Mexico comeback inevitable

[GOLD CUP SPOTLIGHT] Mexico rallied from two goals down in the first half to beat the USA, 4-2, in the final of the 2011 Gold Cup before 93,420 fans at the Rose Bowl. The title was the sixth for Mexico, which defended its Concacaf title and advanced to the 2013 Confederations Cup. There was an air of inevitability to the Tri's comeback, which underscored the talent gap between the two teams.

Early lead tenuous. Even though it was ahead two goals after 22 minutes, you never got the sense the USA would hold on. Mexico attacked in wave after wave from the opening whistle and could have had two or three goals after the first quarter of an hour. When Pablo Barrera and Andres Guardado pulled Mexico back even only 13 minutes after Landon Donovan made it 2-0, the momentum had completely shifted.

Freddy, where have you been? Who would have predicted two months ago that Freddy Adu would make the U.S. Gold Cup team, let alone be a major contributor. In his first start of the tournament, Adu was the most dangerous U.S. attacker, having a role on both U.S. goals. If he was worried whether he'll find a club next season, he should worry no more. It was the kind of performance that will attract plenty of interest.

Reckless tackling costly. American players are known for their reckless tackling. Less than 200 seconds into the Gold Cup, Jermaine Jones tried to dispossess Giovani dos Santos but only managed to take out Steve Cherundolo, whose departure with an ankle injury left the U.S. backline in disarray.

USA had its chances. Down 3-2 and under pressure from Mexico, the USA had a chance to equalize but Clint Dempsey hit the crossbar. At 4-2, Michael Bradley had wide-open shot that tailed wide of the goal.

Mexico's depth too much. Javier Hernandez (seven goals in the first five games) didn't score for Mexico, but it didn't matter. Mexico has far too much depth. Barrera scored twice, and Guardado and dos Santos also scored.

USA should be worried. The USA's 4-2 loss isn't as bad as its 5-0 defeat -- with a "B" team -- in the 2009 final, but it is clearly falling behind Mexico in terms of talent. The average age of the Tri's front four -- Guardado, dos Santos, Barrera and Hernandez -- is only 23. Four other Mexicans who played in the final are only 23.

June 25 in Pasadena, Calif.
USA 2 Mexico 4.
Goals: Bradley 9, Donovan 22; Barrera 28, 49, Guardado 35, dos Santos 77.
USA -- Howard, Cherundolo (Bornstein, 12), Bocanegra, Goodson, Lichaj, Bedoya (Agudelo, 60), Jones, Bradley, Donovan, Dempsey, Adu (Kljestan, 85).
Mexico -- Talavera, Moreno, Marquez (Reynoso, 42), Salcido (Torres, 27), Castro, Torrado, Juarez, Guardado, dos Santos, Barrera (Zavala, 75), Hernandez.
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador).

33 comments about "Mexico comeback inevitable".
  1. Charles Stamos, June 26, 2011 at 12:12 a.m.

    I haven't logged in to comment since the World Cup, but seeing Bornstein enter the game triggered a guttural feeling. Mexico relentlessly attacked down the right wing as they exposed our weakness their once Lichaj was switched to the other side. Three of the goals were from that side while the dos Santos one was creative genius. Give our team 4's, 5's, and 6's except for a 2 for Bornstein.

  2. Mike Maurer, June 26, 2011 at 1:57 a.m.

    Since when are American players known for risky tackles? The aweful tackle that Holden suffered Evans went studs up into his knee. How does that have anything to do with this. Other than a strong work ethic i have never seen much from Bornstein. He constantly looks like a weak link on the field everytime i see him. I guess bob likes him from their time together with Chivas USA. Another reason Bob should move on.

  3. Mike Gaynes, June 26, 2011 at 8:42 a.m.

    Mexico's comeback was NOT inevitable until they got the gift of Bornstein coming off the bench. Perhaps Bradley will finally dismiss this hopeless, hapless, helpless player from the National Team pool.

  4. Aldo Baietti, June 26, 2011 at 8:44 a.m.

    Great game to watch though. USA did have some good chances but you have to be impressed with Mexico's talent and it's persistence. It's great to see adu back. He has tremendous skill and creativity. In all, I only see positives. Yes we could have been better but Mexico is no slump and can take on any team in the world. And what is best about it all is the amazing crowd at Pasadena stadium. While mostly Mexican fans, it still does show that they took this game seriously as well. USA soccer still needs work but it's definitely here to stay.

