2nd Half sub Carlos Vela Sparked Mexico's Outburst
Mexico scored 5 second half goals to win its 5th Gold Cup with a victory over the United States. Mexico did for the third time what the US has never done: win a Gold Cup on foreign soil.
For Mexico, this entire tournament was to see which players can help in the upcoming 5 qualifiers. Well, the future is now, and no two players shone brighter than Carlos Vela and Giovani Dos Santos. Each had a goal and an assist in Mexico’s 5-0 thumping of the US. Dos Santos was easily Mexico’s best player throughout the entire tournament, while Vela was finally 100% after sustaining an injury in the first 5 minutes of Mexico’s first group match. The Gunner, though, made a huge difference in the second half, replacing the ineffective Alberto Medina.
I know the US did not field its strongest team (neither did Mexico), but I was taken by surprise by the complete collapse of the Yank defense. They had plenty of time to an equalizer. Just like I never thought I would use Mexico wins and penalties in the same sentence, I never thought I use US and panic together. Especially against Mexico. But the US panicked vs. Mexico. The difference this time is that Mexico has players in Gio and Vela that can actually finish.
So what does it all mean for Aug 12? Not much, really. The teams that take the field in the Azteca will be vastly different than the ones that lined up in the Meadowlands today. But Mexico does have a renewed sense of confidence. Something the really haven’t had since the 2005 confed cup.
This Gold Cup reminds me of the 2001 Copa America. Javier Aguirre took his players down to Colombia to get back in rhythm. They went all the way to the final and then didn’t lose any of the remaining games in the Hex. Let’s hope history repeats itself.