Mexico won the CONCACAF Gold Cup Saturday 4-2 over the USA. Here are some of my thoughts about the game.
Great, great game for Mexico. I picked them to win 2-0, and count me among the surprised soccer fans when I saw USA score two consecutive goals early in the first half. But I never doubted Mexico and their offense. They scored twice in the 28th and 35th minutes, and at halftime the score was 2 all. The game was anyone’s for taking. Once the second half started though, it was clear that Mexico had the edge. They were fantastic with their possessions, controlled the game, and Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez showed why he’s one of the best young players in the game and the biggest hope for Mexico. Dos Santos’ goal in the 76th minute was a beauty, and capped off a fundamentally sound game for Mexico after a rough start. Now they qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, while the USA does not.
2. USA Defense
Quite simply, the USA defense was unimpressive. After losing anchor defender Steve Cherundolo, USA looked absolutely overmatched. Jonathan Bornstein was not good at all, and was clearly not at the level that Mexico’s offense was at. The blogger behind Uncle Monkey’s Blog, Mike Conner, perhaps said it best in a comment on the preview to this game: “Losing Cherundalo hurts because Bornstein is getting taken to school”. The rest of the defense was awful, and the only person who you can’t blame is Tim Howard, who played mediocre. Then again, goalkeepers always get blamed for allowing 4 goals, so Howard should get his due. I understand Howard’s rant after the game about the ceremony being in Spanish, but Tim, let it go, just be gracious in defeat. I see your frustration, we all do, but don’t show it!
3. In the future
Mexico is pretty much set for the future, especially the 2014 World Cup. The USA, however, is not. The only non-question mark player in my opinion is Clint Dempsey. It’s his time to step up and become the new leader of the United States soccer team. Landon Donovan was really unimpressive, and did not show the quickness and ability to playmake that he showed at the World Cup. Also, he’s starting to show his age. Freddy Adu was actually pretty good, especially in the final. Hopefully he can actually show his time is now. Other than that, though… Tim Howard was fine, but not in the Final. Will his age finally catch up to him? I think so, at least by 2014.