CONCACAF Goldn Cup – A Great Goal
It does not matter what the Mexicans throw at them, the Americans have a way of prevailing, no matter what the situation. “When you lose doing what we did, you can’t be sad,” said Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez. “It bothers me, sure. But when you look at how we did in the tournament, we got a lot better and we deserved a better result. Sometimes the team that plays better doesn’t always win.”
The Americans’ unlikely goal-scoring hero was Benny Feilhaber, a 22-year-old midfielder who was a non-scholarship player at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). Feilhaber was making only his eighth international appearance as he scored his second goal for the USA – a volley off a poor clearance that broke a 1-1 tie in the 73rJ minute. Donovan called the goal “Unbelievable. I was wide and a little bit right and as it came I was going, ‘Don’t shoot.’ Maybe one in a thousand scores that goal.”
The venue might have been the Windy City, but the atmosphere at Soldier Field in Chicago was strictly Mexico City as the capacity crowd of 60,000 was essentially a sea of green shirts cheering for the Mexicans, with Sam’s Army, the travelling US soccer supporters, sporting red jerseys, seated behind one of the goals.
Mexico dominated the opening half, with Nery Castillo running wild in midfield as he set up Jose Andres Guardado’s five-yard strike in the 18rh minute. It was Mexico’s first goal against the Americans in the USA since 1999, breaking an amazing 797-minute goalless streak.
“We’ve been talking for about a month about how we need to become a band of brothers, and today we talked about not getting divided,” said USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, who came up with a big save in the dying minutes. “So when that goal went in, we thought ‘If a goal is going to divide us, we’re cooked.’ So we talked about sticking together, showed a lot of character and a lot of heart.”