US slump to home defeat by depleted Mexico side in Gold Cup final
The contrast in competitiveness between the United States women and men's teams was starkly exposed yesterday morning (Singapore time), when the women won a fourth World Cup and the men went down to Mexico in the Gold Cup final.
The 1-0 loss for the men in a regional competition the US had won six times before was a missed opportunity to take a big step forward under Gregg Berhalter, who was leading the team in his first tournament as coach.
"When you talk about a step the team need to take, we're close," Berhalter told reporters after the match in Chicago.
"But we weren't there tonight.
"We needed to score goals, we needed to put pressure on, and you saw tonight as the match went on, they took control and scored the winner...
"Over the course of 90 minutes, Mexico were the better team. Having said that, we started the game really brightly."
Berhalter, who was appointed last December, has called for patience during his short tenure, but all results will be deemed meaningful after the US failed to even qualify for last year's World Cup Finals.
The Americans certainly had another opportunity to lift a major trophy against a Mexico side missing several key players, such as Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Diego Lainez.
But it was a goal by US-based former Barcelona midfielder Jonathan dos Santos in the 73rd minute that sealed the match.
"This was what we came here for," said Mexico's Andres Guardado.
"We did it and in an unforgettable setting. We're very happy. The whole team were spectacular." - AFP, REUTERS