In a battle of rebuilding teams with new head coaches, Mexico came out on top against the United States in the Gold Cup final. The USMNT created some big chances in the opening 10 minutes, but faded as the match went on, and a stunner from El Tri midfielder Jonathan dos Santos was the difference in his team’s 1-0 win.

Christian Pulisic nearly put his team on top in the 5th minute after a great bit of hold-up play and pass from Jozy Altidore, but Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa positioned himself perfectly.

Altidore was set up for a big chance by a brilliant long-range pass from Tim Ream two minutes later, but put his effort just wide.

The Americans opened the second half strong as well, nearly scoring from a 50th minute corner. Jordan Morris beat Ochoa with a header, but Andres Guardado headed the ball off the line. A follow-up effort by Weston McKennie was blocked and the USMNT players protested for a handball, but nothing was given.

Fitness issues forced Gregg Berhalter into subs around the hour mark, and Mexico took control from that point. Once Morris and Altidore exited for Christian Roldan and Gyasi Zardes, El Tri started to control possession and put the Americans under serious pressure.

By the time the goal happened in the 73rd minute, it felt like it had been coming for a while, but it still took a spectacular effort to beat Zack Steffen. Guardado started the move with a brilliant run and pass into the box for Raul Jimenez, who played a backheel into the path of dos Santos. The Mexico midfielder placed a perfect shot into the top far corner, putting his team up 1-0.

The USMNT’s best chance to equalize came on an 86th minute corner, where two shots were blocked and a third, by Roldan, was well saved by Ochoa. But Mexico held on to hoist the trophy, their first under new boss Gerardo Martino.





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