Over the course of the Gold Cup, both the United States and Mexico have gotten off to slow starts, but played very well defensively. Because of that recent historical precedent, conventional wisdom coming into the Gold Cup Final between the USMNT and El Tri was that goals were going to be hard to come by. Oh, how wrong everyone was. At halftime from the Rose Bowl, the game is tied up at a score of 2-2 after and absolutely thrilling first half of action.
It was a tale of two halves within the first half, as the United States came out guns blazing, but Mexico recovered and was the much better team in the latter part of the 45 minute period. The opening five minutes or so were all Mexico, but the U.S. took a shock lead in the 9th minute when Michael Bradley headed in a Freddy Adu corner kick. The game would get even more surprising in the 22nd minute, when Landon Donovan scored off of a fantastic assist by Clint Dempsey.
The tide turned afterwards, though, as Mexico quickly answered with two goals of their own. Pablo Barrera exploited poor positioning by substitute Jonathan Bornstein with a counter-attacking goal in the 28th minute, just seven minutes before Andres Guardado found an equalizer. The match settled down a bit when the teams got back on level terms, but Mexico were the slightly better side for the final 10 minutes.
This game has already featured a number of injures, as Mexico have made two injury substitutions and the United States have made one. Jose Torres Nilo has come on for Carlos Salcido while Hector Reynoso has come on for captain Rafael Marquez, both like for like changes for Mexico. For the U.S. Jonathan Bornstein entered for Steve Cherundolo, a move that forced Eric Lichaj to right back.
For more on how the two teams got to this point, check out our USA vs. Panama stream and our Mexico vs. Honduras stream. For more updates leading up to USA vs. Mexico, bookmark this StoryStream. For all of our previous Gold Cup coverage, check out the Gold Cup 2011 section. For more on Mexican football, including the Mexican national team, the Mexico vs. USA game, and the Mexican Primera, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.