Thursday, June 23, 2011

US tries to change more than just Gold Cup history

The US grinded out a win over Panama 1-0, a side that previously beat them in the tournament, to advance to the finals of the Gold Cup on Saturday against Mexico. The Tri-Colors also struggled but scored twice in extra time to leave no doubt as they beat Honduras 2-0 for their path to the finals. The countries may share a border but to say that the US and Mexico are rivals in this tournament would be similar to comparing Ohio St. and Michigan football programs in recent years (although that may be subject to change) and the US hopes change their future as well. The U.S. and Mexico have played in the last two Gold Cup finals and split the two but the overall history has been one of domination as Mexico has outscored the US 14-1 en route to a 4-1 record. Additionally Mexico is undefeated in its last 11 Gold Cup games capped off by a 5-0 ownage of the States in last year’s final. To make matters worse the US will be without the services of Jose Altidore, the equivalent of their clean-up hitter, due to injury. So much like in the World Cup the US comes in as big dogs, but that seems to be when they do their best work and this is their first chance to make up for what many felt were failed expectations in South Africa after such a favorable draw. This would be an opportunity to take down a World Class opponent in a tournament they typically own and the type of statement that would build much needed momentum for the country’s program that has certainly lost its mojo after not reaching a lowered bar in 2010.

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