June 24, 2011

2011 Gold Cup Final: Preview

Basic Information

For the third consecutive tournament, the United States and Mexico, arguably the two heavyweights of CONCACAF will clash against one another in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final. The match will be played in Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl.

TV: FOX Soccer Channel, 8:30 p.m. EST

Background Information

Keys to the Game

United States

  • Neutralize Chicharito: It's hardly a secret anymore about Javier Hernandez's ability to put a ball in the back of the net. Seven goals in five matches, he's scored in every single Gold Cup match Mexico has played in, except their match against Costa Rica. And that was hardly a problem. The United States, notorious for a leaky defense has shut out all their opponents thus far in the knockout round. However, the Mexican offense, who has tallied 18 goals this tournament is a completely different animal, and every player will need to be on top of their defensive game. 
  • Test Talavera: El Tri's back up net-minder has not been tested so much this tournament, and was likely expecting to see this match from the bench. That is, until a doping scandal blown way out of proportion took the American soccer niche by storm. The United States will need to storm out of the gates, in style they did early against Panama and against Jamaica, and hope that Alfredo Talavera is caught off guard. If so, the Stars and Stripes can pull a quick goal early on, and take advantage.
  • Make it a midfield match: With all due respect to my home nation and the national team I support, the Mexican national team significantly outpaces us in attacking, and somewhat in defending. However, the American's advantage is in the midfield, and they will need to get Michael Bradley out of their slump if they want to dominate ball possession, create numerous scoring opportunities and perhaps minimize Mexico's. Freddy Adu might get a nod to start the match after his solid final shift in the semifinal win vs. Panama. If so, Adu will need to have a repeat performance. 
  • Pride and effort: It might be a cliche at this point, but there's a clear reason such a statement would be a cliche to begin with. Ever since their humbling, nearly embarrassing upset loss to Panama, the United States has had to prove (once again) the misleading statements American soccer haters exhibit. In the last Gold Cup final, they were humiliated 5-0 by Mexico. Yes, it was a different group of players, but all and all, it is the same team. Donovan will need to show Bob Bradley why he's the face of American soccer and the starter like no other. Adu will have to show that he's truly back and he didn't have a lucky hot streak. Dempsey, just has to carry his usual mantra. With it a core of rising prospects will have to show Bradley that they are worthy of being on the team for the 2014 World Cup qualifying, and with it, the 2014 squad.


  • Long, cross field passes: One of the most eye catching pieces of Mexico's flashy attack is their ability to rapidly move the ball up the pitch. Not necessarily on the pitch, but through a chain of long balls and heavy chip passes. Passes from the defense, all the way up to the strikers. Plus, having a disadvantage in the midfield, it is the best way El Tri can counteract the American midfield.
  • Don't let off the accelerator: Some of the issues in the Gold Cup has been Mexico's ability to score quick and fast early on, but then not do much to attack following a rampant start. And against the United States, that's suicide. The United States is renowned as a comeback team that has rallied from incredible deficits before. Mexico top heavy attack will need to continuously tear apart the American back line throughout the entire match and never stop creating chances if they want to squander any hopes of a rally.

    About the Author

    Tyler Walter

    Author & Editor

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