup Final. The United States have only one win against Mexico in those finals, including a 2-1 win in 2007.
The match began as expected with both teams playing fast-paced and physical soccer.
The U.S. created two of their best goal-scoring chances of the night in the first 10 minutes.
Forward Jozy Altidore held up play on a counter attack and flicked a pass to the faster Christian Pulisic. Mexico’s veteran goalkeeper Ochoa was in ideal position and easily saved Pulisic’s close range attempt.
Minutes later Altidore controlled Tim Ream’s vertical pass and set his sights on goal. He created a decent angle but sliced his shot low and wide.
Mexico edged the U.S. with eight shots, two on target, at the half. The U.S. managed to create two goal-scoring opportunities. Mexico had one.
Early in the second half, the U.S. had the packed stadium on their toes.
Pulisic played in a well-placed corner kick and Jordan Morris connected with a strong header. Against all odds, Mexican captain Andres Guardado kept the match level with a goal-line headed clearance.
The U.S. appeared deflated by the missed opportunity as they knew those chances would be scarce for the rest of the match.
With 20 minutes remaining, Mexico started to find a groove and the U.S. failed to come up with an answer.
Mexico took advantage of a counter-attack in the 73rd minute. Raul Jiménez played a beautiful back-heel flick inside the box and Jonathan dos Santos struck the ball off the crossbar and past goalkeeper Zach Steffen.
Mexico managed play for the remainder of the match but the U.S. nearly sent the final to extra-time.
The U.S. won a corner kick in the 88th minute and Michael Bradley ended up with possession on the right sideline. He fired in a low cross, Ochoa parried the pass and substitute Christian Roldan connected with the rebound, but Ochoa made a great save.
Mexico held strong in the final minutes to earn their fourth Gold Cup Title out of the last six.
The U.S. and head coach Gregg Berhalter can take away many of positives from this tournament.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup U.S. soccer was in a dark period but things are looking brighter after their performances in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Written by: Caleb Hilliard