The USA won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title on Sunday when it defeated a fighting Panama team, 1-0, at Chicago’s Soldier. It was the second time the teams met in a Goal Cup final; the US topped Panama in a penalty shootout, 3-1, when the 2005 final ended in a goalless draw. On Sunday, forward Break Shea tapped in a cross from Alejandro Bedoya in the 69th minute for victory in front of a crowd of 57,920.
The U.S. has now won the tournament five times, one less than Mexico, with Canada the only other winner of the competition, which was played for the 12th time. U.S. midfielder Kyle Beckerman was named Man of the Match. American Landon Donovan was awarded the Golden Ball as most outstanding player in the tournament for his five goals and seven assists; American Chris Wondolowski and Panamanian Gabriel Torres also scored five goals. Panama’s Jaime Penedo won the Golden Glove award as the best goal keeper in the tournament; he allowed only four goals. The award was the Penedo’s second since he won it in 2005.
The Gold Cup was a success on many fronts and is surely becoming a popular fixture on the world scene. All the games were broadcast worldwide on television and just about all were played to sellout crowds in some of the best American stadiums by any standards. The tournament truly is one of ‘color’ and may well be the most ethnically diverse tournament among FIFA’s six confederations.
The cultural diversity was not only evident off the field but on it as well, which added to the quality of the competition is reflective of the nature of the game. The Gold Cup had the Latin touch from Central America and Mexico, the Caribbean speed and athleticism was on display while the USA and Canada showed the hard-working style that is representative of North America.
The New York Red Bulls fans were treated to t a thriller at Red Bull Arena last Saturday night when the local team rallied from a deficit to beat Real Salt Lake, 4-3, in extra time. The Red Bulls (10-7-5, 35 pts.) are still in a win second-place tie with Montreal, just one point behind Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City. Real Salt Lake (11-7-4, 37 pts.) is atop the Western Conference.
New York at one point in the game led Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on goal by Fabian Espindola and Tim Cahill, but three goals by Alvaro Saborio put the visitors ahead, 3-2, by the late stages of the game. Espindola scored his second penalty with only two minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3, then midfielder Dax McCarty came up with the late heroics – a header four minutes into extra time to give the Red Bulls victory.
‘“I’m still a little light headed now after what went on,’’ said Red Bulls coach Mike Petke. ‘“It was the agony and the ecstasy with nothing in between.”
Espindola scored his sixth goal of the season, McCarty got his third; Saborio, who recently lined up for Costa Rica in the Gold Cup, was voted MLS player of the week for his hat trick
Real Salt lake coach pondered the loss. Jason Kreis. “It’s a really tough loss and it’s going to stick with us for a day or so,’’ said Kreis. ‘’We were down two goals at someone else’s place. If we came back to win, it would have been historic. But then we lose? I just hope it doesn’t have a lasting mental effect on our players.’’
In other MLS games last weekend, Montreal (10-5-5, 35pts.) defeated Sporting Kansas City (10-6-6, 36 pts.), 1-0, on an extra time goal by rookie Blake Smith; San Jose Earthquakes (7-9-6, 27pts) got goals from Victor Bermudez and Steven Lenhart to top Portland Timbers (8-3-10, 34pts.), 2-1, who got its goal from Darlington Nagbe, in a Western Conference showdown; Toronto FC (3-10-8, 17 pts.) edged Columbus Crew (6-10-5, 23 pts.), 2-1, to end a 16-game winless streak.
The Houston Dynamo (8-6-6, 30 pts.) and the Chicago Fire (7-9-4, 25 pts.) played to a 1-1 tie when goal by cam Weaver and Mike McGee, respectively, even the scoring; Hendry Thomas and Dillon Powers scored to lead Colorado (9-7-7, 34 pts.) to a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy (10-9-3, 33 pts.); Philadelphia Union (9-6-7, 34 pts.) behind Antoine Hoppenot’s goal, topped the Vancouver Whitecaps (9-7-5, 32 pts.), 1-0, while the New England Revolution (8-7-6, 30 pts.) knocked off DC United (2-15-4, 10 pts.) 2-1.