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Like Mexico, Home Soil a Stronghold for U.S.
Associated Press, June 25th, 2007 4PM
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It's a well known fact to non-U.S. supporters that Mexico plays better against international powers like Argentina and Brazil than it does against the Americans, which is to say the U.S. is something of a bogey side to the superior Mexicans. Well, by the looks of their head-to-head record in the last dozen games, that's an argument that no longer holds water: the U.S. is now 9-2-1 against Mexico since 2000, and 8-0-1 on U.S. soil. Having said all that, the Americans don't face the Tricolores at Azteca Stadium (which just meets FIFA's new altitude regulations at 2240 meters) often, and when they do, they lose. The USA's all-time away record against Mexico is 0-22-1.

Never mind, because U.S. soil is becoming just as much of a fortress. By far the better team in Chicago, where the Americans were surely outnumbered in terms of fan support, the Yanks came away with a 2-1 victory thanks to a far superior second half. Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the U.S. knew it could pull ahead after getting a first goal, which is exactly what happened after Brian Ching was pulled down in the area in the 60th minute. Landon Donovan was perfect from the spot for the fourth time in the tournament and the U.S. seemed to draw strength from there. Ten minutes later, young Benny Feilhaber sealed the game with the goal of the tournament: a stunning full volley from 25 yards.

Sunday's final was a thoroughly watchable back-and-forth affair, but there can be no question the Americans created the better chances and deserved to win by an even wider margin. Tri goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez was magnificent, but the Americans' finishing was also poor-both Brian Ching and DaMarcus Beasley missed an open net.

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