List of Americans Abroad
With goal in each half, U.S. moves into Gold Cup final against Mexico.
Inexperienced Americans come back to post overtime Gold Cup win over Panama.
Late goal allows U.S. deep reserves to manage Gold Cup draw with Haiti.
Reserves provide lift, U.S. blanks Honduras 2-0 in Gold Cup.
U.S. encounters little resistance and blanks Grenada 4-0 in Gold Cup.
Despite surprising lead, U.S. wilts and Brazil wins Confederations Cup.
U.S. shocks Spain, advances to Confederations Cup final, with tenacious effort.
Strong effort sends U.S. past Egypt 3-0 and to improbable Confederations Cup semifinal berth.
American shortcomings are again obvious and Brazil wins easily in Confederations Cup.
Shorthanded Americans cannot hold off skillful Italy in Confederations Cup.
U.S. survives early lapse, to rally past Honduras in important qualifier.
Costa Rica humiliates Americans 3-1 in World Cup qualifier.
Hejduk, others unavailable as Americans visit Costa Rica for qualifier.
Altidore's three goals lead strong U.S. effort in win over T&T.
U.S. responds to poor effort with late rally to draw El Salvador 2-2.
U.S. continues home domination of Mexico by starting final qualifying with 2-0 victory.
Final round of World Cup qualifying opens with weakened Mexico.
Kljestan shines in dull U.S. victory over Sweden.
CONCACAF draw has Americans facing Mexico to open final round of qualifying.
Cooper, Adu lead U.S. to dominant, if meaningless, decision over Guatemala.
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Outmanned U.S. is overwhelmed 5-0 by Mexico in Gold Cup final.
By Robert Wagman
(Sunday, July 26, 2009) -- The United States men squandered first-half chances and a couple soon after intermission, then ran out of gas as clearly superior Mexico embarrassed the U.S. with five second-half goals in capturing its fifth CONCACAF Gold Cup championship 5-0 before a capacity 79,156 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
A solid majority of those in attendance were clad in green, supporting the victors.
If there was any question, Mexico's "B" team is clearly much superior to the U.S "B Lite" side, which is what coach Bob Bradley chose to put out on the field today. Bradley allowed some of the best players he had put on his Gold Cup roster to return to their European clubs and their presence today would certainly have made a difference.
While Mexico coach Javier Aguirre brought a relatively inexperienced squad, it did include seven of the 23 players chosen for the most recent World Cup qualifiers. Thus, he was able to start veterans in midfielder Gerrado Torrado, defender Jonny Magallon and striker Alberto Medina, and had on the bench quality experienced players, such as forward Guillermo Franco, to bring on against the tiring Americans .
For the last several years, Mexico has been trying to work the heroes of their 2005 World Youth (Under-17) Championship squad into its first team. Today, two members of that squad based in England -- striker Giovani Dos Santos of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal forward Carlos Vela -- were the players who turned the match around for Mexico.
Aguirre made a critical substitution, and changed Mexico style to start the second half. He inserted Vela in place of Medina. Medina had been staying wide, attempting to stretch the U.S. defense in the first half. Vela, who is quicker, played more centrally and worked well with Dos Santos and simply sliced through the U.S.
While Mexico scored all five of its goals in the second half, in reality the Americans lost in the opening 45 minutes because of the same problem that has dogged this team throughout the tournament -- abysmally poor finishing. Mexico was tentative during much of the first half and the U.S. created at least a half-dozen golden chances, but as has happened so often in the past weeks, the Americans shot high, wide or directly at Mexican goalkeeper Memo Ochoa.
In fact, even with Vela inserted to start the second half, the U.S. created great chances to take the lead.in the first five minutes of the second stanza. Twice, striker Davy Arnaud could not convert and midfielder Robbie Rogers, who was one-on-one with Ochoa, shot high.
The Americans simply ran out of gas. The defense lost its shape and right defender Jay Heaps found himself isolated in front of the goal with Dos Santos. Heaps was guilty of some Major League Soccer-style grabbing and holding, which led to a questionable penalty-kick call, and suddenly Mexico was in front 1-0 in the 57th minute.
Over the next 10 minutes, the tiring U.S. defense tried to spring offside traps on Vela and Dos Santos with the unfortunate result of the fleet attackers simply running through the defense before beating keeper Troy Perkins one-on-one for another pair of goals. From that point on it was only a question of how many goals Mexico would end up scoring.
"They finished their chances well, we had our problems and they exploited them," U.S. striker Brian Ching said. "Maybe it was a lack of experience in our young team. It's an embarrassing result."
In the final analysis, Mexico had better players today, both starting and in reserve. If the U.S. had managed to put away a couple of its chances in the first 50 minutes, it might have been able to bunker in and hold on for the victory. But that was not to be.
U.S. Player Ratings
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins - 4.5: Made three wonderful saves and could not be faulted on the first pair of Mexican goals, but seemed to lose his concentration and composure and staggered to the finish.
Defender Jay Heaps - 3.5: If there was ever an example of an MLS-level player unable to step up to the next level, it was Heaps. At times, he did good things and made quality plays, but in the clutch he could not deliver and ended up being sent off after a totally unnecessary foul for his second yellow card.
Defender Chad Marshall - 4: He had a very good first half, but a dismal over the final 45 minutes. Got caught up field way too often and was more then a little responsible for the back-line losing its shape at critical times in the second half
Defender Clarence Goodson - 4: He too got caught out of position way too often and was twice caught looking as Mexican goal scorers ran past him and in on goal. Looked like he simply gave up on the fifth Mexican goal.
Defender Heath Pearce - 5: Was the best U.S. defender. Got into the offense in the first half and held up reasonably well as things fell apart after intermission.
Midfielder Stuart Holden - 5: Was at the center of things for the U.S. in the first half, but was largely absent at key times in the second as he too seemed to tire.
Midfielder Logan Pause - 3.5: Early, he did some good things and made a couple of quality passes, but he generally seemed over his head and running on empty by the time he came out.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman - 4: Was not effective while he still had his legs and then was less so as he tired in the second half.
Midfielder Robbie Rogers - 4: To his credit, he put himself in position to score several times, but he could not finish. He put in a huge effort, but ended up with little to show for it.
Forward Davy Arnaud - 3: A striker who can't finish is not much of an asset.
Forward Brian Ching - 5: Worked tirelessly, but not to great effect. He was handled by the Mexican back-line.
Midfielder Santino Quaranta (63rd minute for Pause) - 4: Came on as Mexico was dominating play and did little to stem the tide, watching four goals scored in the time he was in the match.
Forward Kenny Cooper (63rd minute for Arnuad) - 5: Was never able to get on track. Had a couple of half chances, but nothing more.
Midfielder Sam Cronin (81st minute for Beckerman) - 4.5: The match was out of reach well before he came on. A token appearance.
SoccerTimes U.S. Player of the Match: Brian Ching.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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