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U.S. Men’s National Team Strikes Gold

By Todd McClamroch in News on Jun 25, 2007 12:00PM

2007_06_24_USAhuddle.jpgIt was a great atmosphere in Chicago this weekend for soccer fans. The Chicago Fire won an international friendly over MKS Cracovia on Friday night at Toyota Park. Saturday night, Chicagoist visited the Globe Pub where we found United States National Team supporters who had traveled from both coasts for the Gold Cup final. They joined together singing soccer songs while taking in Major League Soccer action via satellite feed.

The U.S. fans found themselves outnumbered when they entered Soldier Field where they likely felt they had been transported into a stadium in Mexico. Though the fans made it seem like a road game, it was still home soil for the U.S., where they have gone 7-0-1 versus Mexico since 2000.

The Mexican supporters had the first opportunity to celebrate when late in the first half Jose Andres Guardado scored for the Mexican National Team putting them ahead 1-0 going into half.

Fifteen minutes into the second half Brian Ching was brought down in the Mexican box and the United States was awarded a penalty kick for the foul. Landon Donovan put home(view our video of it) the goal, his 34th career goal for the national team, tying him with Eric Wynalda for most goals by a United States national team player.

Benny Feilhaber became the hero for the United States, hitting a cracker of a goal off a perfect volley after the ball was deflected to him off a corner kick. Mexican keeper Oswaldo Sanchez had no chance at a save.

With the United States in the lead Mexico began to step up the offensive pressure which left them susceptible to the counter attack. Twice the U.S. nearly sealed off the win but failed to convert, hitting the goal post once and the crossbar once. The United States’ biggest problem during the Gold Cup was their inability to finish off opponents late in the game. Mexico nearly came back to tie the game when a ball was deflected to Adolfo Bautista directly in front of the U.S. net. Tim Howard made a brilliant save, punching the ball clear and saving the victory for the United States.

2007_06_24_USAVictory.jpgThe United States successfully repeated as champions and have tied Mexico with four Gold Cup Championships. The win gives Bob Bradley his first hardware as head coach of the national team; he also improved his record to 10-1-0. The team celebrated the victory after the game though the celebration(view video of celebration) will likely be short, as several members of the squad will be representing the United States this Thursday in Venezuela against Argentina in the Copa America.

Our Gold Cup Final photos have been uploaded to Flickr with the Chicagoist tag and a few videos are on YouTube.