Mexico comeback claims sixth Gold Cup
PASADENA, California (AP)
West Ham winger Pablo Barrera scored twice as Mexico rallied to beat the United States 4-2 and claim its second consecutive Gold Cup title on Saturday.
Andres Guardado and Giovani Dos Santos also scored for Mexico, which has now won the tournament six times.
Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, who led this year's Gold Cup with seven goals for Mexico, was named the tournament's most valuable player.
''There's no better moment than victory,'' Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre said. ''Everything else is in the past now.''
The United States got off to a bright start as Michael Bradley headed in Freddy Adu's corner in the 8th minute and Landon Donovan fired a shot into the net in the 23rd for a 2-0 lead.
''You're worried and you don't want to become disorganized,'' de la Torre said about falling behind early. ''The United States was playing well. They surprised us with the first goal. We pushed too far up in the second goal. Fortunately, we were able to maintain our calm.''
Barrera scored his first goal when he sent the ball just inside the right post in the 29th minute and Guardado equalized for Mexico seven minutes later after a Dos Santos pass from the right side of the area deflected off defender Eric Lichaj, setting him up from five yards (meters) out.
Barrera gave Mexico the lead in the 50th minute when he slipped a shot beneath the right hand of diving U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Dos Santos, who spent the second half of the just-completed European season on loan from Tottenham at Racing Santander, sealed the win in the 76th minute by lofting the ball over Lichaj into an open net.
''Things were difficult, but the coach told us to fight every single play,'' Hernandez said. ''Our attitude is in our hands.''
U.S. coach Bob Bradley said he hoped the loss would be a ''learning experience'' for his squad.
''We're disappointed,'' he added. ''A game like this, when you're together for a month, you feel like you've grown and put yourself in the final and let it get away ... it's an empty feeling.''
Donovan said the team did a good job containing Hernandez but didn't have an answer for Mexico's other stars, including Barrera and Dos Santos.
''They're as dynamic as any Mexican team I've played against,'' he said. ''They've got a few guys who can change the game in a heartbeat.''
The win qualifies Mexico for the 2013 Confederations Cup, an international preview tournament ahead of the World Cup in Brazil the following year.
The announced attendance of 93,420 was the largest for a Gold Cup match in the United States, but the vast majority of the crowd was supporting Mexico.
''Obviously, the support that Mexico has on a night like tonight makes it a home game for them,'' Bradley said. ''It's something that we expected. As a team, we understand that it's part of what we've got to deal with.''
Guardado played on a slightly sprained left ankle after being injured in Mexico's 2-0 semifinal victory over Honduras on Wednesday.
U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo left the game in the 11th minute, also with a sprained left ankle.