By Adam Roy
Written for Ontheminute.com
The US came from behind on Sunday to beat Mexico 2-1 and clinch their fourth Gold Cup title in an exciting and often physical match.
The match was hotly contested from the opening whistle, with both teams trading shots in an offensive back-and-forth. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net until the 44th minute, when Andres Guardado sent the ball sailing over American keeper Tim Howard’s head to put El Tri on the board.
Reversing the lethargic offense that pervaded their play throughout the tournament, the Americans doubled their attack as the second half began. The US finally found their opportunity in minute 60, when Mexico’s Jose Jonny Magallon tripped up striker Brian Ching in the box, earning a close range penalty kick. In an electrifying showdown which brought the heavily green crowd to its feet, Landon Donovan sent the ball bounding past Mexican keeper Oswaldo Sanchez to equalize the game.
The goal, Donovan’s 34th, set him neck and neck with the career record set by Eric Wynalda.
Ten minutes later, a Mexican defender intercepted a cross from Donovan and booted it towards the US’ goal. The ball found Benny Feilhaber instead, and the American midfielder sent it rocketing twenty-two yards into the Mexican goal to put the US ahead 2-1.
From that point on, the US reverted to its habitual style of play, sitting back and playing deflecting a determined Mexican attack. In the final minutes, Mexico attempted to bolster its attack, sending in veteran forward Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the 78th minute. While Mexico’s supporters greeted the substitution with a standing ovation, Blanco largely failed to make a difference in the match, and the US staved off Mexico’s forwards for a 2-1 win.
The match marked the first time since 1934 that the US has come from behind to defeat Mexico.