  5. Chance Hall, June 26, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.

    Although the USA didn't win, it was still a very exciting game to watch. There were positive things for the US as well. With the obvious age difference, it should have come as no surprise that the game would be fast and hard hitting. Our defense has been suspect for some time. That our players are aging is no surprise either. With a new coach and new younger players, the road ahead could be brighter. I'm hoping this is finally the wake up call that we need to find and develop our younger players.

  6. Ken Jamieson, June 26, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.

    The result is an accurate reflection of both countries' performances throughout the tournament. For the US, reaching the final was a challenge and a journey that almost didn't happen, splitting their two games against Panama said more about the Central American side and it's upcoming potential. For Mexico, this has been their tournament to lose since it started, and while they fell behind early, the talent and technical superiority of El Tri had to come through in the end. The USMNT is in disarray, despite reaching the final, there were very few real positives out of this tournament, and with WC Qualifying just around the corner, serious questions must be asked and a major shakeup is necessary. There are only three automatic berths in CONCACAF, USA's hold on one of them could be in jeopardy.

  7. . Lev, June 26, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.

    Mexico was clearly the better team (even though the better team does not always win..), and the (Mexican) crowd showed why:
    Soccer is a passion for them - and most of the rest of the world:
    In the US, soccer is still mainly business.
    .. and in the rest of the world - when a team does so poorly for so long, the coach goes..

  8. Philippe Fontanelli, June 26, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.

    The US didn't desrve to be in the final in the first place after the dismal showing at the group stages. Mexico had 60% of the posession vs. 40% of the US and that is with 5 midfielders. I guess we needed five to fit in Junior. Once again the formation was wrong as usually is, as long BB is the coach.
    Additional some of the players are being used are way over their time and are has been: i.e. Howard and the whole backline. The midfield needs new look and new blood also. The forward line needs to be supported by a healthy attacking minded midfield and not "Lone Rangers". Although Adu was good in two games and hopefully he'll go further, but he is not going to elevate the team alone. We have lots of talented young players and Latinos waiting let's not loose them to their dual nationalities by not using them (like Arena lost Rossi). We must go into a new direction with new leadership because the morale in the team as bad as the morale of the fans.

  9. James Froehlich, June 26, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.

    "There are none so blind as those that WILL not see" For 4 games the USMNT has struggled mightily to defeat the minnows of CONCACAF. These are some of the weakest teams in CONCACAF, which is one of the weakest regions in the world. How can any sane conscious person walk away with positives from this. Mike M --your comment makes no sense! Paul K made no reference at all to Holden!! And by the way, the US is known for its physical play and in fact prides itself on that. The Jones tackle is just the normal outcome of that style. Mike G -- To blame the loss on the replacement of one player is foolish! Bornstein may not be as good as Cherundolo but his presence certainly wasn't the reason for the overwhelming loss. Mexico dominated the play while Cherundolo was in and should have won by an even larger margin. I wouldn't be booking tickets to Brazil any time soon,

  10. Ernest Irelan, June 26, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.

    LEV, you said it of the world's most famous players, now coach, told my son at a National camp here in USA, that soccer had to be played with the HEART, not for the MONEY..."you will never be a great player if you can not play from your heart an love of the game" is really demonstrated in my local community of Hispanic league adult players with a few "Anglo" players in it...

  11. Kent James, June 26, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.

    Mexico was the better team. Some excellent finishing gave us some hope early, but with Cherundolo out, it was always going to be an uphill battle. Some of our late (I think because of Mexico's speed and skill, not our attempt to be dirty) tackles were embarrassing; a number of times Dos Santos or Chicharito dribbled through 3 or 4 desperate lunges (Jones was victimized a number of times). Bradley's insertion of Adu into the line-up was a gutsy call, and paid off; it's good to see Adu doing what he always seemed capable of (and he really dealt well with Mexico's attempt to be physical; his great shielding of the ball led to our 2nd goal). I would have like to have seen Bradley take out Jones instead of Bedoya when he brought Agudelo on (and dropped Donovan back to midfield), since we needed more offense. Defense is not traditionally a problem for the US, but it was in this game. We need to cultivate some quicker defenders. If Mexico plays consistently as well as they did against the US, they will beat a lot of teams. This young generation of Mexican players is excellent, especially in attack.

  12. Scott O'Connor, June 26, 2011 at 11:04 a.m.

    If by making the final, Bob Bradley was able to save his job, then this tournament was a bigger disaster than the decisive loss to Mexico was. Had we lost against Guadaloupe, Jamaica, or Panama, I think Bob would have been dismissed. The fact that he's been getting credit on national TV for his "brilliant" lineup changes and substitutions that got the US team to the final, makes it less likely now that he will be shown the door.

