U.S. rallies for 2-1 Gold Cup victory
CHICAGO — In the unfamiliar spot of playing from behind, U.S. coach Bob Bradley told his players at halftime they were going to have to win a little differently.
Same game plan, different game plan. When it comes to playing Mexico lately, it doesn't seem to matter.
Landon Donovan scored his 34th career goal, tying Eric Wynalda atop the career list, and Benny Feilhaber connected with a gorgeous volley to rally the United States to a 2-1 victory over Mexico yesterday in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
It's the first time in 53 meetings dating to 1934 that the Americans fell behind Mexico, then came back to win.
"Awesome. Awesome," said Donovan, whose score was set up when Hawai'i's Brian Ching was tripped up in the box. "We haven't played that way, haven't played down a goal. Bob said it's going to be a different kind of win and I'm proud of us, because that's not easy."
The victory extended the Americans' dominance over their neighbors to the south and gave the United States a berth in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, an important tuneup ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The United States is 9-2-1 against Mexico since 2000, including 8-0-1 on U.S. soil.
"They deserve to the No. 1 team in CONCACAF," Mexican striker Cuauhtemoc Blanco said.
The score could have been even more lopsided. In the final 15 minutes, Ching banged a shot off the post and DaMarcus Beasley hit the crossbar after a perfect cross from Donovan.