Category: Archive

Nike U.S.Cup USA beat Mexico, win title

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

USA 3, Mexico 0

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The United States beat a weakened Mexico 3-0 in the broiling cauldron of Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday to win the annual four-nation Nike U.S. Cup for the first time in five years.

Team USA finished with seven points from two victories and a tie, while Ireland, who were denied victory over the Americans by a dubious no-call in a 1-1 tie in Foxboro five days earlier, took second place (5) following their

2-1 decision over South Africa.

Mexico, represented mostly by players from First Division UNAM Pumas, were third with four points, while the South Africans went home with a duck egg in

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the points column.

The USA-Mexico encounter was less a reflection of the hosts’ dominance than an exposure of the Mexicans’ club pedigree, which was clearly evident to the 45,000 fans on the hot and humid afternoon.

Quicker by a step and more incisive in their passing, the U.S. took the lead in the 33rd minute when the Dutch-based Ernie Stewart raced through the penalty box and cut the ball back for Brian McBride to slam past goalie Sergio Bernal.

"This was a good way to finish [the tournament]," McBride said. "The team did a good job today, got a lot of confidence and had a good showing."

Mexico, winners of the last three tournaments, picked up their game in the second half, pressing the Americans, who appeared rundown. Their best chance came in the 65th minute, when Jesus Olade broke free on the right and

centered across the U.S. goalmouth with goalie Kasey Keller beaten. But there were no Mexican players around to knock it into the open net.

Then disaster struck for the Mexicans. Defender Christian Ramirez pulled down Cobi Jones, who was making a record 129th appearance for the U.S., and was promptly dismissed (70th) by Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast for his second bookable offense.

The Mexicans paid for Ramirez’s absence nine minutes later when substitute Frankie Hejduk buried a rebound off a Jones shot to make it 2-0 for the U.S.

Ante Razov, whose offside goal against Ireland in Foxboro had earned the Americans a 1-1 tie, iced it in 85th minute, connecting from a tight angle after a poor back pass by Paul Cesar Chavez.

U.S. coach Paul Arena, mindful of the lack of quality in the Mexican ranks, took the victory in stride.

"Given the circumstances with the Mexican team, we had everything to lose and little to gain," he noted. "We would have been ridiculed by everyone if we lost this one."

For Pumas coach Hugo Sanchez, the former Mexican great, the tournament was a win-win situation.

"It was difficult bringing a substitute team to this tournament," he observed. "We were missing key players which we needed for support, but we brought who we could and I am grateful for their collaboration — this trip was good international experience for my younger players."

Between them, the Mexican team only had 55 caps going into the U.S. match.


USA: Kasey Keller, Tony Sanneh, Carlos Llamosa (Gregg Berhalter 71st), Jeff Agoos, David Regis, Earnie Stewart (Frankie Hejduk 76st), Chris Armas, Claudio Reyna (capt.), John O’Brien (Ben Olsen 64th), Brian McBride (Ante Razov 81st), Cobi Jones (Jovan Kirovski 89th),

Mexico: Sergio Bernal, Joaquin Beltran, Isreal Lopez (capt.), Gerrado Torrado, Luis Perez (Luis Ignacio Gonzalez 66th), Paulo Cesar Chavez (Carlos Carino 85th), Horacio Sanchez (Jaime Lozano 46th), Jesus Olalde, Christian Ramirez, Raul Alpizar, Daniel Orsono (Ignacio Flores 77th).

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