  13. Scott O'Connor, June 26, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.

    If there is going to be a coaching change, right now would be the ideal time to do it. There's nothing of any competitive import until next year. This would give a new coaching administration the rest of the year to evaluate the squad and try out some new players, formations, and tactics in friendly matches before WC qualification begins. Many don't seem to remember that we were a Carlos Costly penalty kick away from possibly not qualifying for South Africa. That (lucky) win in Honduras is what made the Costa Rica game at RFK (with Bornstein's famous header and #9 signs) unnecessary. We're in reverse. The only positive out of this tournament was the resurrection of Freddy Adu.

  14. beautiful game, June 26, 2011 at 11:19 a.m.

    USMNT and coach Bob looked stunned when they took a 2 goal lead and never adapted to protect it...this game was a lesson in persistence, technical ability, simplicity of play, execution, team shape and intensity; and it wasn't us by a long shot.

  15. Amos Annan, June 26, 2011 at 11:26 a.m.

    The difference was dos Santos. Nothing else.

    Take him out of the game and the US wins.

  16. Karl Ortmertl, June 26, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.

    Under Bradley, the USA defense has never been any good. We had the last World Cup set up for us, but defensive lapses gave two goals to a not very strong Ghana - that on top of other giveaways in the group stage. Watching four slow, clunky white guys get buzz sawed by quicker Mexican players was brutal. We are not competitive with the top teams in the world - we showed it against Spain and then again yesterday. The question for Gulati is "Do you really thinks it benefits US soccer to have such a crappy MNT? And, if you don't, what are you going to do about it?" I know I'd go after Hiddink big time. If I couldn't get him (Chelsea probably will), I would make Wilmer Cabrera my MNT coach. Aside from that, we saw what Adu brought to the table on the offensive side. Most of us have been trying to get Bradley to get Torres into the matches just for that reason. We still need Torres, and with Dempsey, Donovan and Adu, we would have the makings of a creative, talented offense. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones are useless. They play the Bundesliga brand of goon football that the powers that be in American soccer seem to fawn over. They all want us to be like the Brits. Well, if anyone hasn't noticed lately, the Brits haven't won a thing in forty five years - and counting. Anyway, until Bradley is replaced by someone useful, we'll underachieve on offense, be stuck with Michael Bradley as out featured player, and have a horrendous, slow, clunky defense. Thanks.

  17. John Fatte, June 26, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.

    The USA team and BB shouldn't be judged by their performance against Mexico. The Mexicans are determined to build their MNT into a world power and from the looks of it, they are on a good track.

    BB should have been replaced a long time ago. The only fix for the USA is to keeping searching for a coach that can turn our great young players into world players and that takes a coach willing to take chances. We have nothing to lose at this point since we will not accomplish anything with this team and coaching staff.

    By all rights, they shouldn't have made it out of the group stage and that alone should be enough reason to make some dramatic changes when this tournament ends. As with the lethargic attitude towards soccer in the USA, we have the same lethargic attitude in the development of the USMNT. Nobody in the USA expects them to win the big game or big tournament, so there is nothing wrong with letting them do just that. Really sad. BB has to go along with players who are clearly not performing at a world level. That could be most of the team in my opinion.

  18. Steven Erickson, June 26, 2011 at 2:17 p.m.

    Give it up, Bradley is never going to be gone and besides Mexico did play on it's home turf, Nuevo Tijuana(aka Los Angeles).

  19. James Froehlich, June 26, 2011 at 2:21 p.m.

    John F -- I agree with everything except your very first statement -- "The USA team and BB shouldn't be judged by their performance against Mexico." A few years ago we were actually approaching parity with Mexico, approaching, not there. However, this game should show us that we have again dropped back to where we were in the 90's. BB and US Soccer should be harshly judged. What will actually happen is BB will be allowed to pursue other interests, another coach willing to keep his mouth shut about the travesty that US Soccer refers to as player development will be hired and a new cycle of ignoring the elephant in the room will begin.
    BTW Amos Annan -- I would love to get some of whatever you're smoking!!!!!!!

  20. beautiful game, June 26, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.

