So it’s Mexico versus the US After All
Canada and Guadeloupe did not make it easy, but we have the final everyone expected in the Gold Cup. The US once again squandered chance after chance but somehow managed to hang on to a 2 to 1 victory over a very game Canada squad. The US was without question the beneficiary of poor officiating when a tying Canada goal was ruled offsides even though the replays clearly indicate that Atiba Hutchinson was onside, especially considering the ball played off American defender Oguchi Onyewu. Mexican official Benito Archundia deserves a severe reprimand from CONCACAF for blowing such a vital call, but he debunks the theory many have held that a Mexican official will never give the Americans a call. The US had an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd half when Landon Donovan whiffed on a perfectly played ball from DeMarcus Beasley. That miss by Donovan seems to have opened the game up for Canada, and no doubt the Canadians much like Guatemala and Panama before them made the Americans look silly in the 20 minutes of the match. Iain Hume’s goal was the first ever conceded by Kasey Keller in a match against Canada, and from that point on it seemed the Americans were hanging on for dear life. Michael Bradley’s clumsy tackle from behind was a well earned sending off that gave Canada even more life. For the US to defeat Mexico they must play better in the finals, or perhaps maybe they don’t.
Somehow Mexico has reached the Gold Cup Finals for the 5th time in 9 events. Yet this run to the finals has to be considered the weakest in some time. Mexico was fortunate to beat Cuba, lost to Honduras, got outplayed by Panama and needed help from the officials to defeat Costa Rica. Tonight in the semifinals Mexico gutted out a 1-0 victory against a nation, Guadeloupe playing in its first ever international competition. As I had expected before the tournament began, Guadeloupe would be strong, but quite honestly even I was in shock when it seemed around minute 55 that they may actually beat Mexico and make the finals. Mexico in the end won, but must be considered both lucky and a heavy underdog for the finals especially considering that El Tri has been outscored 14 to 0 in its last 8 matches on American soil versus the USA.