    Amos must have been listening & giving all his attention to Kyle Martino and J.P.Dellacamera, the FSC commentators who continuously praised the US until the Tri-colors equalized...afterwards their praise rested on a prayer and hope while the USMNT kept fading and Donovan/Dempsey kept disappearing...face it 'amici spotivi vicini et lontani' Mexico delivered the goods with a quality and simple performance. And let's remember that one player does not carry the whole team in this sport, everyone has to contribute for 90 minutes, not 20.

  21. Richard Leonard, June 26, 2011 at 2:57 p.m.

    The Mexican TEAM was clearly the better one on the pitch last night. More passion,more hunger....

  22. James Froehlich, June 26, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.

    IwN -- Totally agree on the announcers. Please add Cobi Jones and Chris Sullivan to the list. When you listen to the ridiculous comments from all of these announcers it's hard not to believe that there isn't someone pulling their strings.In no other US sport and in no other country would there be such avoiding the fact that our USMNT is awful. Imagine the English papers if England lost to San Marino!!!!!!!

  23. Gole goal, June 26, 2011 at 3:59 p.m.

    Lets face it the USMNT lost what ever composure they had in the match up 2 to 0. Lets be honest here we have seen the USMNT be up 2 goals before in final and lose against a more talented, creative, skillful, and passionate team. We saw this in the Confederation Cup final against Brazil, guess you can say US Soccer and the USMNT hasn't learned from the past. What I notice from the start, the Mexican National team was going forward more, was more aggressive, and hell of a lot more passionate and creative in the game. Yes the USMNT did score but lets face it they scored on a shaky backup keeper that was average at best. So what did we learn from this game? We should have learned that Mexicos has better players, is more passionate, is more CREATIVE, has more IMAGINATION, and has a identity in concerns to how they play and what they stand for. As for the USMNT, we found out that strength and athleticism, doesn't win games. We found out that US Soccer lacks creativity, imagination, and lacks the ability to play with confidence and comfort when they have the ball at ones feet. USMNT, US Soccer, and Bob Bradley its time we focus on talent, skill, imagination, and start playing Futbol and stop playing American Soccer. Its a shame that US Soccer as a whole is very prejudice in size and creativity. Its a shame US Soccer is very prejudice in the selecting of skillful and creative players and rather pick size over quality. US Soccer when will you ever learn to get it right? US soccer when will you stop playing a bit of kick ball, a bit of run and gun soccer, and actually learn to play the beautiful game. Its like the saying goes. "Futbol is for the poor and the working class around the world. In the US, soccer is for the ones that can afford it." Beautiful Futbol won yesterday and robotic and bland American Soccer lost.

  24. Daniel Clifton, June 26, 2011 at 7:42 p.m.

    This was a fun game to watch. I was really impressed by Mexico's young players up front. The US backline was in disarray right from the opening whistle. Dos Santos was exceptional. The most creative American was Freddie Adu. Why can't this young man get playing time on a second level Turkish team? It is time for Bob Bradley to go. He should not have been rehired. The problem is the people who made that decision also need to go. As Jurgen Klinsman put it: "The Pyramid is upside down in the US." Bradley has done what he can with this team. It is time to move on. This Mexican team was fun to watch. I knew the 2-0 lead was not safe.

  25. Karl Ortmertl, June 26, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.

    Good News - one would hope. I just read that Chelsea signed Porto's coach leaving Hiddink without a job. Hiddink would be absolutely perfect for the US job. Guaranteed that he would make this team competitive with the world's best. Aside from being an excellent tactician, there's more than enough talent to chose from. The big problem is - does anyone in the US hierarchy even know there's a problem?

  26. ckg beautiful game, June 26, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.

    An intersting take maybe, I was away on a vacation & did not have FSC available so I got to watch the game in Spanish w my wife catching every 4th word. It was interesting for sure.
    But with my own 2 eyes I saw what have seen for 3-4 yrs, our defenders completely unaware of themselves, their oponents, or the ball. Usually TH keeps us in it but he was awful, giving up a terrible near post goal first, then his dive was terrible for the second, beat again on the third by a shot you see him save time & time again in England. Boca assisted nicely for the 4th, Dempsey provided no cover for Bornstein the entire game! Should have been move forward or sat. Compare that with the cover the right back for Mexico received from Gardado

  27. Bret Newman, June 26, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.

    Mexico played almost flawless on offense, but they have their own problems on defense, so everybody don't think they are world beaters just yet. And I do think if "Dolo" played the full game we would have probably won. That being said, we are thin on defenders. "Dolo" is like the only defender we have that can dribble the ball. "Boca's" age is already showing, and won't be that effective in 2014. And looks like "Gooch" is history. Spector is pretty good, but we need better. So we're in trouble on D. We have no unity, and no Pope, Agoos, Sanneh, or Lalas level of play defenders. Nor do have any good defensive midfielders, like Chris Armas, or Mastroeni. Also I don't see midfielders doing a great job of back tracking, like Beasley and Cobi Jones use to do. Either or talent pool has to mature fast, or we need to find these kind of players. Also we need to can coach Bradley, and replace him with Jason Kreis.

  28. James Madison, June 26, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.

    Let's face facts. Mexico may have made the game entertaining, but for the US it was an EMBARRASSMENT. Coaching may be an issue, but players are more of one. If the US intends to compete with Mexico, let alone the bigger world, the US needs to develop PLAYERS. The US needs to be able to field 9 Dempseys, as well as a Howard and a Donovan who plays 90 minutes instead of disappearing after scoring a nice goal (maybe he felt he had earned his pay). Putting in Agudelo reduced the already undermanned US, in effect, to 10 bodies. He watndered around lost, often occupying the same space as a teammate. I predicted going in that the score would be 3-1, Mexico, because Mexico would eat up the US midfield and beat the US down the wings. I had the margin right even though the score not. And Mexico did it precisely as I predicted it would.

  29. David Huff, June 27, 2011 at 12:38 p.m.

    This was clearly the most important match for the USMNT in 2011 given its significance in qualifying for the Confederations Cup in 2013 and that a highly motivated rivalry opponent was involved (it doesn't get better in CONCACAF than USA vs. Mexico). This caliber of game is the one you want/expect the USMNT to win in showing that they are capable of taking on world-class competition at WC 2014. This game outcome should be treated as a referendum on Bob Bradley. We lost with our 'A' team, despite obtaining a fortuitous 2-0 lead then allowing 4 consecutive goal to be scored against us, a team that was unable to maintain any semblance of possession through skillful passing. I can't tell you how many times that I saw bradley Jr. give the ball away, including at the very beginning before the one highlight of his game where he scored a header goal (if not for that goal a '1' player rating would have been well-deserved). At this point, a manager change is clearly in order and there is certainly sufficient time for the replacement manager to have the team ready for WC 2014. Hiddink is now available and should be considered if either Klinsmann or La Volpe cannot be obtained.

  30. Carlos Balnco, June 27, 2011 at 2:22 p.m.

    Let's be realistic. One guy cannot stop 4 goals. And the fact that Cherundolo was sent out by his own team mate tells that they were having a hard time back there EARLY in the game. Like in the second 27, when he got injured. Also Dos Santos scored just once, when Mexico was already winning. He just took away any US hope. The US played its typical defend-and-counterattack game that only gets you 1 or 2 goals against a good team. It actually worked.

  31. Steven&linda Pedlow, June 27, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.

    I have never liked J.P. Dellacamera as an announcer. He is very repetitive, giving the score (and match time) every two minutes and never says anything I didn't already know. Kyle Martino is more of the same. Worst announcer combo EVER!

    Christopher Sullivan, on the other hand, is the best. His analysis is always interesting and he often points out things I hadn't seen. Eric Wynalda is a bit snide, but his analysis is also excellent. I haven't listened to Cobi Jones enough to make up my mind yet.

  32. Frank Daze, June 27, 2011 at 5:58 p.m.

    Well listen up..this is by far mexicos most dominant game vs the US. It takes heart and passion to play this sport but you have to learn to make it a way of life in order to succeed. The problem for USMNT is it's mentality of the worlds most popular sport... Its secondary in all aspects!!
    Bornstein is not the bad guy here. If anything, he knows first hand what true passion for the sport feels like... He plays for Tigres in Mexico where the passion is felt through out your veins. Beasley is next to join Mexican team Puebla. Though the USMNT in my eyes suffered and looked lost, I admire they're will to survive but I adore Mexico futbol!!!

  33. Kent James, June 30, 2011 at 1:19 a.m.

    Steve&Linda, I think your assessment of the announcers was quite accurate. JP means well, but his intonation makes it seem as if he is telling you some earth-shattering news, when in reality, as you point, he's usually stating the obvious. I disagree about Kyle Martino; although I wasn't a big fan at first, as I've watched him more, I've been impressed with some his very astute analysis (much like Chris Sullivan). Martino and Sullivan both tend to be complimentary (more focused on the US, but they usually give credit to the opponents for things well done), but that's okay. I'm not sure about Dunseth; I didn't like him much at first (his voice struck me as a bit whiney), but he's growing on me.

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